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gwu psychology research

gwu psychology research


School: George Washington University
Department: Psychology
Course: Cognitive Psychology
Professor: S dopkins
Term: Fall 2015
Cost: 50
Name: Cognitive Psychology Study Guide
Uploaded: 02/27/2016
42 Pages 11 Views 7 Unlocks


Why does memory sometimes fail?

According to rationalists, how is knowledge obtained? ­ Innate

­ Acquire knowledge through reason 

­ Introspective and logical analysis

According to empiricists, how is knowledge obtained? ­ External

­ Knowledge comes from experience

­ Knowledge is learned and acquired

­ Reality is in the physical world

Cognition is defined as the study of processes by which sensory inputs is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. Be able to recognize descriptions or examples of how these functions differ. Transform Information

Transformation Information

● External information must be transformed into an internal code that is processed by our brain ○ Electrical, mechanical, and chemical stimulation of our receptors is transformed into perceptual experience

● Ex.

○ Mental transformation

Along fiber extending from the cell body which conducts electrical activity to other neurons.

○ You will see two pair of circles. As quickly as you can, decide which circle is biggest If you want to learn more check out mkt 310 final exam
If you want to learn more check out hist 2100 class notes

Reduce Information

● Cognitive processes tend to reduce our experiences

● Memories of events are not perfect recordings

Ex. Which is the real penny?If you want to learn more check out chapter 18 colonial encounters in asia and africa

Largest commissure connecting left and right hemispheres.

Elaborate Information

● Recollections tend not to be perfect duplications of what was originally learned

● Recollections are more like reconstructions that elaborate on a theme

● Students heard list of random words that could be one of 4 categories and would later recall other words from those categories that had not been listed


Store and Recover Information

● Memory​involves mental operations that store information as well as recover or retrieve it at the appropriate times ● Why does memory sometimes fail?

● “How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the last triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have it to the same person?” (La Rochefoucauld)If you want to learn more check out sean mccone

Use Information

● Remembering that an exam is coming up (prospective memory)

● Comprehending what people say to us (language understanding)

● Answering, “Do they grow coffee in Paraguay?” (reasoning)

How do the behaviorist and cognitive psychology approaches differ? What are their views on mental processes?


Cognitive Psychologists


● Watson, Skinner

● Operant conditioning

○ Consequences of behavior determined

if behaviors change in frequency or


○ If pushing a button = food, pushing a

button will increase in frequency

● Wanted to know “what’s in the black box?”

Views on Mental


● To understand humans, scientists must look exclusively at behavior (i.e. the observable)

rather than hypothesizing about mental processes We also discuss several other topics like lu engl

● Stimulus ­ Response (S­R) approach to the analysis of behavior

● Stimulus→ blackbox→ response

● Bell → don’t care → saliva

● Stimulus → organism →


○ Used behavior to

infer mental

states and



What four disciplines gave rise to modern cognitive psychology?

Gestalt Psychology

Human Factors Research

Computer Simulation

Cognitive Neuroscience

● The scientific study of the relationship between brain structures, neurological activity, and cognitive function (ex. Broca in the 1860s)

How did Gestalt psychology contribute to the development of cognitive psychology?

Gestalt Psychology

● Gestalt (German for “form”) ­ experiencing the whole form or pattern rather than the individual components ● Gestalt psychology seeks to discover the principles that determine how people’s perception of the whole is derived from their perception of individual parts Don't forget about the age old question of organizational behavior study guide


What is the purpose of human factors research?

● WWII military concerned w/ people doing their jobs

● Concerned with helping people to perform tasks efficiently and safely 

● Focuses on the limits of our mental capacities (when they didn’t see an enemy on a radar) and how they constrain our actions

How did interest in computer simulation contribute to the development of cognitive psychology? ● Approach has been used to create models of thinking

○ Some terms derived from the computer metaphor: memory capacity, storage, retrieval, encoding, and decoding

● Goal of computer simulation is to have a computer respond to a problem by producing an output that matches the behavior of a real person confronted with the same problem

● 2 major types of models



Explain the difference between serial processing and parallel distributed processing in computer models of human information processing.


○ Sequential​processing of information (steps)

○ Input → step 1 → step 2 → step 3 → response

○ Way we understand human memory and problem­solving


○ Different processes at once

○ Information processing is a series of decisions and actions produced at the same time

○ Input → process 1, 2, & 3 → response

○ Way we understand pattern recognition

Explain how response accuracy, produced response, and response latency differ as measures of cognitive processes. Why would a researcher use each method?

Response Accuracy

Produced Response

Response Latency


­ Measures whether or not a

participant makes a correct

response in a specified period of time

­ The actual responses

participants make when they freely recall an event


­ (Response time or reaction to time) measures the amount of time a participant takes to make a response

­ Assumed to be filled with cognitive processes



researchers use method

Gives researchers an idea of how a participant interprets a story or what details they

attend to


Facial recognition tasks →

accuracy is worse when faces are inverted

Vigilance task ­ must detect subtle change in movement of clock’s hand → accuracy was not affected by having a hangover from binge drinking

A week after reading stories about the first day of school reflective of either Mexican or U.S. culture, participants

mistakenly recalled events from other cultures in ways there were consistent with their own culture

Response latency for

first­graders as they performed mental arithmetic. Took less time to add 1 + 5 than to add 3 + 5 and the same amount of time to add 1 + 6

What do cognitive psychologists assume about response latency?

● Cognitive Latency​(response time or reaction time) measures the amount of time a participant takes to make a response

○ Time between the moment a stimulus is presented to the moment a response is made by the participant ○ Assumed to be filled with specific cognitive processes 

○ Longer = more cognitive processes = harder 

○ Ex. Response latency for first­graders as they performed mental arithmetic. Took less time to add 1 + 5 than to add 3 + 5 and the same amount of time to add 1 + 6



Name and describe the 3 major parts of a neuron.

● Dendrites​­ branch­like fibers that conduct input from other neurons into the cell body

● Cell body​(soma)­ contains cell nucleus; processes input and initiates transmission of information if input is strong enough

● Axon​­ a long fiber extending from the cell body which conducts electrical activity to other neurons (via synapses onto their dendrites)

How is information transmitted through a neuron?

➢ Dendrite, cell body, axon 

➢ Comes from other neurons through synapse → Input to the dendrite → cell body → output in axon ➢ Comes in from other neurons through synapse → dendrites 

How do neurons communicate with other neurons? What are the roles of the synapse and neurotransmitters? ● Synapse​­ the gap between neurons

○ When an electrical signal is transmitted down the axon, the synapse fills with packets of chemicals called neurotransmitters

● Neurotransmitters​­ allow an electrical impulse to occur or prevent an electrical signal

○ After acting on post­synaptic neuron, NTs are broken down or taken back up into axon

○ Deficits in neurotransmitters can lead to cognitive difficulties

○ Ex. Neurotransmitters dopamine​produced in the substantia nigra​stimulates neurons that control muscles ○ People with Parkinson’s disease have lost at least 80% of the neurons in the substantia nigra and thus their motor system neurons cannot control movement

What are the 3 major divisions of the brain? What are the functions of each?






­ Controls automatic processes that regulate life­support


­ Includes the cerebellum

→ Involved in balance 

and coordination of 

voluntary movement 

→ Plays a role in

high­level cognitive tasks

­ Relay center for sensory 

information entering the brain 

­ Contains fibers critical for

voluntary movement

­ Includes the substantia nigra → Produces NT dopamine

(Deteriorated in Parkinson’s


­ Surrounds the midbrain

­ Includes amygdala (fear) and hippocampus (memory)

­ Includes the cerebral cortex (wrinkled outer portion which is mostly cell bodies and dendrites of neurons)


Be able to locate the cerebellum. Which brain division includes the cerebellum?


Which brain division includes the substantia nigra? Why is the substantia nigra important? What degenerative disorder is associated with this structure?

● Midbrain contains the substantia nigra

● Substantia nigra produces the neurotransmitter dopamine

● Parkinson’s​is associated with deterioration of this structure

What is the cerebral cortex? Why is it folded? What are sulci and gyri?

● Forebrain includes the cerebral cortex

● The cerebral cortex is the wrinkled outer portion (mostly cell bodies and dendrites of neurons)

○ The folds allow for a lot more cell bodies to be present → more complex thought (ex. mouse brain is pretty smooth)

○ Regulates mental processes enabling complex learning, thought, and language

○ Folds allow more cortex (increased surface area) to fit in skull

­Sulci​or fissures​are the valleys (singular: sulcus/fissure)

­Gyri​are the hills (singular = gyrus)

Describe the corpus callosum and its function.

● Corpus callosum​: largest commissure connecting left and right hemispheres

○ Function to connect the two hemispheres and have them communicate

■ When cut (or not developed fully), people experience split brain

■ Split brain = one hemisphere has little knowledge of signals processed by other hemisphere


Explain what is meant by lateralization and localization.



Brain is divided into two halves

Two of every structure from forebrain to hindbrain Halves of cortex are called hemispheres

Each hemisphere is dominant for particular functions

Specific brain areas control specific parts of the body

Localization of function​is the hypothesis that different functions of thought are performed in different locations in the brain

What is phrenology? In what way was it correct? In what way was it incorrect?

● 1835: Gall proposed that different mental abilities were localized in different areas

○ Phrenology​­ assumed the size of areas was in proportion to the amount of a person’s ability and could be analyzed by measuring skull bumps

■ Phrenology has been DEBUNKED, but other aspects of the localization hypothesis still hold true (i.e. thought is not related to skull bumps BUT mental functions are localized to specific areas)

Be able to identify the locations and describe general functions of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex.

Frontal Lobes

● Higher cognitive functions including attention, problem solving, communication Parietal Lobes

● Provide ability to locate objects in space (including our body space and left/right) ● Allow spatially based mathematical thinking

Temporal Lobes

● Processing of sound, language, and long­term memory

Occipital Lobes

● Contains the primary visual areas of the cortex

What is meant by “brain plasticity”?

● “Plastic” refers to the brain’s ability to be modified by experience

○ Brain is able to be plastic because new connections form between neurons throughout life (and experience then refines these connections)

■ Ex. Occipital lobe (visual area) active when visually impaired people who have been blind since birth read Braille

What does EEG measure? What sort of equipment is used? What is a major strength of this technique? ● Electrodes on the scalp record the electrical activity of underlying brain regions

● Uses electrode helmet vs magnet

● Good temporal resolution


What does PET measure? What somewhat invasive procedure is required for this technique? Provide a strength of PET. ● PET scans indirectly measure blood flow to regions of brain most active at a given time

● Radioactive glucose injected into bloodstream

○ Glucose emits positrons

○ Brain is scanned to detect energy released from positrons

● Strength: better spatial resolution than EEG

What does fMRI measure?

● Uses a large magnet to infer brain activity

● Blood flow increases to active brain regions

● Amount of oxygen increases, which affects the blood’s magnetic properties and brain’s magnetic signal (BOLD signal = Blood Oxygen Level Dependent)

What is the subtractive method? Which two research techniques use this method?

● Subject is scanned twice

○ During baseline : task requiring minimal

cognitive processing

○ During task : requiring function of


● PET and fMRI use this method

How do fMRI and rTMS differ in the way they use magnets?


● Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

○ Amount of oxygen increases, which affects the blood’s magnetic properties and brain’s magnetic signal (BOLD signal = Blood Oxygen Level Dependent)


● Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

○ Magnetic pulses repeated over an area of the head can increase or decrease specific brain area activity (fairly new)



Define attention, and name the three general properties of attention.


● Set of cognitive processes that allow us to concentrate on one set of events in our environment ● Controls mental environment by choosing the events that enter our consciousness

3 Properties

● Limited

● Selective

● Universal

Describe the Method Clock task. How does it show that attention is limited? (LIMITED)

Mackworth Clock Task

● Proved that attention diminishes with time

● Participants watched a red dot moving around a clock. When it skipped a position participants were told to press a button.

● Found that participants missed more targets the longer they performed the task

Explain preattentive and focused attentional processing. (SELECTIVE)

● Preattentive Processing

○ The ability to focus on relevant event to the exclusion of all else

○ Can occur so quickly that perceiver is unaware of all the stimuli that have been excluded

○ Ex. Locate the red circle (notice the “pop out” effect)

● Focused Attentional Processing

○ Processes by which the attentional system deeply processes stimuli in the environment

○ Required when target shares features with other objects in a display

○ Ex. Locate the red circle (notice how features are assessed sequentially and with effort)


When are you likely to use each type?

● If they don’t share features = preattentive processing

● If target shares features = focused attentional processing

What are the orienting reflex and habituation? (UNIVERSAL)

● Orientation Reflex

○ Basic biological reaction to turn our attention to any change in the environment

○ A universal component of human cognitive architecture

○ Helps us to identify the stimulus

● Habituation

○ Occurs when we do NOT orient to a stimulus because it is no longer novel and doesn’t capture our attention ○ Diminishing of a response because we are used to it

How are each adaptive to survival?

➢ Adaptive to survival because it protects us from unknown

➢ Habituation helps because then we don’t waste our resources on things that happen again and again

Recognize functions and locations (i.e. lobe to where the sensory cortices project) of the where and what circuits. (UNIVERSAL)

Where/What Circuits

● Where circuit ­ processes information about the spatial location of objects

○ From visual or auditory cortex → parietal lobe

● What circuit ­ allows memories to be activated in order to recognize the object

○ From visual or auditory cortex → temporal lobe


Explain the attentional spotlight metaphor.

Attentional spotlight

● A cognitive ability to focus in or sharpen our attention

● Metaphor: a spotlight on stage

○ Attention can be moved and refocused

○ It takes time to shift attention from one thing to another

○ Attention has a limited range

Be able to recognize the results and conclusions of the Posner, Snyder, and Davidson (1980) study. (I would provide the authors and a brief description of the task in the question prompt.)

● Study

○ Eyes focused on the center of the screen

○ Arrow cue pointing to the right or left box on the screen (correct direction 80% of the time...20% misleading) ○ Target stimulus (some shape) will appear in either the left or right box

○ Observer must respond to the target immediately after detecting it

● Results 

○ Decreased reaction times when the cue was valid (direction of arrow pointed to the correct stimulus box) ○ Slower reaction times for invalidly cued targets 

● Conclusions 

○ Can shift attentional spotlight without moving our eyes but it’s not instantaneous 

○ That it takes time to shift the spotlight if the cue is invalid 

■ If you’re already looking at the cue but it’s only 20% correct, you have to shift to the other spot 10

Explain how the flanker task can be used to measure the width (i.e. distance between boundaries) of the attentional spotlight. What is the width of the spotlight?

● Target is the center letter in a string of 5 letters

○ If “H” or “K”, press right

○ If “S”, press left

● K K H K K

● S S H S S

***Flankers only have effect if they are within 1 degree of the central target***

1 degree = width of 1 thumb nail outstretched

What is subitizing? What is the upper limit of subitizing?


● The ability to determine small numbers of items presented simultaneously

● Takes longer to name how many dots there are when there are more

● Research on subitizing has shown that attentional spotlight can hold up to four item

● We can estimate four or few items automatically

● More than four items have to be counted




What is sensory storage?

● A buffer memory system that hosts an incoming stream of information long enough for us to pay attention to it ● Separates incoming stimuli from everything else in cognitive system

● Allow sensory information to briefly remain after the stimulus ceases

For any memory system we ask

● What is its capacity?

● What is its duration?

● How does forgetting occur?

● How do we code the information?

Capacity of sensory storage 

Describe the partial report procedure designed by Sperling and explain how it can be used to measure capacity of visual sensory storage.

Whole Report

● Arrays of 2 ­ 12 letters flashed for 50 msec (really fast)

● Participants had to recall all the letters

○ Could only recall 4.5 letters when stimulus contained more than 5 letters

○ Claimed they saw more than they could report (perhaps because the information left sensory storage faster than they could repeat it?)

Why was this method an improvement over the whole report technique (what was wrong with the whole report technique?)?

● Could only report 4 letters but said they could see more!

● This was a low measure of sensory capacity storage

● So then they developed the partial report

How was the partial report procedure used to study duration of sensory storage and what were the findings? Partial Report

● Participants were shown a display of items but asked to report only a selected part of the display corresponding to a sound pitch

1. Participants shown display

2. Sound goes off AFTER

3. Participants must recall the row of letters that corresponded to the sound

● IMPORTANT because it shows that our capacity of sensory memory is larger than we can report (fades away)

● If you can recall 75% of ANY row that means that technically we could report 75% of the whole thing and therefore we have a much larger capacity than the whole report suggests 


What limitation in the whole report technique was the partial report technique use by Sperling (1960) designed to overcome?

Partial part designed to overcome our limited memory span. By cuing participants to identify a specific row it indicated that subjects DO have access to ALL of the letters in a visual buffer (we see them all) but that we have difficulty in reporting them before they fade away.

Explain how the partial report procedure designed by Sperling (1960) can be used to measure capacity and duration of visual sensory storage. What is the approximate capacity and duration?


Partial report revealed that immediately after the stimulus offset, participants could recall most letters. When the auditory cue was delayed even 1 second, we lose sensory storage. Within a half second, ⅓ of the storage is gone.

● If you wait too long you can’t access the sensory storage

What is the cocktail party phenomenon?

● The ability to shift attention immediately when a word or voice from a peripheral stream of speech captures your attention (if you hear your name in a different conversation, if something is bright in our peripheral, if something is loud)

Describe the dichotic listening task. What is the participant instructed to do?

● Participants wear headphones that present a different message to each ear (“channel”)

● Is supposed to attend to one channel and ignore other

● Must repeat back (“shadow:) what is said in attended channel

● Participants are generally unaware of content of unattended channel

○ Can’t detect change of language

○ Can’t detect if senses are nonsensical

● Participants ARE aware of content on unattended channel if own name is spoken or if message contains sexually explicit words


How does attention filter sensory input? Describe the role of early­ and late­selection attentional filters. ● Idea that we can’t attend to everything. Limited resource.

● Not everything can reach our brain

● Attention filters what comes in and what doesn’t

● WHERE does this attentional filter occur?

● Perceptual processes = identifying objects


● Early­selection filter

○ Attention is captured by the physical properties of a stimulus in the environment prior to perception ○

● Late­selection theory

○ Unattended stimuli are perceived and are filtered out later only​if they are not relevant to the context ○ Some stimuli have permanently low threshold (always relevant) and are unconsciously retained even if they are not related to current mental processes

■ Your name

■ Smell of gas

■ Someone yelling “Fire!”

How did the Corteen and Wood (1972) study involving dichotic listening and mild­electric shock provide evidence for late­selection of attention? What did they measure?

● Dichotic listening task with mild electric shock to certain words

● Participants showed galvanic skin response​to shock­associated words presented in unattended channel ○ EVEN THOUGH they were in the unattended channel they were getting sweaty

○ Important because it suggests a LATE selection response

○ Galvanic skin response​measures electric conductance of skin


What are the characteristics of automatic and controlled processing?

Automatic processes​are the attentional processes not consciously controlled

● Evoked without making decisions or necessarily intending them to occur

● Require minimal attentional resources

Controlled processes​are the processes that are deliberately attended to

● Often available to conscious and understanding

● Exist on a continuum with automatic processes

● With extensive practice, a controlled process can become automatic

○ Closed skill

■ A task that can be reliably accomplished under a variety of predictable circumstances (ex. tying) ○ Open skill

■ A task that requires considerable conscious attention to perform in unpredictable circumstances (ex. driving in snow)

Why is it beneficial to have both types?

● Automatic processes require minimal attentional resources and allow for a quick response

● Controlled processes allow reflection and adjustment but are resource demanding


Describe the Stroop effect, and explain how it reveals a conflict between automatic and controlled processing. Stroop effect

● Participants must name the color of the ink

● Longer response times when there is conflict between ink and color name because we automatically read the word (red, green, green, blue, yellow)

● Automatic response = read word

● Incongruent example is shower because there’s a conflict

● Reveals that we have an automatic response but when it is incongruent it requires controlled processing??? ATTENTION AS A RESOURCE 

Explain the capacity theory of attention.

● Attention is a resource distributed among tasks

● The ability to focus varies with number and complexity of tasks and how mentally energized we are ● Performing a task costs resources

● If costs exceed our capacity, performance suffers

Recognize the differences between descriptions/examples of attentional blink, repetition blindness, change blindness, and inattentional blindness.

● Attentional blink

○ The moment when a person is shifting attentional focus and is unable to attend to new target event ○ “The phenomenon that the second of two targets cannot be detected or identified when it appears close in time to the first


Recognize a description of the rapid serial visual presentation method.

Rapid serial visual presentation method

● Letters presented rapidly

● Must press button if either of two target letters are shown

Why is it used?

→ Used to study the attentional blink and repetition blindness

→ Shows that performance is worse when participants are looking for TWO targets especially if

right after the other target

→ Repetition: K and then K again, you wouldn't’ press a button for the second K

● Repetition blindness

○ Decreases in the ability to perceive repeated stimuli during a rapid serial presentation of items ○ Ex. two consecutive letters are “B”, may remember seeing only B

■ Not due to inability to visually separate letters because occurs if letters are in different cases (i.e. B and b) or sizes

● Change blindness

○ Inability to notice when a change occurs in a visual stimulus

○ Ex. the video when the person asking directions is changed


● Inattentional blindness

○ Failure to notice stimuli when focus of attention is elsewhere

○ Ex. When performing two attention­demanding task (focusing on counting the # of passes people in white shirts are making...gorilla comes through...many people did not see it)

○ Ex. Using cell while driving


In which cortical lobe would a patient with simultanagnosia or hemispheric neglect likely have a lesion? Simultanagnosia​­ bilateral parietal lobe damage

Hemispheric neglect​­ lesion to parietal lobe (usually right)

What are the symptoms of each disorder?


➢ Individual is unable to attend to more than one object at the same time

➢ Often bumps into objects

Hemispheric neglect

➢ Individual is unable to attend to opposite visual field (usually left)

In what ways are Parkinson’s disease and ADHD behaviorally similar?

● In ADHD and advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms include attentional problems

What is the name of the neurotransmitter that is associated with both disorders?

→ Dopamine



● Pattern recognition​­ is the use of fragmentary pieces of sensory information to create a higher­level identification of what has been experienced

● Allows us to evaluate sensory information in a structured, predictable way

What are the roles of bottom­up processing and top­down processing in pattern recognition? ● Bottom­up processing

○ Extracting primitive or basic elements from a stimulus and creating a higher representation of it ○ The physical element

● Top­down processing

○ Occurs after a preliminary guess is made about a stimulus through bottom­up processing

○ Using knowledge stored in long­term memory (exceptions, context, biases) to select features of the object for further analysis to complete identification


­ The idea that we perceive the form or configuration of things before we understand their parts

Be able to explain and recognize the name of the principle underlying Gestalt perception.

The principle of Pragnanz

● The perception of a stimulus will be organized into “as cohesive a figure as possible”

● Cohesive figure = a “good” figure = symmetrical, simple, closed, and regular

● See (A) as composition of figures in (C) rather than the actual lines that do compos it

Be able to explain and give (or recognize) examples of the laws of proximity, similarity, closure, common fate, symmetry, and good continuation.

● Gestalt psychologists used the principle of Pragnanz to define 6 basic laws of automatic perceptual grouping 1. Law of Proximity

­ Elements that are closer together will be perceived as a coherent group and be differentiated from items that are far from them


2. Law of Similarity

­ Elements that look similar will be perceived as part of the same group

­ Similarity can be based on size, color, brightness, shape, or orientation

­ (red circles, black circles)

­ Stimuli for test of color vision utilize law of similarity

­ Ex. People with red­green color blindness see “12” but not “5”



3. Law of Closure

­ The experience of seeing a figure as a closed unit, even when the observer knows there are open spaces

­ Gives rise to illusory contours

­ Visual illusions that evoke the perception of an edge without a luminance or color change across that edge

­ Ex. Kaniza triangle (1976)


­ Ex. People perceiving one large circle (rather than a set of 10)


4. Law of Common Fate

­ If two or more objects are moving in the same direction at the same speed, they will tend to be perceived as a group that shares the same destiny


5. Law of Symmetry

­ 1. Images that are perceived as symmetrical are experienced as belonging together

­ 2. People tend to find symmetry in a figure even if it is otherwise disordered


­ Preference for symmetry is evident early in development: 3 month old infants prefer symmetrical figures over asymmetrical figure (such as the image below)


­ Evolutionary significance ­ ability to detect may aid in survival (if you see a tiger you run away vs if you see a rock that is NOT symmetrical. Basically we don’t need to attend to things that are not symmetrical)

6. Law of Good Continuation

­ The tendency to connect elements in a way that makes the elements seem continuous or flowing in a particular direction



1. Distinctive features theory

2. Recognition by components theory

3. Template­matching theory

4. Prototype theory


How do we perceive and recognize stimuli according to distinctive features theory?

Distinctive Features Theory

­ Gibson (1969)

­ All complex perceptual stimuli are composed of distinctive and separable attributes called features ­ Distinctive features are cuse that allow observers to distinguish one object from another

­ According to this theory, pattern recognition is accomplished by mentally assessing the presence or absence of critical features (a checklist​...does it have this features, yes or no?)

Distinguish local and global features of Navon stimuli. What did Navon’s 1977 experiment utilizing the stimuli reveal about the processing of local and global features?

➢ Prioritizing features 

○ Navon, 1977

○ Global features​= the letter the the small letters make up

○ Local features​= the letters within the big letter

○ Study using Navon figures demonstrated that global features are processed prior to local features ■ Could tell b/c if the local feature conflicts with the global feature it didn’t change the

reaction time

■ However if told to name the local feature it took more time if it’s inconsistent with the

big global feature

How do we identify patterns according to the recognition by components theory (Biederman)? Be able to define geons and explain their role in the pattern recognition process.

Recognition by Components Theory

­ Biederman (1987)

­ Describes the pattern recognition process in terms of how people recognize 3­D objects ­ by identifying basic features that comprise the objects

­ These basic elements are composed of an alphabet of 36 primitive shapes, called geons


­ Geometric ions

­ 36 primitive shapes that are the building blocks for identifying 3­D objects

­ Critical pattern recognition because can be rotated in three dimensions and create an unlimited number of impressions on the retina

○ People identify an object by noticing edges and geons that fit the edges and then rely on long­term memory of objects with that configuration of geons


Describe template matching theory and how past experience is used in the pattern recognition process. Template Matching Theory

­ Practical for machines but not humans

­ Assumes we have an unlimited number of patterns stored­­literal copies corresponding to every object we have experienced

­ Patterns are labeled with the name of the object and can be matched to a new instance of the object Describe a strength and a weakness of this theory.

STRENGTH: This theory works well when objects can be easily discriminated

➢ Describes the pattern recognition used by machines to analyze checks

WEAKNESS: This theory is NOT practical for human pattern recognition

➢ Too many possible patterns

➢ Inefficient

➢ Can’t account for recognizing new objects

What is a prototype? How does pattern recognition occur according to prototype theory?


­ An average (or typical instance) of many different views of an object

Prototype Theory

● Pattern recognition occurs when the features of the object to be recognizes overlap in some way with the features of the prototype

● Ex. If we see a weird looking table we can still recognize it

● Addresses some of the limitations of template matching theory 

○ Does not need to be an exact match between object and prototype

○ Does not require storage of patterns for every possible view of an object

How do the results of the experiment with the Identikit faces (Solso and McCarthy, 1981) support the ecological validity of this theory?

Ecological validity​= corresponds to how people operate in the real world

● Solso and McCarthy (1981)

● Created prototypical faces using Identikit

● Also created exemplars that varied in degree of similarity to prototype

● During learning phase, participants saw exemplars (but not the actual prototypes)

● Later (both immediately and 6 weeks later), participants had to judge whether faces had been seen before ○ Participants were confident that they had seen prototypes before (which they had not see)

○ Important because it suggests that when we see faces we extract faces and making a “prototype” to map and recognize people



● The mechanism by which expectations, knowledge, and context guide perception

● Allows us to behave more quickly than we could with bottom­up processing alone

● Important for speech understanding (auditory)

○ Context matters for phoneme​perception: a perceptually distinct sound unit, but the simplest one ■ The *eel is on the shoe

● Participants heard “heel”

■ The *eel is on the axle

● Participants heard “wheel”

■ * = (a little cough as the rest of the word is said)

Describe the symptoms of pure word deafness.

● Usually because of a tumor or stroke

● Patients are unable to understand spoken speech but can hear, read, speak, and write

How is this problem related to top­down processing?

➢ Relates to top­down processing because these people are unable to use their knowledge of language to interpret the physical stimulus of speech

What is the word superiority effect? Explain how it is tested.

Word­Superiority Effect

● People are better at recognizing letters when they are embedded in real words than when those letters are seen in random strings of letters or when the letters appear alone



● Paradigm to study word­superiority effect (Reicher, 1969)

○ Participants more accurate at identifying presence of a letter when it is within a word than when presented alone

How does context facilitate pattern recognition when a person is reading?

● Reading requires pattern recognition

● Reading depends on top­down processing

○ Skilled readers do not read every letter of every word but instead use context to derive meaning ■ Shape of word

■ Grammar of sentence

■ Theme of passage


● Top­down and bottom­up

● Important for social interaction

● Evidence in early life suggests innate biological mechanism allows facial recognition

○ Infants only a few hours old prefer mother’s face

○ 2­3 week old infants can recognize and imitate mouth gestures without explicit reward (baby watching person, makes the same faces)

Describe the high amplitude sucking procedure and how it is used to assess face preferences in very young infants. Face recognition by infants

● High amplitude sucking procedure

● When infants engage in high­amplitude sucking (HAS) a sound or image is presented

○ Babies learn that HAS can change the stimulus (a sound or a picture)


● Infants presented with 4 faces and then a composite that averaged the 4 similar faces or 4 new faces ○ Longer time spent looking at composite of familiar faces (not sucking to change picture)

● Explains the preference for mother’s face neonates have hours after birth

○ Newborns store a composite of faces in memory

○ Because they see mother frequently, her face makes a large contribution to the composite

How do the results suggest infants are able to recognize faces?

➢ Suggests that infants are able to recognize faces because on familiar faces they don’t suck to change the picture!

Describe the facial prototype hypothesis of how humans recognize faces.

● Hypothesis​: humans have an inherent understanding of the structural organization of faces (the facial prototype) and recognize faces by encoding/retrieving according to this prototype

○ All faces have same set of parts

■ Eyes, nose, mouth

○ All faces appear in the same basic configuration

■ Nose centered in face, above mouth and below eyes

○ Facial prototypes allow us to process faces in holistic, gestalt manner

What is the basic finding regarding the ability to recognize inverted faces? What does this suggest about the facial recognition process (think about the Thatcher illusion)?

● We do not have a prototype for inverted faces

○ Lack of experience with inverted faces

○ Facial recognition of inverted faces is poor

■ We can analyze component features but cannot maintain configurations of these features to holistically process the face (what it suggests) 

The Thatcher Illusion

● Upside down faces may look the same even if eyes and nose and mouth are different

● Evidence that we have a facial prototype

● When it’s inverted we can’t tell

Describe the cross­race effect.

● People have difficulty recognizing the faces of people from a different race

● Not just as a result of having more experiences with faces of own race

○ White people in Singapore are just as bad at recognizing Asian faces as white people in Canada ● May reflect that we develop an expectation of what the configuration of a face is supposed to look like (our facial prototype) based on experience with our own­race faces

● People use features such as hairstyle and color to identify race

● MacLin & Malpass (2001)

○ Presented racially ambiguous faces with “black hairstyles” or “Hispanic hairstyle”

○ Participants rated faces with black hairstyles as having darker complexion, narrower face, wider mouth, and deeper eyes than an identical face with Hispanic hairstyle


What is the significance of the fusiform gyrus?

The fusiform gyrus is critical for face recognition 

● fMRI studies show more activity in fusiform gyrus when looking at faces than objects

● Also, more activity when looking at intact, whole faces than scrambled facial features

In which cortical lobe is it located?


What is prosopagnosia?

● “Face blindness”

● People with this condition cannot recognize familiar faces

Which brain area is often damaged in people with acquired prosopagnosia?

➢ Fusiform gyrus

What strategies do people with this condition use to compensate for their deficits?

➢ Must use other features to recognize people (hair color, voices, smell, etc)

Describe how facial recognition abilities are altered in people with schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.


● Impaired recognition memory for faces compared to control participants (immediately and over 30 minute 


● Impairment on delayed recognition in patients with schizophrenia was greater for those with smaller fusiform gyrus 

● On average, volume of fusiform gyrus was 10% smaller in people with schizophrenia compared to controls 

IMPAIRED and fusiform gyrus

Autism Spectrum Disorder

● Children with ASD tend not to attend to faces as much as typically­developing children 

● People with ASD rely on processing features of faces rather than holistic processing 

○ Not as susceptible to Thatcher Illusion 

● Children with ASD rely on the mouth (rather than the eyes) as the critical facial feature 

○ Could detect changes in the mouth better than 

changes in the eyes (opposite pattern of 

typically­developing children) 

FEATURES → mouth, eyes



What is learning? What is memory?

Learning​­ permanent changes in behavior that results from experience

Memory​­ the mental operations that allow us to store information and retrieve it at appropriate times What is the relationship between the two?

Learning requires memory

Define short­term memory (STM), working memory (WM), and long­term memory (LTM).

Short­Term Memory (STM)

● Memory that contains our

moment­to­moment thoughts

and perceptions

● Is fleeting (no more than 18 seconds)

Working Memory (WM)

● Set of mechanisms that

underlies STM and also

communicates with long­term

memory (as a bridge)

● Structural organization

● Aids in learning new


Long­Term Memory (LTM)

● Consists of all the knowledge and experience acquired

through life

Describe the development of STM capacity.

­ Memory span increases with age until young adulthood

What is the average adult STM capacity limit for unrelated items?

­ 7 items + ­ 2

How did Ebbinghaus (1885) study STM capacity using only himself as a subject? What were the results/conclusions? Be able to interpret or explain an Ebbinghaus curve.

Ebbinghaus curve

● Only used himself

● Nonsense syllables with always included a

consonant­vowel­consonant (ex. M­E­K)

● Varied how many nonsense syllables were on the list

● Measured how many times he would have to go through and read the nonsense syllables before

perfect accuracy

● Ebbinghaus could hold 7 items in STM

Describe chunking.

● If items in STM are stored in meaningful groups, the capacity can be increased

● Adults can store approximately 7 chunks of information

How does it affect STM capacity?

­ Increases it

How can chunking be assisted by LTM?

­ Memory span is influenced by prior knowledge

­ To be a chunk, words or sequences of digits must be familiar to the person and available in LTM ­ STM overlaps with and relies upon LTM for efficient functioning


Describe the method of the Brown­Peterson task. How is it used in the assessment of STM? What do the results of this task reveal STM?

Brown­Peterson Task

● Brown and Peterson (know these names)

● Task is used to measure the duration of STM

● How long is information held in STM if you are prevented from rehearsing it?

○ Presented with 3 consonants and told to remember for an amount of time (the retention interval) while performing a distractor task (count backward by 3 from large number)

○ 3 sample trials:

● Results

○ Number of items in STM declines rapidly without rehearsal

○ Maximum duration of STM is 18 seconds

○ Duration of STM can be affected by interference from other information

Explain proactive interference and retroactive interference.

● Retroactive interference

○ Occurs when new information makes it difficult to remember previously learned information ○ OLD INFO → STM → NEW INFO (new info affects STM of old info)

○ Ex. Learning Spanish, then French, then going to Spain

○ Affects recall 

● Proactive interference

○ Occurs when previously learned information inhibits the ability to remember new information ○ Affects learning 

Describe the role of proactive interference in the Brown­Peterson task. How can proactive interference be reduced in this task?

“Proactive interference affects participant performance in the Brown–Peterson task. The first time the students participate in the task, they show little loss of information.[4] However, after multiple trials, the task becomes increasingly challenging when letters from the early trials are confused with letters in the current trial. Fortunately, proactive interference can be hindered if the information to be remembered is changed to a different type of information. For example, in the Brown–Peterson task there appeared to be little proactive interference when the participants switched from recalling letters to recalling numbers.[4]”

● Release from proactive interference can occur if people are asked to remember a different type of information 25

What is the difference between maintenance rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal?

● Maintenance rehearsal​­ saying something repeatedly in order to keep it in mind

○ Results in enhanced recognition of information

● Elaborative rehearsal​­ thinking about the meaningful relationship among the items to be learned and focusing on how they connect to other things that you know

○ Results in enhanced recall AND recognition of information

What is the serial exhaustive search theory?

● People search every item in STM in its entirety and continue to search even after the item is found

How do results of the Sternberg task (in which people must respond if a probe was in a memory set) support this theory?

Sternberg task (1966)

➢ Participant is rapidly presented with items (numbers or letters) from memory set one at a time ➢ A probe item is presented

➢ Participant must determine if probe was part of memory set

➢ Results

○ Response Time increases linearly with set size

○ RT does not differ if probe is in memory set (positives) or not (negatives)

Describe the components of the serial position curve and the explanation for each effect.

Serial position effect

● The probability of recalling items at the beginning and end of a list is higher than the probability of recalling items in the middle of a list

● Found for lists of numbers, words, colors, states, pictures, ideas in a paragraph, scores of soccer games over a season, etc

● Found for lists presented visually or aloud

● Stronger effect for auditory presentation


● Found for lists of different lists

● Primacy effect

○ The better recall of items at the beginning of a list

○ Occurs because this information has been rehearsed the most and has increased availability in STM and LTM ● Recency effect

○ The better recall of items at the end of a list

○ Occurs because this information has been most recently placed in STM

What is negative recency?

Negative recency

● Learn list

● Ask to recall (but if more than 30 seconds it means you exceeded the 18 seconds of STM) you lose the recency effect (looks the same as the middle of the graph) BUT doesn’t affect the primary effect (still see better results for the beginning)

What is the modality effect seen in serial position curves? Why do humans show this effect? Modality effect

○ Recall pattern depends on stimulus modality

○ Recency effects are stronger for auditory stimuli (blue) than visual stimuli (red)

■ Picture’s aren’t really fleeting, sounds are

■ Perhaps humans develop sound­based rehearsal to deal with fleeting nature of sounds

(same picture as before)

Be able to name and describe the roles of the four mains divisions of the Baddeley and Hitch WM model. According to Baddeley & Hitch…

● WM is a limited capacity system​that allows us to store and manipulate information temporarily​so we can perform everyday tasks

● WM is process­oriented

● Subsystems:


1. Phonological loop

2. Visuospatial sketchpad

3. Episodic buffer

4. Central executive

Explain the phonological store and articulatory control processes and how they function within the phonological loop. Phonological loop

● Subsystem of working memory dedicated to the temporary storage of sound­based information and representations ● Components:

○ Phonological store

■ Acts as a reservoir to store acoustic representations of a stimulus

○ Articulatory control processes

■ Automatically refresh and maintain the elements in the phonological store as if they were being rehearsed through a subvocal process (inside your head you rehearse what you hear)

■ Work on a 2­second cycle

● If list of items takes more than 2 seconds to repeat, information will be lost

What are the functions of the visual cache and the inner scribe? How has an experiment utilizing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation provided evidence for the double dissociation of these functions?

Visuospatial sketchpad

● Subsystem of WM responsible for storing visually presented information or remembering kinesthetic movements (i.e. motor movements)

● Components

○ Visual cache

■ Temporarily stores information that comes from perceptual experience

■ Contains form and color information about percepts

■ Contains some spatial information

○ Inner scribe

■ Refreshes all stored information contained in visuospatial sketchpad

■ Briefly stores spatial relationships associated with bodily movements

● Evidence for separable cache and scribe from study using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) ○ Participants performed two tasks while rTMS pulses disrupted activity in a specific brain area ■ Inner scribe processing task ­ must remember spatial locations of dots

■ Visual cache processing task ­ must remember faces


● The two tasks:

● rTMS pulse to visual cache area (ventrolateral PFC)

○ Impaired ability on face memory task

○ No impairment on dot task

● rTMS pulse to inner scribe area (dorsomedial PFC)

○ Impaired ability on memory for dot locations

○ No impairment on facial recognition memory

How can the separate functions of the phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad be differentiated experimentally? WM subsystems

● Are phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad are independent subsystems?

● Participants memorized checkerboard patterns while also performing a second task

○ Motor task ­ track ladybug on computer screen

○ Verbal task ­ repeat sequence of numbers (memory span)

● Motor task interfered with memory for checkerboard patterns (crowded out and can’t remember) ○ Both the ladybug and checkerboard tasks use the visuospatial sketchpad

● Verbal task did not interfere with memory for checkerboard patterns

○ Memory span task uses the phonological loop

● Evidence that phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad are separate divisions of WM!!! 

Episodic Buffer

● Acts as an integrative system

● Places events occurring in the visuospatial sketchpad and the phonological loop into a coherent sequence (along with memory for the goals that initiated those events)

● Keeps track of episodes

● Allows our STM to exceed the 5­9 item capacity and remember 15­16 words when arranged in a sentence ○ Strings sounds into time­based sequence

● Helps us sequence unrelated items as well as by providing a “time­based glue”

● Not associated with a unique brain region


How does the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task measure functioning of the central executive? How does performance on this task relate to a person’s cognitive state?

Central executive

● Coordinates the activities of the

○ Visuospatial sketchpad

○ Phonological loop

○ Episodic buffer

● Manipulates and updates the content of the WM subsystems

● Communicates with long­term memory via the episodic buffer

○ But NOT a memory store

● Acts as a control system that guides attention and allocates resources to maximize performance ● Associated with activity in the PFC (including DLPFC)

● Can measure effectiveness of central executive by measuring WM span​in paradigms that combine a memory span task with a second task 

● Determine WM spam

○ Participant reads series of sentences and remembers the last word of each sentence

○ How many last words can participant recall?

● Why is WM span important?

○ Correlated with measures of fluid intelligence (ex. reasoning)

○ Predicts reading comprehension

○ Can be beneficial in educational situations

● Can also measure functioning of central executive with Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) ○ Participants must add consecutive numbers and announce the sum

○ Numbers are presented aurally every 2.4 seconds

● PSAT scores

○ Decreases with age in adults

■ 50­year­olds score below 20­year­olds

○ Correlated with a person’s level of vigilance (ex. Mackworth clock task)

○ Are greatly diminished in people with recent concussions


What is the word­length effect? How does it relate to the capacity of the phonological loop? WM Explains Findings about STM

● Word­Length Effect 

○ Short­term memory span decreases as the lengths of words to be memorized increases

■ Longer words increase the time it takes for the articulatory control processes to rehearse

● General rule: if the articulatory control process can rehearse an item within 2 seconds, it will be maintained in the phonological loop

● Time­based limitation of articulatory control process sets limit for STM capacity

○ Mandarin­speaking adults, 9.9 digit memory span, 265 ms/digit articulation rate

○ English­speaking adults, 6.6 digit memory span, 321 ms/digit articulation rate


What is the irrelevant speech effect?

Irrelevant speech effect

● Inconsequential background speech interferes with silent verbal rehearsal

○ Irrelevant speech sounds enter phonological loop and compete with words you are trying to remember ● Music with lyrics also interferes with silent verbal rehearsal (music without lyrics does not)

If intrusive thoughts about a negative event were affecting the WM abilities of a friend, what would you suggest they do? ● I would suggest that they write down a thought­intruding negative event


● Students with higher numbers of stressful life events scored lower on WM task

● Same students asked to write about a thought­intruding negative event (wrote 3 times over 2 weeks) showed an 11% increase in WM capacity

○ Allowed them to express and organize their thoughts and feelings on the negative event which freed up central executive from having to suppress the negative thoughts during WM task



Long­term Memory (LTM)

● LTM consists of all experiences and knowledge we gather throughout our lifetime

○ Critical component of “self” ­ who we are, what we like, etc is due to LTM

Divisions of LTM

● Explicit/declarative memory

○ Semantic memory

○ Episodic memory

● Implicit memory

○ Procedural memory

○ Perceptual memory

Be able to define, recognize, and define:

Explicit memory​/​Declarative memory

Explicit memory ­ includes all memories that we consciously seek to store and retrieve

➢ Memories

➢ Personal history

➢ General knowledge

➢ Also called declarative memory

○ Can be described or “declared” to others

Semantic memory (EXPLICIT)

Semantic memory 

➢ Retains conceptual knowledge

➢ Stored as an independent knowledge base containing discrete facts 

➢ Ex. Dogs bark, Abraham Lincoln was 16th president of U.S.A., all the planets

➢ Explicit because we can describe and declare these memories!

Episodic memory (EXPLICIT)

Episodic memory 

➢ Stores and connects specific times, places, and events in an individual’s life

➢ Autobiographical

➢ Two subdivisions of episodic memory

■ Retrospective memory​­ memory for the PAST

■ Prospective memory​­ to remember to do things in the FUTURE

Implicit memory

Implicit memory 

➢ Semiautonomous memory system

○ Performs mental functions in background automatically

○ Frees up resources

➢ Allows us to learn without awareness of these learning patterns

➢ Also allows us to retrieve information without knowledge that we stored it

➢ Ex. Habits

Procedural memory (IMPLICIT)

Procedural memory 

➢ Stored knowledge that allows us to behave skillfully (though we are unable to give account of how task should be performed)

➢ Ex. How to ride a bike (hard to sit down and talk about how to to ride a bike)


Perceptual memory (IMPLICIT)

Perceptual memory 

➢ Perceptually based patterns that are often difficult to describe, but nevertheless are recalled


■ Sights, sounds, and smells of surroundings

➢ Can be assessed with the Gollin Test

■ Person being tested is shown a series of line drawings of increasing complexity until

object is identified

■ Sequence is repeated an hour later

■ Adults (including amnesic individuals) require few presentations on second trial

■ Suggest perceptual memory can improve with practice

Explain the differences between two types of memory tests: recall and recognition.

Explicit memory 

● Can assess explicit memory with recall tests or recognition tests

○ Recall

■ People must spontaneously retrieve information

○ Recognition

■ People presented with information and must select target over distractors (foils)

■ Ex. If given a list of words to remember. Later would be given 2 words (one that was in the original list and one that wasn't) and then must select the word that was on the original list over the

distractor (the one that wasn’t)

What is the capacity of LTM? How does it relate to retrieval?

● No obvious limit of LTM

○ Learning new facts does not delete old facts

● Can make ability to retrieve specific information from large database of knowledge difficult

What does the permastore concept suggest about the duration of LTM?

● Permastore 

○ Knowledge stored in LTM can endure a lifetime

Describe the results of the Bahrick et al. study on LTM of material from high school/college Spanish classes—how do time since course completion and type of memory test (recall v. recognition) impact performance?


Bahrick, 1984

● Tested memory for Spanish 1 to 49 years after learning

● Tested recall and recognition


● Recall lower than recognition even from the beginning

● With time though, both recall and recognition diminish

What are two examples of coding in LTM?

● LTM can be stored as perceptual codes

○ Spatial, Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic, Haptic, Olfactory, Etc. for all other senses

● LTM also stored in semantic codes​based on meaning

○ Word definitions are stored as collections of meaning elements (semantic features​)

○ Ex. The representation of women in our mind is composed of...human, gender, adult, & female (once again, the semantic features)

○ Memory for language­based events relies on these semantic codes

What are semantic features? What evidence from previous research supports semantic coding for LTM of sentences and paragraphs [hint: what were results and conclusions of Fillenbaum (1966) and Sachs (1967)?]? ● LTM also stored in semantic codes​based on meaning

○ Word definitions are stored as collections of meaning elements (semantic features​)

○ Ex. The representation of women in our mind is composed of...human, gender, adult, & female (once again, the semantic features)

○ Memory for language­based events relies on these semantic codes


➢ Fillenbaum (1966)

➢ Semantic codes and memory for sentences

➢ Students heard “the door was open” and later asked which of the following matched the original ○ A.) The door was open

○ B.) The door was closed

○ C.) The door was not open

○ D.) The door was not closed

➢ If the student chose incorrectly, they most likely chose D! This implies a SEMANTIC code...the door wasn’t CLOSED because it was open. You choose this despite the fact that it doesn’t sound anything like the original (ex. B is more similar than D is)


➢ Sachs, 1967

➢ Students tested on ability to recognize if a test sentence had appeared in factual paragraph read up to 2 minutes before

➢ Test sentences could involve syntactic change (sentence structure) or semantic change (meaning of the sentence)

➢ Original sentence: “he sent a letter about it to Galileo, the great Italian scientist”

➢ Syntactic change: A letter about it was sent to Galileo, the great Italian scientist

➢ Semantic change: Galileo, the great Italian scientist, sent him a letter about it



➢ We are better to recognize semantic changes (the sentence meaning)

What is meta­memory? What is feeling­of­knowing? How accurate is our feeling­of­knowing? ● Metamemory​­ is our awareness of our memory system and what resides there

● Related to the feeling of knowing​involves metamemory

○ People often have a sense that they know something but are unable to recall it

○ Relies on our metamemory

○ People tend to be correct in their feeling of knowing (basically we know if we know something or not)

● People with amnesia can make use of their metamemory and feeling of knowing

○ Ability to recognize answers and questions are predicted by feeling of knowing or not

● Metamemory and feeling of knowing decline with age

What is the tip­of­the­tongue phenomenon? What about this phenomenon suggests sound­based code is involved in word retrieval?

● Tip­of­the­tongue phenomenon

○ The temporary inaccessibility of a word in memory

○ It’s on the tip­of­your­tongue ­ you know it’s there, but you can’t directly get it

○ But thinking about the letter it starts with or how many syllables it may have HELPS

○ Occurs more often in older adults

○ Shows importance of sound­based code in word retrieval (again, thinking about the letter it starts with or how many syllables it has)

Is incidental encoding an example of bottom­up memory processing or top­down memory processing? Why? ● Incidental encoding is BOTTOM­UP because it automatic and effortless and stimulus driven ● Memory of stimulus occurs as an unintended byproduct of cognitive processing

What type of information is subject to incidental encoding in LTM?

● Occurs with spatial information, frequency information, and temporal (how long it occurs) information 35

Given a description of Bartlett’s 1932 “War of the Ghost” study, explain the results and how they illustrate that LTM processes are top­down.

Memory can be top­down 

● Intentional encoding

○ Memory of stimulus occurs because the person consciously tries to remember the stimulus

○ Conscious and effortful

● Bartlett’s “War of the Ghosts”

○ Participants from Great Britain asked to read and recall a folktale from Kwak’wala speaking people of Vancouver Island

○ Questions asked

■ What happened in the story? Who were the people fighting? What happened to the young man after he returned home?

○ Participants…

■ Didn’t agree on the story’s details

■ Filled in missing details with cultural expectations

■ Rationalized hard­to­understand aspects

■ Demonstrated that memory for story changed over time

○ Memory is constructed based on interpretation

■ Interpretation is based on prior knowledge and cultural biases

○ Memory is reconstructed at retrieval (remembering things that weren’t in the original story)

Describe the processes of encoding, consolidation, and retrieval of LTM.


● The act of taking in information and converting it to a usable form


● The post­acquisition stabilization (gelling in your brain) of LTM


● The act of accessing information stored in memory

Happens consciously and unconsciously!

Which requires long term potentiation?

➢ Consolidation​requires long term potential

○ In hippocampus and medial temporal cortex

○ Involved in consolidation

○ Involves a change in the cellular connections between neurons (LTP​)

■ Now connections are STRONGER

What is the encoding specificity principle? What is subjective organization? How can you make use of these concepts when studying material for exams?

● Encoding specificity principle

○ The recall of information stored in memory depends on the retrieval cue used to elicit the stored information ● Remembering depends on coordination of encoding and retrieval

○ Memory can be enhanced if coordination between encoding environment and and retrieval environment are similar

○ Can also be better if the person’s psychological/physical state are the same at encoding and retrieval ○ Also coordination between methods used for encoding and retrieval


● Subjective organization

○ A unique way of encoding events specific to each person

○ People can impose subjective organization to help them remember

■ Create or utilize an organizational structure to learn new material

Be able to explain or recognize the results when given name and description of tasks demonstrating physical context­dependent retrieval (Guthrie, 1935; Godden & Baddeley, 1975), mental state context­dependent retrieval (Gilligan & Bower, 1983, 1984), and physical state context dependent retrieval (Goodwin et al, 1969). Context­dependent retrieval

● Physical context is important

○ Guthrie (1935) 

■ Students learned 80 words in a distinctive room for recognition test given the next day

■ Group 1­tested in same room: 22% correct

■ Group 2­tested in different room: 15%

■ Group 3=tested in different room but told to think about earlier room: 21.5% correct

○ Godden & Baddeley (1975) 

■ Participants instructed on SCUBA information on dry land or in water (pool) and then tested recall in congruent or incongruent physical contexts

■ Congruent

● Dry learning, dry testing

● Wet learning, wet testing

■ Incongruent

● Dry learning, wet testing

● Wet learning, dry testing

■ Better recall when physical contexts were congruent

● Mental state as context

○ Recall for list of words is highest when mood at retrieval matches mood at encoding

■ If calm when encoding and then calm during retrieval that is good

■ If calm when studying and stressed during retrieval it makes it more difficult to retrieve

■ Emotional response can serve as retrieval cue

○ Gillian & Bower (1983, 1984) 

■ Participants recorded events in diary and rated positive or negative to all events

■ Participants later hypnotized to induce happy or sad moods

■ Induced happy mood ­ recalled more positive events from diary

■ Induced sad mood ­ recalled more negative events from diary

■ If in a sad depressed mood we’re going to think about other sad things, it’s a sad downward spiral

● Body’s physical state

○ Goodwin, Powell, Bremer, Hoine, & Sterne, 1969

■ Four groups of male medical students performed memory tasks

● Sober or intoxicated (alcohol) during learning

● Sober or intoxicated (alcohol) during test


What is state­dependent learning?

➢ State dependent learning

○ The ability to recall information is

superior when a person is in the same

physical state as when they learned the


Autobiographical memory

Contains information about our lives in the past, present, and future

● Retrospective memory of events that have occurred to you in your life

● Prospective memory of events that you predict will happen

● The “self” is central actor that links the episodes

Explicit or implicit?

➢ Mainly explicit

Know that it is mainly episodic with some elements of semantic memory

➢ While mainly episodic, autobiographical recollections combine both episodic and semantic elements ○ We can recall general facts while simultaneously recalling the experience of learning those facts ■ Joint activation of semantic memory and episodic memory

■ Ex. Remembering when you learned about the moon

Know that it contains retrospective and prospective memory (should already know definitions and examples from lecture 10/11 study guide)

➢ Retrospective memory​­ memory for the PAST

➢ Prospective memory​­ to remember to do things in the FUTURE

What is infantile amnesia? Provide two explanations for it.

● The difficulty in retrieving autobiographical memory of early childhood experience (first 3 years) ● Usher & Neisser, 1993

○ Asked college­aged students to recall specific information about childhood events

○ Why do we have difficulty remembering things from the first 3 years of life?

■ May be the result of 3 related factors

1. Brain mechanisms to maintain information over a lifetime may not be sufficiently mature

in early childhood

2. Children may not attend to context of their life events (where and when things happen)

3. Encoding specificity

○ Infants rely on nonverbal, image­based memories

○ With development of language, memories are encoded in narrative form


○ NOTICE encoding is not the same...might be difficult to retrieve information

that is image­based when we now encode things in the narrative form

○ Remember: memory is most effective when information available at encoding

is also present at retrieval

What is the reminiscence bump? Explain how it is related to the primacy effect.

● The heightened retrospective recall for autobiographical events that occurred between the ages of 10 and 25 ● Evident for episodes in a person’s life and for factual information that occurred during that time ● Occurs across cultures

Explain how it is related to the primacy effect.

● Occurs because of primacy effect

○ Enhanced memory for items presented at the beginning of a list

○ This is the time period in life that is associated with many firsts!

What are flashbulb memories?

● Memories of distinctive or significant events that SEEM to be stored in memory with photograph­like detail (not what the studies show)

How do they differ from everyday memories?

➢ Processed similarly but we experience flashbulbs more vividly

According to research by Talarico & Rubin (2003) on memories for events around 9/11/11, how do recollections of everyday events and flashbulb events change with time? How do the beliefs in the accuracy of these recollections change with time for everyday and flashbulb memories?

➢ Talarico & Rubin, 2003

○ On September 12, 2001, asked students questions about 9/11 attacks and an everyday event

○ Followed up with questions 1, 6, and 32 weeks later

○ Results: recollections did not differ, but beliefs about recollections did

How does age (both young age and old) affect prospective memory? What lobe is associated with prospective memory? ● Autobiographical memory projected into the future (ex. I have hockey today → pack skates) ● Prospective memory continues to improve as frontal lobes​mature HOWEVER older adults show a decline in prospective memory in time­based​situations (associated with a deterioration of frontal lobes)



What role does the amygdala play in memory? Where is it located?


● Structure in temporal lobe

● Imparts the emotionality of a memory (were you fearful, happy, sad, in memory?)

● If damaged, explicit memory is preserved but emotional component is lost (may think back to a special prom but can’t remember that they were sad b/c date was late or something)

What is the Polyanna principle? Recognize the method and results that supports this principle (Linton, 1979)? Is the Polyanna principle seen in people with depression?

➢ Tendency for people to recall more positive memories than negative memories

○ Linton (1979) recalled more details about positive daily events than negative daily events that occurred over the past 6 years



Differentiate between anterograde and retrograde amnesia.

Two main types of amnesia

● Anterograde amnesia: can’t form memories after brain damage (new memories)

○ More common

● Retrograde amnesia: can’t remember before brain damage (past and childhood)

○ Less common

○ Usually lasts for a certain amount of time

○ Happens WITH anterograde

Describe the explicit memory abilities of HM after neurosurgery (& know that the surgery involved bilateral removal of hippocampi). Did he demonstrate an impairment in tasks of implicit memory (Gollin, mirror tracing)? Famous patient: HM

○ Neurosurgery for epilepsy

■ Removed portion of temporal lobe (including hippocampus)

○ Anterograde amnesia

■ Couldn’t encode events or meetings that occurred after surgery

○ HM had intact implicit​memory (includes procedural and perceptual)


■ Mirror tracing task (procedural memory) → got better every time even though he doesn’t remember doing the task

■ Gollin task (perceptual memory)

Describe Korsakoff’s syndrome including the cause, the structure that is damaged, and the behavioral symptoms. Korsakoff’s Syndrome

● Damage to mammillary bodies

○ In temporal lobe

● Due to thiamine deficiency from excessive alcohol consumption

● Anterograde amnesia

● Symptoms get progressively worse

● Patients subject to prevaricating

○ Make up answers to questions rather than indicate that they do not remember

○ Ex. If asked about a doctor they don’t remember they would just make up something about the doctor

How did Loftus & Palmer (1979) demonstrate that eyewitness memory can be impacted by questions asked about an event that was witnessed? What variable did they manipulate? What were the results?

● A witness’s confidence in memory does not make it more accurate

● Two aspects of eyewitness reports affect accuracy:

○ How questions are asked to elicit the report

○ The observer’s guessing strategies in generating facts

● Leading questions 

○ Recollection of an event can be altered by questions asked

○ Loftus & Palmer (1974)

■ “How fast were the cars going when they (insert verb) into each other?

■ Asked students a week later, “was there broken glass?”


What is source monitoring?

Source monitoring

● The process of distinguishing between new information about an event that was observed/experienced from information that was heard

● Inaccurate source monitoring can lead to false recollections

○ Recovered memories can be planted

■ Not all recovered memories are planted


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