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UTEP / Psychology / PSYC 1301 / What is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes?

What is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes?

What is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes?

Description

School: University of Texas at El Paso
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Psychology
Professor: Zarate
Term: Fall 2016
Tags:
Cost: 25
Name: All Weekly Notes for Exam 1
Description: This notes bundle includes the lecture notes for the following dates: Thursday 08/25/2016 Tuesday 08/30/2016 Thursday 09/01/2016 Tuesday 09/06/2016 Exam Scheduled for Thursday 09/08/2016
Uploaded: 09/06/2016
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PSYC 1301


What is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes?



Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

Class Info: 

Quiz is due Sunday  

• Do not use Internet Explorer as your Web Browser  

• The quiz is over chapter 1

• You should get between 13-15 of the quiz questions correct

Be sure to sign up for SONA

• Instructions for sign up are available on the syllabus

Class Notes: 

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental process/mind  • Behavior – moving, taking physiological responses, expressions, non-visible but  measurable actions

• Mental processes

o Thinking  


Who defined psychology as a science of behaviour?



Don't forget about the age old question of Do you control the treatment of factors?

o Learning

o Emotions

o Addiction

▪ Aka addiction to phone, exercise, etc.  

▪ Not all drugs and alcohol

• Behavior is difficult to predict

o Meehl’s maxim

▪ The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

o Behavior is predicted by multiple predictors

o People affect each other

▪ Reciprocal determinism –

o Many psychological concepts are difficult to define (e.g. intelligence) • The goals of psychology  We also discuss several other topics like What causes nature and nurture?

o Describe  


Do iq tests provide accurate measures of intelligence?



o Understand

o Predict  

▪ “I knew you were going to say that? Yea right.”

o Control

▪ Can we reduce child abuse?

▪ Identify and stop the killer who goes on the rampage?

▪ Improve worker morale?

▪ Stop drunk driving? Stop driving while texting?

• If you don’t like drunk drivers don’t text and drive

▪ Help the autistic children learn?  

• Things that make psych fun

o People in psychological experiments usually know they’re being studies ▪ Problem of reactivity – Don't forget about the age old question of Cognitive theories are the theory of what?

• People are very reactive

PSYC 1301

Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ People differ from each other

• Every one differs genetically

• Even identical twins differ genetically Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of validity?
Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of legislation in law?
If you want to learn more check out Where is the alpha carbon in an amino acid?

• Siblings, homes, environment – all create a difference in  

people (even identical siblings)

• One can’t control the environment

▪ Culture influences people’s behavior

• Gender differences in cultures

• What will we address?

o Do IQ tests provide accurate measures of intelligence?

▪ Is intelligence inherited, or learned?

• Nature vs Nurture

• Language is nurture

o How does psychological stress influence health?

o What is more effective with children, punishment for bad behaviors or  reward for good behaviors?

▪ Similarly, does how your parents raise you impact the type of  person you are today?  

• When you punish a kid for writing on the wall are we  

punishing them for writing or writing on the wall? So we  

must reward them for writing on paper

• Rewarding works better than punishing

o How does cognitive function differ with age?

o Why is texting while driving so doggone dangerous?

▪ It is strikingly dangerous

▪ No one ever runs out of long term memory

▪ How many things can you keep in your mind at once

▪ Attention is limited – it takes a form of cognitive energy that we  simply do not posses

o What is the best way to study for an exam?

o What did Freud say about sexual behavior?

o Is memory better when hypnotized than normal?

• Psychology’s Liberation from Philosophy

o For many centuries, psychology was indistinguishable from philosophy o The distinctions lie in the use of argument, versus data

▪ Don’t argue. Prove it to me

▪ Show me the data

▪ Now I will try to refute you

• Fact or Falsehood

• True – Psychology is a way of asking and answering questions • True – the biggest and most persistent issue in psychology concerns the nature nurture controversy

• False – Psychology’s different perspectives contradict each other • False – Random assignment is fulfilled as long as you have an equal number of  male and female participants

PSYC 1301

Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Are people telling the truth?

• True – deceiving research subject is sometimes considered ethical  o They only tell you what they want you to know

o Its for science

• Early schools of Psychology

o The Science of Psychology

▪ Wilhelm Wundt promotes the belief that experimental methods  should be used to study mental processes.

▪ “What is the best way to measure mental processes?”

o Structuralism

▪ Edward Titchener, a student of Wundt, held that complex  

conscious experiences could be broken down into elemental parts  or structures

o Functionalism  

▪ Advocated by William James and influenced by Darwin,  

functionalism focuses on how behaviors function to allow people  and animals to adapt to their environment

▪ “What are the structures of conscious experiences?”

• What are the functions of behavior and mental experiences?

o Why did you do that?

• How can psychology be applied to life?

o First Major Psychological Schools: William James’s Students ▪ G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924)

• Established first psychological lab in the US at John  

Hopkins: founded the APA

▪ Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930)

• Was the first woman elected president of the APA  

American Psychological Association

• Conducted research in dreams, memory, and personality

o Great Theoretical Frameworks of Psychology  

▪ 1. Structuralism –What is this process?

• ‘Map’ the elements of consciousness (sensations, images,  

feelings) using introspection

▪ 2. Functionalism – Why

• Psychologists must act as ‘detectives’ to discover these  

purposes

• Evolutionary aspect still influences modern psychology  

▪ The unconscious is the part of the mind that operates outside of  conscious awareness

▪ Unconscious conflicts determine behavior and personality  

▪ Psychoanalytic Theory – Unconscious mental process shape  

feelings, thoughts, and behaviors  

o New Schools Develop Behaviorism

▪ Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) – discovers conditioned reflexes

▪ Psychology redefined as the scientific study of observable behavior

PSYC 1301

Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ This is about the dog that salivates to the ring of a bell due to  conditioning

▪ John Watson (1878-1958) – extends approach to human behavior ▪ B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) – further experiments on behavior,  learning, and conditioning

• These three moves Psychology away from Philosophy  

• New Schools Develop

o Cognitive Psychology – the scientific study of how perception, thought,  memory, and reasoning are processed

o A return to an emphasis on mental processes and how they influence  behavior

▪ Whose happier to medal at the Olympics bronze or silver? Bronze,  because they actually got a medal.

• Theoretical Perspectives

o Cognitive Perspective (1950’s – present)

▪ Noam Chomsky & Herbert Simon

▪ Sometimes Psychologists will study their own children sometimes • Behaviorism vs Cognitive

o Behaviorism is an S-R model

▪ Stimulus response

o Cognitive psychology emphasizes the S-O-R model

▪ The organism in the middle interprets that stimulus and produces a  response  

• Biological perspective

o Emphasizes the physical bases of human and animal behavior, including  the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, and genetics

▪ Neuroscience

PSYC 1301

Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ Focus

▪ Research techniques

o Different from other biological sciences

• Cross-cultural perspective

o Emerged in the 190’s

o Emphasizes diversity of behavior across cultures and the fact that many  earlier psychological findings were not universal

o Important cultural terms:

▪ Ethnocentrism

▪ Individualistic cultures

• Different cultures react to similar situations differently

▪ Collectivistic cultures

• How do we make our decisions

• Evolutionary Perspective

o Reflects renewed interest in Darwin’s work

o Applies the principles of evolution to explain psychological processes o Suggests that most adaptive characteristics are perpetuated through  natural selection

o Analyzes behavior in terms of how it increases a species’ chances to  survive and reproduce  

• Psychology’s three main levels of analysis

o 1. Biological Influences

▪ Genetic predispositions

▪ Genetic mutations

▪ Natural selection of adaptive physiology and behaviors

▪ Genes responding to the environment

o 2. Psychological influences

▪ Learned fears and other learned expectations

▪ Emotional responses

▪ Cognitive processing and perceptual interpretations

o 3. Social-cultural influences

▪ Presence of others

▪ Cultural, societal, and family expectations

▪ Peer and other group influences

▪ Compelling models (such as the media)

o These all lead to a behavior or mental process

• Psychologists and Psychiatrists

o Clinical Psychologists

▪ Trained in the diagnosis, treatment, caused and prevention of  psychological disorders

o Psychiatrist

▪ Have medical degrees followed by specialized training in the  diagnosis, treatment, causes, and prevention of psychological  

disorders

▪ Emphasize biological factors and use biomedical therapies

• The profession of Psychology

PSYC 1301

Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Basic Research builds psychology’s knowledge bas through research and  training  

o There are many sub specialties of psychology such as clinical, counseling,  general, developmental, educational, social and personal, cognitive,  industrial organizational, biological and experimental, etc.  

o Psychologists work in a wide variety of settings

▪ Universities, colleges, and medical schools

▪ For-profit organizations and self-employment

▪ The federal government

▪ Stat and local government  

New Lecture

• What is good research design?

• Explore the scientific method

• Discuss the ethics of experimentation

• Review statistics

• How do Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions?

• What about intuition and common sense?

o Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring  forth answers regarding human nature

• Limits of Intuition

o Personal interviewers may rely too much on their “gut feelings” when  meeting with job applicants  

o We like people who are like up

• Hindsight Bias

o This is that “I-knew-it-all-along” phenomenon

o After learning the outcome of an event, many people believe they could  have predicted that very outcome. We only knew the dot.com stocks  would plummet after they actually did plummet.  

• The scientific Attitude and Critical Thinking

o In whatever subfield and in whatever setting, psychologists seek to  maintain a scientific attitude:

▪ Curiosity

▪ Skepticism

▪ Humility

• Its okay to be wrong

o Critical thinking examines: assumptions, disconcerts, hidden values,  evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions

o Psychologists, like all scientists, use the scientific method to construct  theories that organize, summarize and simplify observations.  

▪ We can theorize that irritating someone leads to them being angry  – we collect data – and so on

• Using the Scientific Method

o Scientific method

PSYC 1301

Aug 25, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ A set of assumptions, attitudes, and procedures that guide  researchers in creating questions to investigate, in generating  evidence, and in drawing conclusions

• There was an experiment to see if babies can smell their  mothers

o Step 1: Formulate a specific question that can be tested

▪ Form a hypothesis: a tentative statement about the relationship  between two or more variables: a testable prediction or question ▪ Dependent – the variable we measure at the end

o Step 2: Design a study to collect relevant data

▪ Use descriptive or experimental methodologies

o Step 3: Analyze the data to arrive at conclusions

▪ Use statistics to analyze, summarize, and draw conclusions about  the data they have collected

o Step 4: Report the results

▪ The rationale for testing the hypothesis who participated in the  study and how they were selected  

▪ How variables were operationally defined

▪ What procedures or methods were used

▪ How the data were analyzed

▪ What the results seem to suggest

o Scientific Terms

▪ Empirical Evidence – is information acquired by observation or  experimentation

▪ Hypothesis – a testable prediction about the relationship between  at least two events, characteristics, or variables.  

▪ Variable – something that can be changed, such as a characteristic or value. They are generally used in psychology experiments to  determine if changes to one thing result in changes to another.

▪ Operational definition – a statement of the procedures or ways in  which a researcher is going to measure behaviors or qualities.  ▪ Statistically significant – is the probability of some result from a  statistical test occurring by chance.  

• Psychologists look for a probability of 5% or less that the  results are due to chance, which means a 95% chance the  

results are “not” due to chance.  

▪ Meta-analysis – is a study about other studies in order to get an  integrated result. AKA a researcher reviews previously published  studies on a topic, and analyzes the various results to find general  trends across the studies.  

▪ Replication – it’s a way of seeing if the same study can be re created and yield the same results

• The repetition of a research study, generally with different  situations and different subjects, to determine if the basic  

findings of the original study can be generalized to other  

participants and circumstances.

PSYC 1301 Aug 25, 2016 Lecture Notes

PSYC 1301

Aug 30, 2016

Lecture Notes

Class Info: 

Quiz 2 – Chapter 6 Memory

• Available Wednesday 7am – 10:30pm

• No Password

Class Notes: 

 Theory

• A theory is an explanation that integrates principles and organizes and predicts  behavior or events

o For example, low self-esteem contributes to depression

• Hypothesis  

o A hypothesis is a testable prediction, often prompted by a theory, to enable  us to accept, reject or revise the theory

▪ Frustration can lead to depression and aggression

o People with low self-esteem are apt to feel more depressed

• Research Observations

o Research would require us to administer tests of self-esteem and  depression

• Research Process

a) Theories lead to  

b) Hypotheses lead to  

c) Research and observations

• Scientific Method: A toolbox of skills

o Allows us to test specific hypotheses derived from broader theories of how  things work

▪ Theories are never “proven,” but hypotheses can be disconfirmed o Naturalistic Observation – watching behavior in real-world setting o Example – someone honks and you go slower in response

▪ High degree of external validity – extent to which we can  

generalize our findings to the real world

▪ Low degree of internal validity – extend to which we can draw  

cause-and-effect inferences

▪ Use your own experiences to draw hew hypotheses = not  

conclusions  

o Case study designs

▪ Depth is traded for breadth

▪ We look at one group to study why they did what they did in a  

particular circumstance

▪ Common with rare types of brain damage

▪ Helpful in providing existence proofs, but can be misleading and  anecdotal

o Correlational designs

PSYC 1301

Aug 30, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ Correlation can vary from -1 to +1

• Zero means there is no correlation

▪ 0 means no relationship

▪ Depicted in a scatterplot – each dot represents a single person’s  data

▪ Illusory Correlation – perception of a statistical association where  none exist (e.g., crime and the full moon)

▪ Correlation cannot determine causation – merely shows things are  related nor correlated  

▪ ***If you come to class scan your id before entering the classroom  (does not count for points – simply so the instructor can view class  attendance correlation vs grades at the end of the semester)

o Survey

▪ A technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes, opinions or  behaviors of people usually done by questioning a representative,  random sample of people  

o Self-report measures and surveys

▪ Self-Report measures – questionnaires assess a variety of  characteristics (e.g., interests, traits)

▪ Surveys – measure opinions, attitudes

o Important Terms in Survey Design  

▪ Sample

• A selected segment of the population used to represent the  group that is being studied

▪ Representative Sample

• A selected segment that very closely parallels, on relevant  characteristics, the larger population being studied

▪ Random Selection

• Process in which subjects are selected randomly from a  larger group such that every group member has an equal  

chance of being included in the study

o Self-Report Measures

▪ Pros

• Easy to administer  

• Direct (self) assessment of person’s state

▪ Cons

• Accuracy is skewed for certain groups (narcissist)

• Potential for dishonesty  

o Response sets – tendencies of research subjects to  

distort their responses  

▪ Positive impression managing

o Examples of Newspaper Headlines that confuse correlation with causation ▪ Low self-esteem “shrinks Brain”

▪ Housework Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

▪ Wearing a helmet puts cyclists at risk, suggests research o CORRELATION DOES NOT MEAN CAUSATION

PSYC 1301

Aug 30, 2016

Lecture Notes

o More on correlations

▪ “The stork brought you”

▪ Brain size predicts intelligence

▪ Some drug treatments also show reduced coronary heart disease

▪ Ice cream consumption predicts violent crime rates

o Order in Random Events

▪ We look for order and meaningful patterns.

▪ Which is more probable?

▪ Answer: they are equally probable

PSYC 1301

Aug 30, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Exploring Cause and Effect

▪ Many factors influence our behavior. Experiments

• Manipulate factors that interest us, while other factors are  kept under control

• Effects generated by manipulation factors isolate cause and  effect relationships

o Experimental Design: What Makes a Study an Experiment? ▪ Random assignment – of participants to conditions

• Experimental group – receives the manipulation

• Control group – does not receive the manipulation

▪ Independent Variable – experimenter manipulates

▪ Dependent Variable – experimenter measures to see whether  manipulation had an effect

o Independent Variable

▪ An independent variable is a factor manipulated by the  

experimenter. The effect of the independent variable is the focus of  the study.

▪ For example, when examining the effects of breast feeding upon  intelligence, breast feeding is the independent variable  

o Dependent Variable

▪ A dependent variable is a factor that may change in response to an  independent variable. In psychology, it is usually a behavior or a  mental process

▪ For example, in our study on the effect of breast feeding upon  intelligence, intelligence is the dependent variable  

o Touch and tipping

▪ Does touching lead to greater restaurant tipping?

▪ How would one test that?

• You would have to watch very carefully and count the  

amount of times a server touched the customer and see if  

there is a difference in the percent tip received compared to  the same server who didn’t touch their customers. (Still not  the best experimental design though)

• Needs the same server – what if one server is nicer than the  other

• Needs the same customers, or similar customers  

o Pitfalls of Experimental Design  

▪ Placebo effect – improvement resulting from the mere expectation  of improvement  

• Subjects must be blind – unaware of whether they are in the  experimental or control group

• Placebos show many of the same characteristics as real  

drugs

PSYC 1301

Aug 30, 2016

Lecture Notes

• Knowing about placebo effects does not always reduce  

their effects

▪ Experimenter expectancy effect – phenomenon in which  researchers’ hypotheses lean them to unintentionally bias a study  outcome  

• Examples:

o Clever Hans, the mathematical horse

o Rosenthal’s undergrads and maze-bright, maze-dull  

rats

▪ Double-blind design – neither researchers nor subjects know who  is in the experimental or control group  

▪ Hawthorne effect – phenomenon in which participants’ knowledge  that they’re being studied can affect …

o Experimental Design: what makes a study an experiment ▪ Confounds – any difference between the experimental and control  groups, other than the independent variable…

o Asking people about themselves and others

▪ Random selection – key to generalizability; ensures every person  in a population has an equal chance of being chosen to participate ▪ Evaluating Measures:

• Reliability – consistency of measurement

• Validity – extent to which a measure assesses what it claims  to measure  

• A test must be reliable to be valid, but a reliable test can  still be completely invalid

• Using height to measure intelligence would be relatable,  but not valid

o Why not always run an experimental study?

▪ It is not always plausible

• Death penalty research

▪ For research at the discovery stage, identifying relationships might  be the first step

▪ Not always ethical

• Death and divorce

o Ethical issues in research Design

▪ Tuskegee Study (1932 to 1972)

• African American men living in rural Alabama diagnosed  with syphilis

• U.S. Public Health Service never informed, or treated, the  men

• Merely studied the course of the disease: 28 men died of  syphilis, 100 of related complications, 40 wives were  

infected, 19 children were born with it

o Key provisions in the most recent APA ethical guidelines regulation  research with human participants

PSYC 1301

Aug 30, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ Informed consent and voluntary participation

▪ Students as research participants

▪ The use of deception

▪ Confidentiality of information

▪ Information about the study of debriefing  

o True or False?

▪ If an experiment can be reproduced 9 out of 10 times, it is  

statistically significant.

▪ FALSE – the typical standard in psychology experiments is 19 out  of 20 (or 95%)

New Lecture

• What is Memory?

o Memory involves three fundamental processes

▪ Encoding – transforming information into a form that can be  

entered and retained by the memory system

▪ Storage – retaining information in memory so that it can be used at  a later time

▪ Retrieval – recovering stored information for conscious awareness ▪ One driving point. Memory is an active process.

• We selected what we attend to and retrieve

o What is the capital of California?

1. Perhaps you never heard it before. If so, then no encoding.

2. Perhaps you once knew the capital, but can’t recall it right now. If  so, you have retention, but you can’t retrieve the information

3. You know it: Sacramento  

o Retrieval: Getting Information Out

▪ Retrieval refers to getting information out of the memory store

o Studying Memory – memory refers to the persistence of learning over  time, through the storage and retrieval of information and skills

PSYC 1301 Aug 30, 2016 Lecture Notes

PSYC 1301

Sept 1, 2016

Lecture Notes

Class Info: 

Take the online quizzes  

No quiz this weekend

Class Notes:

Studying Memory

• Memory refers to the persistence of learning over time, through the storage and  retrieval of information and skills

o Learning new skills takes cognitive function

o Three behaviors show that memory is functioning

▪ Recall is analogous to “fill-in-the-blank” you retrieve information  previously learned and unconsciously stored

▪ Recognition – is a form of “multiple choice” you identify which  stimuli match your stored information

▪ Relearning – is a measure of how much less work it takes you to  learn information you had studied before, even if you don’t recall  

having seen the information before

• Relearning Time as a Measure of Retention

o In the late 1800s, Hermann Ebbinghaus studied another measure of  memory functioning: how much time does it take to relearn and regain  mastery of material?

o He studied the memorization of nonsense syllables (THB YOX KVU  EHM) so that depth of processing or prelearning would not be a factor o The more times he rehearsed out loud on day 1, the less time he needed to relearn/memorize the same letters on day 2

• Memory Game

o Memory Illusion – a false but convincing memory

o Memory is reconstructive – we extract the gist to make things easier to  remember, but this also contributes to memory errors

o It helps us generally, as specific details are rarely needed, but it does cause  errors

• Stage Model:

PSYC 1301

Sept 1, 2016

Lecture Notes

• Sensory Memory: Fleeting Impression of the World

o Very briefly stores sensory impressions so that they overlap slightly with  one another

o Used to perceive the world as continuous, rather than as a series of  disconnected visual images or disjointed sounds

• Types of Sensory Memory

o Visual sensory memory – is sometimes referred to as iconic memory because it is the brief memory of an image, or icon

▪ Duration; approximately ¼ to ½ a second

o Auditory sensory memory is sometimes referred to as echoic memory,  meaning a brief memory that is like an echo

▪ Lasts up to three or four seconds

• Sperling’s Experiment Demonstrating the Duration of Sensory Memory  • Sensory Information

o Short lived (such as stepping on a rock)

o Limitless  

o Must be attended to quickly

• Short-Term Working Memory: The Work of Consciousness

o STM provides temporary storage for information transferred from sensory  and long-term memory

o Duration: about 20 seconds

▪ Can be retained longer through maintenance rehearsal

▪ Mental or verbal repetition of information

▪ Information loss may be due to decay or interference from new or  competing information

o Capacity

▪ Described by George Miller as “The Magical Number Seven, Plus  or Minus Two”

▪ Can be increased by chunking; use maintenance rehearsal to  

encode

▪ Current research suggests that the true “magical number” is four  plus or minus one when chunking not an option

• Working Memory: Functions

o The Short-term memory is “working” in many ways

▪ It holds information not just to rehearse it, but to process it (such as  hearing a word problem in math and doing it in your head).

PSYC 1301

Sept 1, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Short-term memory integrates information from long-term memory with  new information coming in from sensory memory

• Encoding Memory: Capacity of Short-Term and Working Memory o If some information is selected from sensory memory to be sent to short term memory, how much information can we hold there?

o George Miller proposed that we can hold 7 +/- 2 information bits (for  example, a string of 5 to 9 letters)

o More recent research suggests that the average person, free from  distraction can hold about:

▪ 7 digits, 6 letters, or 5 words

o Working Memory, which uses rehearsal, focus, analysis, linking, and other  processing, has greater capacity than short-term memory. The capacity of  working memory varies; some people have better concentration

• Duration

o Peterson and Peterson measured the duration of working memory by  manipulating rehearsal

▪ The duration of the working memory is about 20 seconds

• Capacity Theories

o Tasks take mental effort

o We have limited mental effort to allocate to all demands on our attention ▪ Conscious control of allocation

▪ Some tasks require more attention than others

▪ It helps that some tasks become automated

• Consciousness

1. Since we cannot focus on all the sensory information received, we select  information that is important to us and actively process it into our working  memory

2. Consciousness, short-term memory, working memory. For us, the same 3. Limited in capacity. The only memory store limited in capacity. • Long-Term Memory

o Any information stored longer than the 20-second duration of short-term  memory

o Unlimited amount of information can be stored in long-term memory ▪ LTM has different memory systems

▪ Long-term memories can last a lifetime

▪ Amount of information that can be held is limitless

o Three Major categories

▪ Procedural memory – refers to the long-term memory of how to  preform different skills, operations, and actions: sometimes known  as “Muscle memory”

• Such as typing – in order to remember where the letters on  

a keyboard are we use our hands

▪ Episodic memory refers to long-term memory of specific events or  episodes, including the time and place

PSYC 1301

Sept 1, 2016

Lecture Notes

• Related: autobiographical memory; personal life history

▪ Semantic memory is general knowledge of facts, names,  

definitions, concepts  

• We usually do not remember where we learned these  

• Semantic Network Model

o Mental links form between concepts

▪ Common properties provide bases for mental link

▪ Shorter path between two concepts = stronger association in  

memory

o Concept is activated in semantic network, spread in any number of  directions, activating other associations in network

• Retrieval Cues

o Memories are held in storage by a web of association. These associations  are like anchors that help retrieve memory

PSYC 1301

Sept 1, 2016

Lecture Notes

• Retrieval is Affected by Activating our Associations

o Priming triggers a thread of associations that bring us to a concept, just as  a spider feels movement in a web and follows it to find the bug

o Our minds, work by having one idea trigger another; this maintains a flow  of thought  

• The power of Priming

o Priming has been called “invisible memory” because it affects us  unconsciously

o In the case of tree “bark” vs. dog “bark” the path we follow in our  thoughts can be channeled by priming

o We may have biases and associations stored in memory that also influence  our choices

▪ Study: people primed with money-related words were less likely to  then help another person

• Dual-Track Processing: Explicit and Implicit Memories

o So far, we have been talking about explicit/”declarative” memories. These  are facts and experiences that we can consciously know and recall ▪ Our minds acquire this information through effortful processing.  Explicit memories are formed through studying, rehearsing,  

thinking, processing, and then storing information in long-term  

memory

o Some memories are formed without going through all the Atkinson Shiffrin stages. These are implicit memories, the ones we are not fully  aware of and thus don’t “declare”/talk about

▪ These memories are typically formed through automatic  

processing. Implicit memories are formed without our awareness  that we are building a memory, and without rehearsal or other  

processing in working memory

• Implicit Memory

o HM is unable to make new memories that are declarative (explicit), but he  can form new memories that are procedural (implicit).

o HM learned the Tower of Hanoi (game) after his surgery. Each time he  plays it, he is unable to remember the fact that he has already played the  game.  

• Big Issues in Attention

o We are bombarded by more information that we can attend to ▪ Selective attention

▪ Divided attention

▪ Automaticity

o Some tasks can be performed with little, if any, attention

• Automatic Processing  

o Some experiences are processed automatically into implicit memory,  without any effortful/working memory processing:

▪ Procedural memory – such as knowing how to ride a bike, and  well-practiced knowledge such as word meanings

PSYC 1301

Sept 1, 2016

Lecture Notes

▪ Conditioned associations, such as a smell that triggers thought of a  favorite place

▪ Information about space, such as being able to picture where  things are after walking through a room

▪ Information about time, such as retracting a sequence of events if  you lost something

▪ Information about frequency, such as thinking, “I just noticed that  this is the third texting driver I’ve passed today.”

o Automatic vs. Controlled

▪ Automatic

• Fast and efficient

• Unavailable consciousness

• Unavoidable

• Unintentional

▪ Controlled

• Slow and less efficient

• Available to consciousness

• Controllable

• Intentional

• Encoding: Getting Information In

o How we encode

▪ Some information (route to your school) is automatically processed ▪ However, new or unusual information (friend’s new cell-phone  number) requires attention and effort

• Encoding Long-Term Memories  

o Maintenance rehearsal is not effective;

o Elaborative rehearsal is more effective

▪ Encodes information into a form that can be retrieved later

▪ Focuses on the meaning of information to help encode and transfer  it to long-term memory

▪ Relates the information to other information you already know • Encoding: Effortful Processing Strategies

o If we have short-term recall of only 7 letters, but can remember 5 words,  doesn’t that mean we could remember more than 7 letters if we could  group them into words?

▪ This is an example of an effortful processing strategy, a way to  encode information into memory to keep it from decaying and  

make it easier to retrieve

▪ Effortful processing is also known as studying

o Examples:

▪ Chunking, mnemonics, maps, hierarchies/categories, rehearsal,  deep processing, semantic processing, and making information  

personally meaningful

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

Class Info:

Test this Thursday (next class)

• Chapters 1 & 6

• Green 50 item scantrons (bring 2)

• Pencil

• Be on time

• One seat between each person

• Bring your ID

Quiz due Sunday over chapter 2  

Class Notes:

Some experiments can have placebos

E.g. Breast milk vs formula

Encoding: Effortful Processing Strategies  

• Effortful processing strategy – a way to encode information into memory to keep  it from decaying and make it easier to retrieve

• Effortful processing is also known as studying

• Rehearsal

o The more times the nonsense syllables were practiced on Day 1, the fewer  repetitions were required to remember them on day 2

• Memory Effects

o Spacing Effect: We retain information better when we rehearse over time ▪ Professor stresses studying more often over shorter periods of time o Serial position effect: when your recall is better for first and last items on a  list, but poor for middle items

▪ Don’t always start at the beginning of a chapter when studying  

▪ Begin at the middle or different spots

• Rehearsal and Distributed Practice

o Massed Practice – cramming information all at once. It is not time effective

o The spacing effect was first noted by Hermann Ebbinghaus in the late  1800s. You will develop better retention and recall, especially in the long  run, if you use the same amount of study time spread out over many  shorter sessions.

▪ This is like trying to run 10 miles on your first day versus running  several one miles.

▪ When studying we cant study for 10 hours it is better to study for  several individual hours separated by rest.

o This doesn’t mean you have to study every day. Memory researcher Harry  Bahrick noted that the longer the time between study sessions, the better  the long-term retention, and the fewer sessions you need.

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Testing effect – Henry Roediger found that if your distributed practice  includes testing (having to answer questions about the material) you will  learn more and retain more than if you merely reread

• Encoding Meaning

o Processing the meaning of verbal information by association it with what  we already know or imagine. Encoding meaning (semantic encoding)  results in better recognition later than visual or acoustic encoding • Encoding Specificity Principle

o When conditions of retrieval are similar to conditions of encoding,  retrieval is more likely to be successful

▪ Context effects

• Tendency to remember information more easily when the  

retrieval occurs in the same setting in which you originally  

learned the information

• Environmental cues in a particular context are encoded as  

part of the unique memories you form while in that contest

▪ Mood congruence

• Factors related to mood or emotion

o You want to study in the same condition as you will test in (i.e. sober,  fully awake)

• Levels of processing: Craik and Lockhart (1972)

o Incoming information processed at different levels

o Deeper processing = longer lasting memory codes

o Encoding levels

▪ Structural – shallow

▪ Phonemic – intermediate

▪ Semantic – deep

o You have to be consciously aware that you are studying to remember • Making information personally meaningful

o We can memorize a set of instructions more easily if we figure out what  they mean rather than seeing them as set of words

o Memorizing meaningful material takes one tenth the effort of memorizing  nonsense syllables

o Actors memorize lines (and students memorize poems) more easily by  deciding on the feelings and meanings behind the words, so one line flows  naturally to the next

o The self-reference effect, relating material to ourselves, aids encoding and  retention

• What we encode

a. Encoding by meaning  

i. Make it relevant to the self!

b. Encoding by images

i. Think it through

c. Encoding by organization

i. Don’t passively read. Think.  

• Organizing information for encoding

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Break down complex information into broad concepts and further  subdivide them into categories and subcategories

▪ Chunking

▪ Hierarchies

• Chunking

o Organizing items into a familiar, manageable unit.

▪ 1-7-7-7-1-4-9-2-1-8-1-2-1-4-9-1

▪ vs

▪ 1-7-7-6 1-4-9-2 1-8-1-2 1-4-9-1

▪ Easier when you separate this into chunks

• Encoding Long-term memories

o Hints for studying based on encoding strategies

▪ Make sure you understand the new information by restating it in  your own words

▪ Actively question new information

▪ Think about the potential applications and implications of the  material

▪ Relate the new material to information you already know,  

searching for connections that make the new information more  

meaningful

▪ Generate your own examples of the concept, especially examples  from your own experiences

• Memory Storage: Capacity and Location

o The brain is NOT like a hard drive. Memories are NOT in isolated files,  but are in overlapping neutral networks

o The brain’s long-term memory storage does not get full; it gets more  elaborately required and interconnected

o Parts of each memory can be distributed throughout the brain  • Explicit Memory Processing

o Explicit\declarative memories include facts, stories, and meanings of  words such as the first time riding a bike, or facts about types of bicycles o Retrieval and use of explicit memories, which is in part a working  memory or executive function, is directed by the frontal lobes

o Encoding and storage of explicit memories is facilitated by the  hippocampus. Events and facts are held there for a couple of days before  consolidating moving to other parts of the brain for long-term storage.  Much of this consolidation occurs during sleep  

• Brain structures involved in memory

o Prefrontal cortex  

o Hippocampus

o Cerebellum

o Amygdala

o Medial temporal lobe

• Cerebellum – a neural center in the hindbrain that processes implicit memories • Emotions and Memory

o Strong emotions, especially stress, can strengthen memory formation

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Flashbulb memories refer to emotionally intense events that become  “burned in” as a vivid-seeming memory

o Note that flashbulb memories are not as accurate as they feel

• Emotions, stress, Hormones, the amygdala, and memory

o How does intense emotion cause the brain to form intense memories? ▪ Emotions can trigger a rise in stress hormones

▪ These hormones trigger activity in the amygdala, located next to  the memory-forming hippocampus

▪ The amygdala increases memory-forming activity and engages the  frontal lobes and basal ganglia to “tag” the memories as important o As a result, the memories are stored with more sensory and emotional  details

▪ These details can trigger a rapid, unintended recall of the memory ▪ Traumatized people can have intrusive recall that is so vivid that it  feels like re-experiencing the event

o Professor tells story of how one year he was mugged on Halloween o For a year of the professors life he only wore a superman suit • Summary: Types of Memory Processing

• Why do we forget?

o Forgetting can occur at any memory stage. We filter, alter, or lose much  information during these stages.

o One of the most common reasons for forgetting occurs when information  is not encoded initially into long-term memory (encoding failure)

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Failure to remember what needs to be done in the future involves a  prospective memory error

o Decay Theory

▪ When a new memory is formed, it creates a distinct structural or  chemical change in the brain (memory trace)

▪ Memory traces fade away over time as a matter of normal brain  processes

o Challenges

▪ Some research has shown that information can be remembered  decades after it was originally learned

▪ Ebbinghaus theorized that the rate of forgetting decreases over  time

• Storage Decay

o Poor durability of stored memories leads to their decay. Ebbinghaus  showed this with his forgetting curve

• Interference

o Learning some new information may disrupt retrieval of other information • The brain and the two-track mind: the case of Henry Molaison o In 1953, the removal of H.M.’s hippocampus at age 27 ended his seizures,  but also ended his ability to form new explicit memories

o H.M. could learn new skills, procedures, locations of objects, and games,  but had no memory of the lessons or the instructors.  

• Studying brain damage and amnesia

o Retrograde amnesia – refers to the inability to retrieve memory of the past o “H.M.” and “Jimmy” suffered from hippocampus damage and removal  causing anterograde amnesia, an inability to form new long-term  declarative memories

▪ They had no sense that time had passed since the brain damage.  While they were not forming new declarative memories, encoding  was still happening in other processing “tracks”

▪ Jimmy and H.M. could still learn how to get places (automatic processing), could learn new skills (procedural memory), and  

acquire conditioned responses

▪ However, they could not remember any experiences which created  these implicit memories

• Two types of Amnesia

o Retrograde amnesia – refers to an inability to retrieve memory of the past o Anterograde amnesia – refers to an inability to form new long-term  declarative\explicit memories

▪ Retrograde amnesia can be caused by head injury or emotional  trauma and is often temporary

▪ It can also be caused by more severe brain damage; in that case, it  may include anterograde amnesia

▪ H.M. and Jimmy lived with no memories of life after surgery • Why is our memory full of errors?

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

o Memory not only gets forgotten, but it gets constructed (imagined,  selected, changed, and rebuilt)

o Memories are altered every time we “recall” (actually, reconstruct) them.  Then they are altered again when we reconsolidate the memory (using  working memory to send them into long term storage)

o Later information alters earlier memories

o No matter how accurate and video-like our memory seems, it is full of  alterations

• Misinformation and Imagination Effects

o Eyewitnesses reconstructed their memories when questioned about the  event and they could not recall all the correct details

Information you may have missed towards the end of class:

• Implanted Memories

o In one study, students were told a false story that spoiled egg salad had  made them ill in childhood. As a result, many students became [even] less  likely to eat egg salad sandwiches in the future

o In a study by Elizabeth Loftus, people were asked to provide details of a  incident in childhood when they had been lost in a shopping mall – even  through there actually had been no such incident, by trying to picture  details, most people cam to believe that the incident had actually happened o Lessons:

1. By trying to help someone recall a memory, you may implant a  

memory

2. You cant tell how real a memory is by how real it feels

o Simply picturing an event can make it seem like a real memory

o Once we have an inaccurate memory, we tend to add more imagined  details, as perhaps we do for all memories

o Why does this happen? Visualizing and actually seeing an event activate  similar brain areas

• Recovered memories of Past Abuse

o Can people recover memories that are so thoroughly repressed as to be  forgotten?

o Abuse memories are more likely to be “burned in” to memory than  forgotten

o Forgotten memories of minor events do reappear spontaneously, usually  through cues (accidental reminders)

o An active process of searching for such memories, however, is more likely  to create detailed memories that feel real.  

o “False” memories, implanted by leading questions, may not be lies. People  reporting events that didn’t happen usually believe they are telling the  truth  

o Questioners who inadvertently implant memories in others are generally  not trying to create memories to get others in trouble

PSYC 1301

Sept 6, 2016

Lecture Notes

o As a result, unjust false accusations sometimes happen, even if no one  intended to cause the injustice

• Déjà vu  

o Déjà vu means, “I’ve experienced this before.”

o Cues from the current situation may unconsciously trigger retrieval of an  earlier similar experience

• Problems with memory

o Eyewitness testimony

o Weak correlation between witness confidence in their testimony and its  accuracy

▪ Less accurate when

• Observing others of a different race

• Witness has talked to other witnesses

• The observed situation is stressful (e.g. threatening, weapon  

involved)

• Dual Task Performance – Do we multi-task will?

o Divided attention is difficult when:

▪ Tasks are similar

▪ Tasks are difficult

▪ When both tasks require conscious attention

o Divided attention is easier when

▪ When at least one of the tasks does not require conscious attention ▪ Tasks are practiced  

• Improvising Memory  

o Study repeatedly to boost long-term recall

o Spend more time rehearsing or actively thinking about the material o Make material personally meaningful

o Use mnemonic devices:

▪ Associate with peg words – something already stored

▪ Make up a story

▪ Chunk – acronyms

o Activate retrieval cues – mentally recreate the situation and mood o Recall events while they are fresh – before you encounter misinformation o Minimize interference:

▪ Test your own knowledge  

▪ Rehearse and then determine what you do not yet know

Exam Next Class – See Study Guide for Exam 1 for more Information.

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