Not been able to remember a fact or event because the memory trace is unavailable or inaccessible.
Failure at any of these 3 stages can lead to forgetting. All 3 processes depend upon one another; they are interdependent . Memory involves three main Processes: ENCODING STORAGE RETRIEVAL The process of changing sensory input into a memory trace so that it can be stored. The process of maintaining a record of the memory trace so that it can be retrieved in the future. The process of accessing and recovering stored information so that it can be recalled.
Participants did not initially know that it was a memory test and thought they just had to answer questions on a list of words. In reality, different types of questions were making participants use different levels of processing structural, phonetic and semantic.
Words were presented to participants; each word was followed by a question which required a yes or no answer. Finally, participants were presented with the incidental memory test- incidental as they didn ’ t originally know they were going to do it.
Recall was measured through a recognition task where participants had to choose as many of the original words as they could amongst several others.
Is the word in capital letters? C hair Does this word rhyme with GREEN? BEAN Does the word fit this sentence? ‘The soldier picked up his _____.’ rifle Is this word in lower-case letters? FLOWER Does the word fit this sentence? ‘The woman _________ on the train.’ slept Does the word rhyme with MEND? pool Is the word in capital letters? MEANING Does the word fit this sentence? ‘Yesterday we saw a _______.’ fence Does the word rhyme with HOUSE? MOUSE Does the word fit into this sentence? ‘There are _______ growing in my garden.’ DOORS Is the word in lower-case letters? spend Does the word rhyme with TABLE? GENERAL Is this word in capital letters? article Does this word fit this sentence? ‘The _____ should not be more than 1000 words.’ castle Does this word rhyme with STOOL? POND
G : Problems as participants were all students (good memories?) and the task was artificial and not representative of things we remember.
R : As it is a lab experiment we can replicate the experiment easily to check the reliability of the study.
A : Shows that students (or anyone wanting to remember something) must attach meaning to it. When things are processed semantically we remember them better. Could develop revision techniques.
V : Artificial task so might not be measuring how we actually remember words. However, Pps. didn’t know it was a test of memory that removes some confounding variables. Poor population validity – all students.
E : Participants could have been embarrassed if they didn’t do well.
Trace-decay theory can be used to explain forgetting from either STM or LTM. It proposes that forgetting occurs due to information not being available so there is nothing to retrieve thus recall cannot occur.
This theory is based on the idea that information creates a neurological (physical) trace in the brain when it is encoded which disappears over time. Without the rehearsal of information, engrams decay over time thus the memory disappears and forgetting occurs.
Forgetting therefore occurs from STM due to the stores limited duration if maintenance rehearsal does not take place. Equally, despite having a potential life-time duration, it has been suggested that if knowledge and skills in LTM are not practiced, then the engram will decay causing a structural change in LTM thus forgetting.
A study conducted by Peterson and Peterson (1959) supports the idea of trace decay in STM. They found that the number of trigrams recalled by participants decreased as the length of distraction task increased. This finding suggests that forgetting in STM is due to trace decay since the distraction task prevented rehearsal- the function of which is to replenish the trace before it decays completely.
This theory is also supported by physiological evidence showing that memories do create a physical trace in the brain.
The theory also has mundane realism as it is consistent with the forgetting demonstrated by people with Alzheimer ’ s disease who seem to lose memories (a physical process) rather than be unable to retrieve them. This suggests that trace decay may be a valid theory of forgetting.
X Furthermore, Jenkins & Dallenbach (1924) tested whether time between encoding and recall led to forgetting. They found that participants who remained awake between learning and recall forgot more than those who slept. This suggests that interference rather than trace-decay causes forgetting as the lower recall in the awake group must have resulted from events between learning and recall interfering with the engram.
X Another limitation of trace-decay theory is that it cannot explain why some long-term memory engram ’ s, such as flashbulb memories, seem to be resistant to decay.
X Trace decay also has difficulty explaining why material which cannot be remembered at one time can be remembered at a future time, even though no additional presentations have been made. If the trace has decayed it should never be available.
Aim : The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of environmental encoding cues on the ability to recall.
Procedure : The 18 participants were randomly divided into four groups and all participants took part in all 4 conditions (repeated measured design). Participants were to learn list comprised of 36 unrelated words, 2-3 syllables long then recall in either the same or different context. During the experiment each participant undertook one condition per day: dry-dry; dry-wet; wet-wet; wet-dry.
Conclusion: Godden and Baddeley concluded that their results do support the claims of cue-dependency theory.
G : Only trained SCUBA divers were used therefore it may not apply to all people. The environment and the tasks were artificial – learning does not usually take place like that.
R : The experiment can be replicated to test the reliability of the results. We could replicate in more ecologically valid situations (classroom vs. exam hall).
A : We can apply the findings to students learning in one environment and recalling in another. Better to sit exams in a classroom not hall.
V : Word list was artificial – not real learning. Poor population validity.
E : No ethical issues were broken. Not an issue.
Key Issue: EWT & Memory Reconstructive Hypothesis Loftus & Palmer Our perception of the event.
How does it help us explain the issues with eyewitness testimony? Multi-Store Model Atkinson & Shiffrin Information is only passed into the STM from the SM is we attend to it. If we are not attending to an event in the environment information about it will decay from the SM and will not be processed further (encoded) – no memory. Levels of Processing Craik and Lockheart We remember things well when they have been deeply processed, that is anaylsyed for meaning rather than for structural or phonetic information. Most questions following an event usually refer to apperance (structural processing). Cue-dependency Tulvin Research has shown that both our internal state and our surroundings when we store a new memory serve as memory cues. If these cues are not present at recall we will be unable to recall the event accurately. Reconstructive Memory Loftus & Palmer The active process of reconstruction takes place as we retrieve memories. We tend to include post-event information when reconstruct memories. Therefore, memories can be easily distorted by using leading questions.
The Cognitive Interview Fisher & Geiselman (1992)
The four main techniques that the CIT uses to aid retrieval are:
Recreating the context: It is well established that memory is context dependent and so asking a witness to think about how they were feeling just before and during the event to be recalled, perhaps evoking the sounds and smells relating to the event, should facilitate retrieval.
Focused concentration: Persuading the witness to concentrate very hard on the task.
Multiple retrieval attempts: Encouraging a witness who feels they have recalled everything about an event to have another attempt can unlock previously un-recovered detail.
Varied retrieval: Witnesses will often recall events in chronological order but if they are asked to recall details in a different order, or from a different perspective, this may trigger additional information.
We have no control over the independent variable – it ’s ‘naturally’ occurring (eg Gender)
Experiments Independent Variable (IV) Dependent Variable (DV) Confounding Variable : a variable that effects the DV Extraneous Variable : a variable that could affect the DV but has been controlled for so it doesn ’t.
Matched Pairs – make two groups of participants as similar as possible.
Condition 1 Condition 2 Male 21 IQ = 105 Male 21 IQ = 105 Female 25 IQ = 115 Female 25 IQ = 115
Evaluation of Experimental Designs. Strength Weakness Independent Measures No Order Effects Fewer Demand Characteristics Individual Differences Repeated Measures No Individual Differences Order Effects (counter balancing) Matched Pairs Controls for Individual Differences Can be difficult and costly.
Experiments – Hypotheses Participants memory will be much worse when there is a distraction in the room than when there is no distraction. Participants memory will be much worse when there is a distraction in the room than when there is no distraction. How are we measuring memory? What ’s better or worse? Higher / Lower? More / Less? What is the distraction? How are we manipulating it? Operationalising your hypothesis How have you manipulated your IV? How have you measured your DV?
Experiments – Hypotheses Participants memory will be much worse when there is a distraction in the room than when there is no distraction. Participants will remember significantly more words from a list of 20 presented for 60 seconds when they are in a room with no distractions than participants who are in a room where rock music is playing in the background.
Experiments – Hypotheses Participants who [ do something ] will be significantly [ faster/better/quicker etc ] at [ something ] than participants who [ do something else ]. There will be no significant difference between participants who [ do something ] and those who [ do something else ]. Any difference will be down to chance. Alternate Null
Experiments – Hypotheses Participants who [ do something ] will be significantly [ faster/better/quicker etc ] at [ something ] than participants who [ do something else ]. There will be a significant difference between participants who [ do something ] and those who [ do something else ]. 1Tailed 2Tailed
Data which are ranked or in order (1 st 2 nd 3 rd )
Interval - measure of central tendency: mean
Precise and measured using units of equal intervals (1m54s, 1m59s, 2m03s)
Measure of dispersion = range (Highest – Lowest)
Measure of central tendency = average
Strength Weakness Mean Makes use of all the values in a data set. Not good for ordinal or nominal data. Can be distorted by extreme values. Median Unaffected by extreme values. Not good for nominal data. Ignores extreme outliers. Mode Can be used with any data type. Isn ’t useful for small data sets.
This may involve an element of moral strain as the participants own moral code conflicts with the behaviour that they find themselves enacting.
The individual feels responsible for the consequences of his or her behaviour and that his behaviour is under his or her own free will.
Milgram coined the term ‘ agentic state ’ to explain the obedience seen in his famous experiments; the individual acted purely as agent, or on behalf of the authority figure, ‘ the experimenter ’ , and absolved himself of his moral responsibility to protect the learner.
One strength of this theory is that is supported by a fairly reliable raft of research evidence including the findings of Milgram’s own obedience studies.
A further strength of this theory is that it has been applied in the real world and used to help people to resist destructive obedience in the face of potentially malevolent authority figures.
The theory could be said to be unfalsifiable meaning that it is difficult for the findings of cross cultural research to prove the theory wrong.
The theory does not effectively explain why some people find it easier to resist obedience than others. For example 35% of the original sample of 40 men refused to continue at 300 volts and agency theory has little to say about the shift back to the autonomous state.
Aim: Milgram conducted a variation on his baseline study to see if obedience had been affected by the location the study had been conducted in (Yale University).
Procedure: Milgram manipulated the environmental setting in which the experiment took place, moving the experiment from Yale University to an inner city run down office block. Milgram kept all other aspects of the procedure constant with the baseline study so that he could make comparisons.
Results: 47.5% of participants delivered the full 450 volt shock when the study was conducted in a run down office block.
Conclusion: Being in less prestigious location decreases obedience in relation to the original study although the setting seems to have the least effect out of all variables on the level of obedience.
A: To test the reliability & validity of Milgram’s research .
P: A laboratory experiment with independent measures was used to test 39 Dutch male and female Pps aged 18-55 to see how obedient they were when asked to administer psychological harm in the form of 15 increasingly insulting remarks to a confederate/stranger who is applying for a job at a university.
R: 22/24 Pps were fully obedient and delivered all 15 insults (92%).
C: high levels of obedience are to be expected even 20 years after the original Milgram’s original study and that obedience in Holland is in fact higher than it was in the US in the 60s.
G: questionable as they used a self selected sample.
R: supports other studies and has support itself.
A: particularly useful as they demonstrate that Milgram’s findings are not culture or era bound
V: high since the majority of participants said in follow up questionnaires that they did believe they were causing psychological distress.
E: highly questionable since the majority of participants said they did not enjoy delivering the insults and would have preferred not to have done so
Aim: This study on obedience examined how nurses complied with orders of medical doctors, even if they broke rules of the hospital.
Procedure : In this study, a medical doctor who was on the staff list, but not known personally to a nurse, called a nurse when she was alone in her ward in the evening telling her to administer ‘ Astroten ‘ to a patient. The max dose should be 10mg but the Dr. instructed her to adminiser 20mg. By giving the Astroten, a nurse would violate several rules of the hospital .
Results : Twenty-one o f 22 nurses – or 95% – complied with the order of Doctor Smith and began with the administration of the medication, until the observing doctor interrupted them.
Other nurses were given a detailed description of the experimental situation and asekd whether they would have given the medication.
Ten of 12 respondents – or 95% – sa id that they they would not have given the medication, and seven sa id that they believed a majority would reject to give medication.
Of 21 student nurses, all said that they would not have given the medication.
Conclusion : This suggests that in a real world situation people will be obedient even if this creates a moral strain. It also suggests that participant self-reports about their behaviour is not a valid measure.
Categorisation – seeing oneself as part of a group (your in-group)
Exaggeration of similarities and differences between the in-group and out-group
Social Comparison – people start to see their in-group as superior
Following social categorisation, social comparison occurs.
Relative status is determined.
Membership / Identification - you take on the norms of the group
Social group membership effects our self-concept and self-esteem.
Social Identity Theory Tajfel & Turner (1979) AL2: Activate
Social Identity Theory AO2 Tajfel & Turner (1979)
There are many other studies which support Tajfel & Turner ’ s SIT and suggest that in-group favouritism is a cause of prejudice and discrimination.
The theory has lots of practical applications. There are many examples of in-group / out-group conflicts in society which can be understood using SIT.
There are other theories which suggest SIT is overly simplistic. Realistic Conflict Theory states rather than just the formation of groups leading to conflict, it is the competition towards a shared goal that causes prejudice. Only when there is a shared goal will we see prejudice.
There are many other factors that could lead to prejudice and SIT ignores these.
To provide data on the unfolding interactions between groups of unequal power and privilege.
To analyse the conditions that lead individuals to:
Identify with their group;
Accept or challenge intergroup inequalities.
The examine the role of social, organisational and clinical (mood) factors in group behaviour.
To develop practical and ethical guidelines for examining social psychological issues in large-scale studies.
For ethical reasons only people who were well-adjusted and pro-social , scoring at low levels on all social and clinical measures were included in the study. From an initial pool of 332 applicants the researchers reduced the sample to 27 men. Men were chosen so that the results could be compared with the SPE and because it was thought by the researchers to cause less ethical problems than using women. The final sample of 15 was chosen to ensure diversity of age, social class, and ethnic background .
15 Males 3 matched participants 2 prisoners 1 Guard 3 matched participants 2 prisoners 1 Guard 3 matched participants 2 prisoners 1 Guard 3 matched participants 2 prisoners 1 Guard 3 matched participants 2 prisoners 1 Guard One prisoner was not involved at the beginning of filming and was introduced later on in the experiment. 15 males, first divided into five matched groups of three on traits such as racism, authoritarianism and social dominance.
Reicher and Haslam had three interventions (IVs) that they manipulated throughout the experiment to investigate the effects of the group dynamics.
Legitimacy - refers to the extent to which relations and status differences between groups are perceived to be justified or not.
This was going to be operationalised by telling the participants that they were all equal after they initially thought that the guards were superior on tests prior to the experiment. This wasn’t required.
Permeability - refers to the degree to which it is perceived to be possible to move from one particular group into another.
This was operationalised by allowing one of the prisoners to be ‘promoted’ to guard after day 3.
Cognitive alternatives - refers to group members' awareness of ways in which social relations could be restructured in order to bring about social change.
This was operationalised by introducing the ‘Union Representative’ as the 11 th prisoner following the promotion.
Reicher and Haslam argue that unlike the prisoners, the guards failed to identify with their role. This made the guards reluctant to impose their authority and they were eventually overcome by the prisoners.
Participants then established an egalitarian social system. When this proved unsustainable, moves to impose a tyrannical regime met with weakening resistance.
They suggest that it is powerlessness and the failure of groups that makes tyranny psychologically acceptable.
Social Desirability : answering in a way you think you should do as a result of people or assumptions about those around you.
Response Rates : who will respond? Why?
Poor Questions : leading questions / ambiguous questions.
Reliability – how consistent are the findings?
Validity – does the question measure what is claims to measure?
Reliability and Validity in Self-Reports / Survey Method Improve Check Reliability Closed Questions (less ambiguous) Split-Half Method or Replicate Validity Open Questions (no interpretation needed) Conduct an Observation