Who is the president of the United States?
What is today’s date?
What did you have for breakfast?
What does your best friend look like, and what does
your friend’s voice sound like?
What were some of your experiences when you first
How do you tie your shoelaces?
The means by which we retain and draw on our past
experiences to use that information in the present.
As a process, it refers to the dynamic mechanisms
associated with storing, retaining, and retrieving
information about past experience.
Encoding – you transform sensory data into a form of
Storage – you keep encoded information in memory.
Retrieval – you pull out or use information stored in
3 Operations of Memory
Tasks Used for
RECALL VS. RECOGNITION MEMORY
IMPLICIT VS. EXPLICIT MEMORY
You produce a fact, a word, or other item from
ex. Fill-in-the-blank and most essay tests.
Require expressive knowledge, in which you have to
produce an answer.
Ex. “The term for persons who suffer severe memory
impairment is ___________”
You select or otherwise identify an item as being one that you
have been exposed to previously.
Ex. Multiple choice or true or false tests.
Referred to as tapping receptive knowledge. Receptive means
“responsive to stimulus”. You respond to stimuli presented to
you and decide whether you have seen them before or not.
Ex. “The term for people with outstanding memory ability is (1)
amnesics (2) semanticists (3) mnemonists , or (4) retrograders.”
3 Main Types of Recall
You recall items in the exact order in which they were
For example, remember the following list of
comedians in order: Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart,
David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno
Repeat the digits in exact order, 2-8-7-1-6-4
You recall items in any order you choose.
Ex. Repeat the items in the list in any order in which
you can recall them:
Dog, pencil, time, hair, money, restaurant
Read each word aloud at a rate of about one
per second. Cover up each word as you
read, to avoid rereading any items.
Alternatively, you can ask a friend to read
these words aloud to you. After reading or
hearing the words, close the book and try to
recall as many words as you can. Do not be
concerned about the order of recall. You can
write them down in whatever order you like.
Free Recall Test
Brick lamp Truck
goat Stove cabbage
Apple baseball Door
tree Book window
Ladder Rifle pencil
Free Recall Test
You are first shown items in pairs, but during recall you are
cued with only one member of each pair and are asked to
recall each mate.
Also called “paired-associates recall”
For example, you could ask people to learn the following
pairings: Colbert-apple, Stewart-grape, Letterman-
lemon, O’Brien-peach, Leno-Orange, and then ask them
to produce the pairing for Stewart (grape).
Participants engage in conscious recollection.
Ex. They might recall or recognize words, facts, or
pictures from a particular prior set of items.
Ex. “Who wrote Hamlet?”
We use information from memory but are not
consciously aware that we are doing so.
Ex. you can read the word in the photo without
problems although a letter is missing.
Everyday you engage in many tasks that involve
your unconscious recollection of information.
Based on the priming effect
Participants received a word fragment, such as the first
three letters of a word. They then complete it with the first
word that comes to mind. For ex. Imp_ _ _ _ _
Priming is the facilitation of your ability to utilize missing
In general, participants perform better when they have seen
the word on a recently presented list, although they have not
been explicitly instructed to remember words from that list.
Memory for processes
Examples: riding a bike, driving a car
Many of the activities that we do every day fall under
the purview of procedural memory; from brushing
your teeth to writing.
Rotary Pursuit Task
Requires participants to
maintain contact between an
L-shaped stylus and a small
When a new disk or speed is
used, participants do relatively
poorly. But with the same disk
and speed, they do as well as
they had after learning the
task, even if they do not
completing the task.
A plate with the outline of a
shape drawn on it is put
behind a barrier where it
cannot be seen.
With practice, however,
participants become quite
efficient and accurate with
Used to study the impact of
sleep on procedural
Postulates that only one task is needed to measure
both implicit and explicit memory.
The model assumes that implicit and explicit memory
both have a role in virtually every response.
Intelligence and the
Importance of Culture in
Measure skills and knowledge that relate to the
cultural experiences of the test-takers.
The Traditional Model of
Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin (1968) proposed an
alternative model that conceptualized memory in terms of three
2 structures of memory:
Primary memory – holds temporary information
currently in use.
Secondary memory – holds information permanently
or at least for a very long time.
Stores – structures for holding information
Memory – the information stored in the structure
The stores are hypothetical constructs —concepts
that are not themselves directly measurable or
observable but that serve as mental models for
understanding how a psychological phenomenon
This emphasizes the passive storage areas in which
memories are stored; but it also alludes to some
control processes that govern the transfer of
information from one store to another.
The initial repository of much information that
eventually enters the short- and long-term stores.
Capable of storing relatively limited amounts of
information for very brief periods.
ICONIC STORE – a discrete visual sensory register
that holds information for very short periods.
George Sperling (1960) – made the initial discovery
regarding the existence of the iconic store.
He addressed the question of how much information
we can encode in a single, brief glance at a set of
Whole-report procedure – participants report every
symbol they have seen
Partial-report procedure – participants need to report
only part of what they see.
Display from a
Visual-Recall taskH B S T
A H M G
E L W C
These data suggest
that the iconic store can
hold about 9 items.
They also suggest that
information in this store
decays very rapidly.
Averbach and Coriell (1961): iconic memory can be erased.
Backward visual masking –mental erasure of stimulus caused by
the placement of one stimulus where another one had appeared
To summarize, visual information appears to enter our memory
system through an iconic store. Erasure occurs if other
information is superimposed on it before there is sufficient time for
the transfer of the information to another memory store.
Capable of storing information for somewhat longer
periods but of relatively limited capacity as well.
It holds memories for a few seconds and
occasionally up to a couple of minutes.
In general, our immediate (short-term) memory
capacity for a wide range of items appears to be
about seven items, plus or minus two.
An item can be something simple, such as a digit, or
something more complex, such as a word.
10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, 1,000,
If we chunk this string of numbers into larger units,
we probably will be able to reproduce easily the 21
Capable of storing information for very long periods,
perhaps even indefinitely.
Here we keep memories that stay with us over long
periods. We hold in it information we need to get us
by in our day-to-day lives—people’s names, where
we keep things, how we schedule ourselves on
different days, and so on.
Wilder Penfield addressed this question while performing
operations on the brains of conscious patients afflicted with
He used electrical stimulation of various parts of the cerebral
cortex to locate the origins of each patient’s problem.
His work was instrumental in plotting the motor and sensory
areas of the cortex.
He found that patients sometimes would appear to recall
memories from their childhoods.
These data suggested to Penfield that long-term memories
might be permanent.
What is stored in the brain?
Permastore – refers to the very long-term storage of
information, such as knowledge of a foreign language and
Schmidt and colleagues (2000) studied the permastore
effect for names of streets near one’s childhood homes.
Indeed, the author just returned to his childhood home of
more than 40 years ago and perfectly remembered the
names of the nearby streets.
These findings indicate that permastore can occur even for
information that you have passively learned.
Postulates that memory does not comprise three or even
any specific number of separate stores, but rather varies
along a continuous dimension in terms of depth of encoding
(Craik & Lockhart, 1972).
There are theoretically an infinite number of levels of
processing (LOP) at which items can be encoded through
elaboration—or successively deeper understanding of
material to be learned (Craik & Tulving, 1975).
The deeper the level of processing, the higher, in general, is
the probability that an item may be retrieved.
Physical – visually apparent features of the letters.
Phonological – sound combinations associated with
the letters (e.g., rhyming)
Semantic – meaning of the word
Participants show very high levels of recall when
asked to relate words meaningfully to the participants
by determining whether the words describe them.
The highest levels of recall occur with words that
people consider self-descriptive.
Objects can be better remembered, for example, if
they belong to the participant.
Is an organized system of internal cues regarding our
attributes, our personal experiences, and ourselves.
Thus, we can richly and elaborately encode
information related to ourselves much more so than
information about other topics.
Two other variables may be of more importance: the way
people process (elaborate) the encoding of an item (e.g.,
phonological or semantic), and the way the item is
retrieved later on.
Two kinds of strategies for elaborating the encoding:
Within-item elaboration – it elaborates encoding of the
particular item in terms of its characteristics, including the
various levels of processing.
Between-item elaboration – it elaborates encoding by
relating each item’s features to the features of items already
An Integrative Model:
Most widely used and accepted model today
Baddeley, 2007, 2009
Holds only the most recently activated, or conscious,
portion of long-term memory, and it moves these
activated elements into and out of brief, temporary
memory storage (Dosher, 2003).
The Components of
The Central Executive
Subsidiary Slave Systems
Briefly holds inner speech for verbal comprehension
and for acoustic rehearsal.
We use the phonological loop for a number of
everyday tasks, including sounding out new and
difficult words and solving word problems.
2 critical components:
Phonological storage – holds information in memory
Subvocal rehearsal – used to put the information into
memory in the first place.
2. Phonological Loop
Ex. Tree, pencil, marshmallow, lamp, sunglasses,
computer, chocolate, noise, clock, snow, river,
When subvocal rehearsal is inhibited, the new
information is not stored. This phenomenon is called
Articulatory suppression is more pronounced when
the information is presented visually versus aurally
(e.g., by hearing).
Thus, we can remember fewer long words compared
with short words. Without this loop, acoustic
information decays after about 2 seconds.
Both coordinates attentional activities and governs
Critical to working memory because it is the gating
mechanism that decides what information to process
further and how to process this information.
It decides what resources to allocate to memory and
related tasks, and how to allocate them.
Involved in higher-order reasoning and comprehension
and is central to human intelligence.
3. Central Executive
Perform other cognitive or perceptual tasks.
4. Subsidiary Slave Systems
A limited-capacity system that is capable of binding
information from the visuospatial sketchpad and the
phonological loop as well as from long-term memory into
a unitary episodic representation.
Integrates information from different parts of working
memory—that is, visual-spatial and phonological—so that
they make sense to us.
This incorporation allows us to solve problems and re-
evaluate previous experiences with more recent
5. Episodic Buffer
Phonological loop – left
hemisphere of the lateral
frontal and inferior parietal
lobes as well as the
Visuospatial sketchpad –
(shorter intervals) occipital
and right frontal lobes,
(longer intervals) parietal
and left frontal lobes.
Central executive – frontal
Episodic buffer – bilateral
activation of the frontal
lobes and portions of the
temporal lobes, including
the left hippocampus.
Tasks to Assess Working Memory
Task: old or new?
Correct answer: new
Task (a) retention-delay
Task: old or new?
Correct answer: new
Task (b) temporally ordered
working memory load task
Task: which is most recent?
Correct answer: 7
Task (c) temporal order
Task: find and repeat n-
Task (d) n-back task
Task: reproduce in correct
Also referred to as a digit-
Task (e) temporally ordered
working memory load task
Digit Span Test
Cover the digit sets
given with a piece of
paper and then uncover
one set at a time. Read
the set quickly, look
away, and then try to
recall it correctly by
writing the numbers in
the correct order on
another sheet of paper.
Task: reproduce final items
in correct order
Task (f) temporally ordered
working memory load task
Intelligence and Working
Is (3 x 5) – 6 = 7? TABLE
Recall was highly correlated with verbal
Endel Tulving (1972)
SEMANTIC MEMORY – stores general world
knowledge. It is our memory for facts that are not
unique to us and that are not recalled in any paricular
EPISODIC MEMORY – stores personally
experienced events or episodes.
2 kinds of Explicit Memory
Hemispheric encoding/retrieval asymmetry
Attempts to account for differences in hemispheric
activation for semantic versus episodic memories.
According to this model, there is greater activation in the
left than in the right prefrontal hemisphere for tasks
requiring retrieval from semantic memory. In contrast,
there is more activation in the right than in the left
prefrontal hemisphere for episodic-retrieval tasks.
Parallel distributed processing model
The key to knowledge representation lies in the
connections among various nodes, or elements,
stored in memory, not in each individual node.
Consists of many different nodes. Unlike in semantic
networks, it is not a single node that has a specific meaning,
but rather the knowledge is represented in a combination of
differently activated nodes.
This integrated view suggests that part of the reason we
humans are as efficient as we are processing information is
that we can handle many operations at once.
Effectively explains priming effects, skill learning (procedural
memory), and several other phenomena of memory.
See page 213
Is the resulting activation of the node.
Prime – a node that activates a connected node.
Ex. Remembering going to a Chinese restaurant: when and
where we ate and whom we were with (episodic), nature of
the food we ate (semantic), the skills we learned such as
eating with chopsticks (procedural), and the embarrassment
we felt when we spilled the tea (emotional).
Mnemonist – someone who demonstrates
extraordinarily keen memory ability, usually
based on using special techniques for memory
Experience of sensations in a sensory modality
different from the sense that has been
A process of producing retrieval of memories
that would seem to have been forgotten.
Sometimes loosely referred to as,
Unusual power or enhancement of memory,
typically under abnormal conditions such as
trauma, hypnosis, or narcosis.
Individuals lose their purposeful memory for
events prior to whatever trauma induces
The inability to remember events that occur
after a traumatic event.
The inability to recall events that happened
when we were very young.
A disease of older adults that causes dementia as
well as progressive memory loss.
First identified by Alois Alzheimer in 1907.
Dementia – loss of intellectual function that is severe
enough to impair one’s everyday life.
Atrophy – decrease in size of the brain; especially in the
hippocampus and frontal and temporal brain regions.
The brains of people with the disease show plaques and
tangles that are not found in normal brains.
Plaques – dense protein deposits found outside the nerve
cells of the brain.
Tangles – pairs of filaments that become twisted around
The symptoms are of gradual onset, and the progression
is continuous and irreversible.
Donepezil (Aricept) – may slightly slow progression of the
disease but that it cannot reverse it; slows destruction of
the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain.
Memantine (Namenda or Ebixa) – inhibits a chemical that
overexcites the brain cells and leads to cell damage and
The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease increases
exponentially with age. About 1% of people between 70-75
years of age experience an onset of Alzheimer’s. But
between ages 80-85, the incidence is more than 6% a year.
Early-onset, linked to genetic mutation, before even 50
years of age and sometimes as early as the 20s.
Frontal lobe – store semantic and episodic memories.
Motor cortex – procedural memories
Prefrontal cortex – short-term memories
Temporal lobe – formation and storage of long-term
semantic and episodic memories and contributes to the
processing of new material in short-term memory
Amygdala – vital to the formation of new emotional
Hippocampus – plays a pivotal role in the formation of new
long-term semantic and episodic memories.
Cerebellum – plays an important role in the storage of
The biological basis of
1. Describe two characteristics each of sensory memory,
short-term memory, and long-term memory.
2. Compare and contrast the three-store model of memory
with one of the alternative models of memory.
3. Imagine what it would be like to recover from one of the
forms of amnesia. Describe your impressions of and
reactions to your newly recovered memory abilities.
4. How would your life be different if you could greatly
enhance your own mnemonic skills in some way?
1. What is rehearsal?
2. Name three mnemonic devices.
3. How do we retrieve data from short-term memory?
4. Name and define two types of interference.
5. What is the recency effect?
6. What is the difference between interference and
7. What is autobiographical memory?
8. What are repressed memories?
Kellogg, R. T., (2007). Fundamentals of Cognitive
Psychology. SAGE Publications
Sternberg, R.J., Sternberg, K., and Mio, J. (2012).
Cognitive Psychology, 6th edition. Cengage Learning.