Memory: A brief introduction


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A talk on Memory given by Dr Hamid Sohrabi at the McCusker Alzheimer Research Foundation's public lecture in Perth, Western Australia on 4th May 2011

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Memory: A brief introduction

  1. 1. Memory:A brief introduction Dr Hamid R Sohrabi 4th May 2011
  2. 2. IntroductionMemory research questions:► How do memories form?► What are the bio-psychological processes involved?► How do we forget and what causes forgetfulness?► Can we improve our memory?
  3. 3. MemoryInformation processing conceives of memory as involving three stages:A: How sensory stimulus is acquired: ► EncodingB: How information is restored: ► StorageC: How information is retrieved: ► Retrieval
  4. 4. Memory Three types of memory:A) Sensory registration B) Short-term memory or working memory C) Long-term memory
  5. 5. Information-Processing Model of Memory Attention Rehearsal Sensory Short-term Long-termStimulus Registery memory memory Forgetting Forgetting Forgetting
  6. 6. George Sperling’s Sensory RegisterySperling, G. (1960). Psychological Monographs 74: 1-29.
  7. 7. Sensory Registery► Format: verbatim representation of stimulus;► Capacity: “Not very Large” (~12 items);► Duration: 25ms to 5 seconds.
  8. 8. Sensory Memory
  9. 9. How many letters can you remember?
  10. 10. Short- Term versus Long-Term MemoryShort-term memory:► Limited number of items = 7+/-2► Limited time span (~30 seconds)► Fragility of storage
  11. 11. Short term memoryTry to remember these numbers: 814923786327
  12. 12. Short term memoryChunking boosts our short term memory: 814923786327 814 923 786 327
  13. 13. Short term Memory►Short-term memory is too simplistic;►It is not a passive storage;►It actively processes the information! Baddeley & Hitch, 1974
  14. 14. Working Memory Baddeley & Hitch’s model Central Executive ‘Attentional-executive system’Articulatory Loop Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad ‘inner voice’ ‘inner eye’ Primary Acoustic Store ‘inner ear’
  15. 15. Long-term memory►Is also called Reference Memory►Extremely large capacity (you may recognise 50,000 words!)►Long time span (years, decades)
  16. 16. MemoryFactors influencing our memory:►Age►Health (physical injuries or diseases- e.g. Head injury, stroke, blood pressure etc.)►Psychological factors (attention, personality, negative attitudes, anxiety, depression, self- perceptions etc.)►Lifestyle (cognitive and physical exercise, diet, workload etc.)►Context : External and internal cues
  17. 17. Ageing and Memory► There is age-related decline in some cognitive functions!► No significant difference between young and older adults for immediate & delayed recall.► Older adults do not forget more quickly, they need more time to learn. (Albert, 2002, Ann Neurol., 51:p. 282)► Speed of information processing! (Salthouse, 1996, Psych. Rev.,403--28) Rev.,403► In normal ageing working memory declines faster than short or long term memory!► Individual differences.
  18. 18. American Psychological Association (APA)Causes of memory failures in normal aging: • Anxiety • Dehydration • Depression • Infections • Medication side effects • Poor nutrition • Psychological stress • Substance abuse • Thyroid imbalance
  19. 19. AttentionEmotion
  20. 20. APA Memory Aids• Keep “to do” lists• Establish a routine• Everything in its place• Use associations• Keep a calendar• Socialize• Get moving• Train your brain• Don’t buy into ageist stereotypes• Avoid distractions• Keep a sense of control and confidence in your memory
  21. 21. Thanks for Listening