Memory: A Very Short Introduction

Jonathan K. Foster, Oxford University Press 2009
  1. You are your memory
  2. Mapping memories
  3. Pulling the rabbit out of the hat
  4. Inaccuracies in memory
  5. Memory impairment
  6. Seven ages of man
  7. Improving memory
Notable people: Ebbinghaus, Frederick Bartlet, William James, cognitive neuroscientist Michel Gazzaniga, B.F. Skinner, Atkinson and Shiffrin, Alan Baddeley, Graham Hitch, Larry Jacoby, Foster and Jelicic, Endel Tulving, Gardiner, Java, experimental psychologists Fergus Craik and Bob Lockhart, novelist Marcel Proust, Marcica Johnson, Elizabeth Loftus and Palmer, Roediger and McDermott, Dan Schacter, Lewandowsky, Landauer and Bjork, Bahrick and Phelps, Gruneberg,

Semantic memory - is generally and implicitly applied and not specifically remembered.
Episodic memory - is re-callable to a specific point in time.
Contemporary theorist - one who develops modern thinking methods based on past models.
Constructivist approach to memory - combination of past and self make the memory.
Inferential statistics - a belief derived from a subsample applied to the whole.
Sensory memory - unconscious, sub-second, raw information from senses, quickly lost.
Iconic memory - pre-categorical two component(visual and neural persistence) sub-second visual memory.
Echoic memory - 1-3 second auditory memory, primitive aspects like pitch(required for localisation, because of sound waves entering the ear at two different times).
Haptic memory - ~2 second cutaneous and kinesthetic, for skin and muscle.
Short term memory - memories in attention, passive and will decay quickly.
Recency effect - immediate recall is better at most recent stimuli(will fade within 15 sec)
Long term memory - almost unlimited memory? storing meaning, lots of biases
Multi-store model(Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968) - sensory >> short-term (rehearsal loop)<transfer/retrieval> long-term. But this model is challenged by clinical cases(and biological studies) of impaired capacities which still store, and other conflicting.
Working memory - active short term, consciously aware and can perform operations on the memory.
Phonological loop - brief store for verbal info with a rehearsal mechanism.
Visuo-spatial sketchpad - mental virtual environment for simulation, visualization, recall, calculation.
Episodic buffer - coordinates with central executive and and long term to add temporality and consciousness.
Working memory model(Baddeley and Hitch, 2000) - central executive and 3 subsystem(phonological loop, episodic buffer, visuo-spatial sketchpad) (see Personal Note 2)
Articulatory suppression - mental or aloud verbal sounding of a word or sound.
Memory span - the number of elements of a certain type that one can remember and reproduce.
Word length effect - short syllabled words are easier to remember than longer ones.
Procedural memory - performing a sequence of operations(may be independent of conscious accessibility(see Personal Note 3)) Parkinson's disease can affect it, leading to believe that it is comprised of several different subsystems.
Explicit memory - conscious awareness at the time of remembering of the information, experience, situation
Implicit memory - an influence on behaviour, feelings, thoughts as a result of prior experience, without conscious recollection of the original events.
Mere exposure effect - developing a liking for something just due to it familiarity.
Memory tasks - use of different functional processes to accomplish the task.
Concept driven tasks - thinking about meaning and concepts.
Data driven tasks - focus on presented materials to derive meaning/find patterns.
Levels of Processing(Craik and Lockhart) - how well we remember is a function of how well we process the information{physical >> phonological >> semantic encoding(best remembered)}
Encoding specificity principle - context/classification of encoded info influences how well we can retrieve it.
Recall - bring information to mind via a cue, triggering the recall.
Free recall - non specific cues.
Cued recall - directed cue to extract specific material.
Recognition - our ability to identify past event or info when re-presented.
Context retrieval - using explicit recollection of time and place to recall or recognize.
Familiarity - less detailed form of recognition where time, place or what is not explicitly understood.
State-dependent memory - and forgetting, consistent only in free recall, else subject to influence.
Transfer appropriate processing - type of state dependent memory where performance is not only measured in depth of processing, but also with the relationship of encoding and retrieval.
Flashbulb memories - highly arousing situations, well established, and well connected to sensory information present at that time.
Reminiscence bump - memory is disproportionately more stronger for the period of adolescence and early adulthood.
Effort after meaning - upon recall, reports were generally accurate but had insertions, deletions, and modifications to make it more sensible to their personal schema.
Source monitoring - successfully attributing the origin/source of our memories.
Source amnesia/misattribution - a problem with source monitoring where the memory is contaminated by another source at the time of initial encoding.
Change blindness - inaccurate processing of two people changing places.
Misinformation effect - direct and indirect memory manipulation via misleading information/questions, through emotional investment, personal perspective, misleading memory cues.
Amnesic syndrome - memory impairment due to brain injury, usually either retrograde(forgetting past) or anterograde(forgetting future) from the time of injury.
Brain fractionation - spiting of function after injury to preserve greater function.
Total time hypothesis - relationship between time spent learning and the amount of information stored.
Spaced retrieval - distribute learning trial across gradually extending periods of time, right before recall is too difficult.
Errorless Learning - new is initially tested after a short delay, practice interval is increased.
Self recall - remember something yourself strengthens the memory.
Focused attention - improves working memory.
Multi media coding - mental maps, verbal, visual, mnemonic techniques.
Meaning of content - personal processing as we impose own meaning, and elaborate, mentally linking to more general knowledge.
Motivation - will influence the time spent attentive.
Complex mutual reinforcement - relationship between attention, interest, motivation, expertise and memory, as a feed-forward cycle to learning more efficiently.
Maintenance rehearsal - repetition aloud or in the mind, not effective for long term.
Elaborative rehearsal - meaning is considered by participants and is elaborated upon.
Mnemonic - organizing information using codes, visual imagery, rhymes for stronger encoding.
Method of loci - associating a well known place with things to remember, a virtual trip around the place will bring back the objects.
Pegword system - phonetic mnemonics in the construction of pegwords associated to numbers(or whatever) then associated with your intended item.
Linkword system - foreign words are associated with cues from their phonetic sound in the primary language.
Verbal mnemonics - Richard of York gave battle in vain or ROYGBIV(reduction code) - colours of the rainbow.
Meta-memory - the understanding of the accuracy of ones memory.
Dissociative state - partly or wholly separated from memories due to traumatic experience.

Memory is a key psychological process.
Little time is spent trying to 'record events for later remembering,' in contrast to operational day to day thinking and memory manipulation.
Memory can be strongly encoded during critical, and noticeably different environments and events. The intention to encode is minor to whether or not it occurs. Past events influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and retrieval may occur counter to our intentions; post-traumatic memories.
Memory models of encoding, storage and retrieval has persisted in scientific investigations.
Contemporary theorists appreciate that memory is a selective and interpretive process, ripe for integration associations.
Threat or reward, actual or perceived trigger cognitive and brain mechanisms to help us better remember.
The rate of forgetting is logarithmic, not linear.
Residual traces of the memory allow for forgotten ones to be learned faster.
We reconstruct a memory based on our existing presuppositions(assumptions), expectations, and memory set and also influenced by our emotions, motivations, and interests; thus the same presentation can lead to two different accounts(social factors can lead to different).
Ebbinghaus vs Bartlet is memory for formal setting vs real world.
The mind imaginatively reconstructs memory during recall based on episodic and semantic memory.
Modern memory studies study the same things as the past, but with inferential statistical techniques(see Personal Note 1)
It's hard to directly measure memory directly because we are measuring the change, which is influenced by a concert of internal and external factors.
Now, research uses two groups that are similar in terms of age, education, intelligence and uses the time domain as the differentiation. One group will be manipulated by X, while the other by Y.
Any memory system needs to be able to encode, store, retrieve info effectively.
No such thing as good or bad memory, but rather a distinction between long and short term.
Encoding problems are due to poor attention, storage is with forgetting, and retrieval with availability and accessibility. All must be working correctly for effective memory.
Well established empirical evidence about memory often contradicts common sense.
Verbal short term are stored in an acoustic/phonological form, even when presented visually(like sounding letters are harder to remember).
Phonological loop is time limited, multilingual learners highly digit memory span correlate with speed of dictation.
Concurrent spatial tasks interfere with each other with respect to short term memory capacity.
Central executive is hampered by letter sequence generation tasks, while doing important tasks.
Episodic is important for combining and creating novel scenarios for future actions to be based on.
Whether semantic and episodic memory are separate memory systems is uncertain.
Priming works with implicit memory, and links to mere exposure effect.
Semantic understanding leads to a remembering, than does acoustic processing but knowing does not differ between semantic and acoustic conditions.
There is a lot of data supporting the levels of processing model, and can even show a 50% performance increase from initial processing. Depth can now be measured by physiological and neurological methods. The framework emphasizes that we active agents, thus our process of engagement, and the properties of the the thing/event play a role in its depth and strength.
Behaviour/mental state may be influenced by the message of the song, unconsciously.
Cues may introduce distortion and bias.
Deja vu is the occurrence of misplaced familiarity.
Recall can be quite susceptible to the effects context, but recognition less so.
Different psychoactive states lead to unusual encoding or retrieval strategies than sober.
Some believe that behaviours of memory inference exist along a continuum, but that is not so. Recall does not equate to correct recognition, and other factors such as word frequency may directly manipulate the encoding process.
Study situations activating the original event will succeed in enforcing encoding.
Recollection requires cues that target aspects of the information in the original encoding.
Forgetting can be conceptualized with two views, passive and active. Passive where the information fades with time, and active where memory traces are disrupted, obscured/overlaid by other memories(I like this one better because it makes more sense with regards brain activation).
Generally experiences tend to interact with our memories, resulting as a interrelated memory. This is helpful for semantic learning building on old. Strength of the connecting memories might be at the cost of accuracy due to the confusion from similarity.
Experts have the advantage to perceive knowledge as part of an organized whole.
Meaningful organization of information during learning can lead to enhanced memory performance, both for learning and recall.
Providing meaningful context improves memory.
Existing knowledge determines what is effectively remembered.
People who are given a context, will also have expectations of conventional activities, which will mislead and create false memories and leave out what was inconsistent.
Qualitative differences between memories are important for distinguishing external memories from internally generated ones, since external are more detailed and complex, have stronger sensory attributes, set in coherent context of time and place, whereas internally generated have more of the reasoning and imagining processes.
Memory can also be distorted via: extreme stress(narrowed attention thus biased perception), in violent situations cognitive resources are allocated towards escape or the weapon(rather than appearance and identity processing), recognition is better than recall but is biased with clothing by recognizing similar but wrong individuals, racial and ethnic facial recognition is poor.
Leading questions also distort memory.
False memories can be created under certain circumstances, as it is semantically linked to previously presented items, or if the memory was strongly believed to have happened, and sometimes without bias when asked to fill in the blank with a verb(the remembered the speed of a car accident was a byproduct of the verb's intensity.) Weeks later, when led with misleading information about the "smash," those who answered with more intense verbs during the previous session would be more confident with falsely remembering shattering glass. Even priming after the event, can lead to false memories when asked weeks later.
See "The seven sins of memory" by Dan Schacter. {absent-mindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, persistence}
Important memories are put into the hippocampus, and then stored in the cerebral cortex.
Implicit memory tasks can still be learned if the hippocampus in damaged.
Memory development is the gradual emergence of more complex strategies for encoding and retrieving memories, especially as semantic knowledge increases and language becomes available.
Infantile amnesia may be due to biological processes, state dependent shifts, or some combination.
Older people and children are more susceptible to suggestion and bias in their memory.
Cognitive rehabilitation techniques are effective in maximizing available memory capacity by helping enhance self esteem and emotional status as well as functional capabilities.
Stimulants may enhance memory through improving attention(encoding) but too much is counter productive. Neurochemical smart drugs improve neural function via transmission or communication between cells, but it is not consistent.
The brain may be improved via: genetic and neural manipulation/transplantation, interfacing carbon and silicon based hardware, putatively enhancing the substrate of the brain, use of prosthetic artificial devices.
Spaced repetition has a 250% performance increase over same-day learning after an 8 year hiatus.
Memories associated with meaning are better retained.
Having a perfect memory comes at the cost of remembering useless things and having attentional problems as memories resurface/triggered.

Personal Notes:
  1. I think that memory from a psychologist point of view is still relying on interpretive understanding, because techniques of study rely on spoken/written language, but the core meaning of language is to communicate, thus my personal perspective considers body movement to be a language, one of which a the level of depression, excitement, anxiety, etc. can be used to make judgement or convey a message. I also can note spacial movement measurements to determine the strength and flexibility/capabilities of the person to navigate the physical world. This is a part of my perceptual attention learned when I evaluated a fighter during a match. A lower level of understanding is needed to map more closely to the specific sets of brain regions, and perhaps the intercommunication of the regions will hold more information towards the persons neural structure and capabilities. I biological computer model might me needed to gain small insights of the nature of said connections, but not the whole.
  2. These models have no concept of generality, what about recalling touches, caresses, punches, the sway of the sea while in a boat; none of the physical sensations are accounted for. For any type of memory there should be a function to recall, encode, and work with, etc.
  3. The book uses riding a bike as procedural memory, but I think that you are training your brain to understand a certain set of stimuli like acceleration, centripetal force; thus all the brain is doing is keeping balance and equilibrium. These are not consciously accessible, because it is a combination muscular and bodily development and fine motor control. All of which, require the communication of several different level within, and across systems.