Cognitive Psychology Ch 5-9

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Goldstein Cognitive Psych and Everyday Life Experiment Summary

Short-term Memory Experiment: What is the duration of STM?

• Recall method:
o Participants are presented with a stimuli.
o Delay of either (a) 3 seconds or (b) 18 seconds.
o Participants are asked to remember as many of the stimuli as possible.
• Results
o Memory performance is measured by the percentage of stimuli remembered.

o Participants remembered 80% of the stimuli after 3 seconds.
o Paricipants remembered 12% of the stimuli after 18 seconds.
• Conclusion:
o Participants forgot the letters because of decay.
 Decay: Process by which information is lost from STM due to the passage of time.

Short-term Memory Experiment: What is the capacity of STM?

• Digit Span Method:
o Participants are given a piece of paper with series of numbers on it, starting at 4 and increasing by one on each trial.
o Look at 4 numbers, cover them and write them down.
o Look at 5 numbers, cover them and write them down.
o Look at 6 numbers, cover them and write them down.
o ETC. Until You cannot remember all of the numbers and record them accurately.
• Results:
o Average Capacity : 5-9
o Magic Number = 7!
• Conclusion
o The capacity of STM averages out at 5-9 and thus 7.

Chunking Experiment

• Method: Ask person to repeat string of digits presented to them.
o Determine the length of digit span that a person can repeat without making mistakes.
o Train participant to chunk numbers based on their prior knowledge.
o Determine how many numbers they can repeat with out error.
 Compare this to their score before training.
• Result: Chunking will enable the trained individual to store much more info in STM.
• Conclusion: Chunking, by virtue of its interaction with LTM, increases capacity of STM.

Auditory Coding Experiment:

• Method: (a) Briefly flash target letters on a screen.
(b) Ask participants to write down the letters that had been flashed in order.
• Results:
o When participants made errors, the errors were often caused by the misidentification of the target letter as another letter that sounds like the target letter.
• Conclusion:
o Coding for letters was auditory, even though participants saw the letters.

Semantic Coding Experiment:

• Method:
o Two Groups : A) Fruit Group B) Profession Group
o Four Trials.
 After each trial, ask participants to immediately write down the stimuli.
o Fruit Group presented with the names of 4 fruits on each trial.
o Profession Group presented with the names of 4 professions on trials 1, 2, & 3.
 On trial 4, Profession Group presented with the names of four fruits.
• Results:
o Both Fruit Group and Profession Group performed strongly on trial 1.
o Fruit Group performance dropped after the 1st trial, and remained down for remaining trials.
o Profession Group performance dropped after the 1st trial.
 On the 4th trial (when presented with the names of fruits) Profession Group's performance increased.
• Conclusion:
o Fruit Group had a strong performance and then dropped because of Proactive Interference.
o Proactive Interference: when information learned previously interacts with learning new information.
o Profession Group had a similar performance until, on the fourth trial when presented with the names of fruits, they were released from proactive interference.

o Participants were semantically coding information. Because:
 (1) Profession Group was released from proactive interference when a set of words from a new group was presented, and
 (2) because placing words into categories involves the meaning of the words

Working Memory Experiment: How Does Brain Damage to Prefrontal Cortex Affect Memory?

• Method: Delayed Response Task
o Information is provided.
o Brief delay imposed.
o Memory is tested.
 Monkeys tested by letting them see where food is being hidden (under one of two cloths.)
 Wait 10 seconds.
 Monkey looks for reqard under one of the two cloths.
• Results:
o Monkeys with healthy brain performed higher than average for remembering where food was hidden.
o Monkeys with prefrontal cortex removed performed at the level of chance guesses.
• Conclusion:
o The prefrontal cortex is important for holding information for brief periods of time.

Working Memory: Distributed Processing?

o Brain imaging experiments reveal that a large number of brain areas are involved in working memory.

Working Memory Experiment: How does the capacity and efficiency of one's WM correlate with their comprehension, reasoning ability, and intelligence?

• Method:
o Reading Span method: The maximum number of sentences that a person can read while simultaneously holding the last word of each sentence in memory (and here repeating them in order).
 Used to measure both storage and processing functions of working memory.

o Measure reading span for 20 individuals.
o Give participants a comprehension test where they answer questions about a paragraph.
o Collect the SAT scores of participants.
• Results:
o Those who had a higher reading span tended to score better on the comprehension test and to have higher SAT scores.
• Conclusion:
o Working memory is associated with comprehension and intelligence.
 (larger working memory with more efficient processing, better comprehension ability and higher intelligence.)

Long-Term Memory Experiment: What is the difference between LTM and STM?

• Serial Position Method:
o Read a list of 15 words to participants, read 1 word and wait 2 seconds.
o Without a delay, ask the participants to write down all of the words that they remember in any order.

o Analyze results by plotting the percentage of recall for each word against the words position on the list.
 (create a serial position curve)
• Results
o Memory is better for words at the beginning of the list and for words at the end of the list.
 (Memory is poor for words at the middle of the list.)
• Conclusion:
o Primacy effect: Superior memory for words at the beginning of the list.
 Participants had the chance to rehearse these words and transfer them to LTM.
o Recency Effect: Superior memory for words at the end of the list.
 The words at the end of the list are still in the participants STM.

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