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Learning and Memory: Encoding SOME BASIC VARIABLES IN ENCODING – Elaborative rehearsal tends to promote better retention than maintenance rehearsal. Maintenance rehearsal involves recycling information in STM to keep it active. Elaborative rehearsal, on the other hand, relates to- be-remembered information to other data, providing a stronger memory trace for the critical information. (How would you remember this series of numbers? – 3829501) Learning and Memory: Encoding What does elaborative processing exactly do? – Elaboration connects ideas together. – Elaboration increases the distinctiveness of information. – Elaboration requires cognitive effort, which is seen as enhancing retention. Learning and Memory: Encoding Another basic idea involved in the encoding of information involves the utilization of imagery, as not all encoding occurs at the verbal level. – When using visualization as an encoding aid, concrete words (e.g., house) tend to be recalled better than abstract words (e.g., justice). – Why does visualization work? A distinct possibility is that visual information, such as a picture, can contain many more details that can serve as cues, when compared to words. Dual-Coding Theory also suggests that pictures tend to be encoded in two ways: a visual representation and a verbal representation of the picture. Learning and Memory: Encoding Meaningfulness also plays a role in encoding. – Meaningful words tend to be a) easily pronounced, b) more associated to other concepts, and c) easily imagined, in comparison to non-meaningful words. – How does meaningfulness develop? The key seems to be prior experience. Prior experience is a major factor when developing expertise in a given area; experts tend to view situations in more meaningful manners than novices. (How has your ability to understand psychology changed over the years?) Learning and Memory: Encoding PRESENTATION VARIABLES – The serial position of an item is an important factor involved in the encoding of information. The classic primacy and recency effects, which have been discussed elsewhere, illustrate that the manner in which information is presented to individuals does play a major role in how that information is encoded. (What would you do to combat the serial position effect?) Learning and Memory: Encoding The von Restorff (or isolation) effect (VRE) illustrates the role of distinctiveness in material presentation. – The VRE occurs when some piece of to-be- remembered material is made distinct among other to- be-remembered items. The distinctiveness of the one item isolates that stimulus from the others, making it more distinct and easier to remember. – When stimuli are made vivid (i.e., arousing one’s emotional system), however, the memory-enhancing effect of the VRE is not always found. Why not? The vividness of the presentation can be so emotionally arousing that it interferes with one’s ability to process the information. (read p. 272) cow, pig, horse, chicken, farm, barn, duck, Learning and Memory: Encoding The Seductive Detail Effect occurs when people have trouble remembering critical main ideas regarding a particular piece of information, but do recall tangential elements of a topic that are designed to grab one’s attention. – This effect is said to be due to having one’s attention diverted away from the main idea, which then reduces the amount of processing that occurs around the critical information. – (Speaking of parent child communication…C. and Christmas ’96) Learning and Memory: Encoding The manner in which stimuli are spaced can also influence memory: the Spacing Effect suggests that spaced (or distributed) practice leads to better memory than massed practice. Why? – The Retrograde Amnesia hypothesis: sequential massed presentations of items tend to interfere with a prior memory of information. – The Attention Deficit hypothesis: one’s attention to detail tends to diminish if practice sessions occur too closely together in time. – The Encoding Variability hypothesis: spaced practices lead to different encodings of information, which allows for the possibility of multiple retrieval cues to enhance memory. – An exception to the spacing-is-better heuristic occurs when after a short delay following the second presentation of information; in this context, massed practice has a retention advantage over spaced practice. Learning and Memory: Encoding The Generation Effect (GE) has also been shown to have a profound impact on information encoding. – The GE occurs when subjects generate material to be studied in a memory experiment. – An example of the type of generation involved in the GE would be to give a subject the nouns BOAT and DOG, and have them create their own sentence using these items. Learning and Memory: Encoding Many of the memory-enhancing effects connected to the encoding/presentation of information are limited to tasks involving explicit information processing; implicit memory for information tends to not be influenced by these memory enhancing processes. – The specific explicit effects that show this benefit are depth of processing, serial position, and the generation effect. Learning and Memory: Encoding LEARNER VARIABLES – A learner can take an incidental or intentional approach to learning. (you bring your own “stuff” to the table) – The promise of an incentive for high recall can also influence memory. An incentive does not influence memory itself; it simply makes one engage in behaviors that are likely to lead to better information retention. Learning and Memory: Encoding If a learner has a personal interest in the material, retention of the material is also likely to increase. – Women have been shown to recall personal relationships to a higher degree of clarity and vividness. – Why? Learning and Memory: Encoding – Suggested cause for this effect is that women might be viewed as relationship experts when compared to males, and therefore invest more cognitive energy in understanding the nuances of how people relate to each other. Learning and Memory: Encoding One’s level of physiological arousal can also influence memory. – The Yerkes-Dodson Law suggests that the relationship between physiological arousal and memory generates an inverted-U curve – Different chemical agents (e.g., stimulant drugs and glucose) can have an arousing effect on the brain, and such arousal tends to be positively correlated with improved memory. REMEMBER, HOWEVER-- CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION. – Some research has even shown that circadian rhythms may play a role in learning and memory ability. Are you a “lark” or an “owl”? Learning and Memory: Encoding The emotions surrounding an encoding event can also play a role in how memories are formed. Several ideas attempt to explain how emotion influences memory. – Emotional arousal tends to focus one’s attention on critical information, eliminating peripheral pieces of information. – Emotional stimuli lead to the production of epinephrine, which in turn stimulates the amygdala in the brain’s limbic system. The amygdala, in turn, is said to be responsible for the creation of emotional memories. Learning and Memory: Encoding Emotional events are distinct, which leads to them being rehearsed and elaborated more than non- distinct memories. – Related to this notion of distinctiveness is the idea of flashbulb memories – Some people have made the claim that flashbulb memories are highly clear and accurate, although others have shown that the professed accuracy of flashbulb memories is not always true. Learning and Memory: Encoding Related to the interaction of emotions and memory is the subdiscipline of eyewitness memories. – Eyewitnesses to crimes and other events may be believed (by jurors, for example) to be highly accurate, but research shows that this is not always the case. – The Weapon Focus Phenomenon is one experience related to eyewitness recall--witnesses remember certain details (e.g., the type of gun used in a mugging) about an event, but fail to recall other information (e.g., a description of the perpetrator). Learning and Memory: Encoding SCHEMAS – Schemas are outlines of knowledge (e.g., “how to drive a car”) – Schemas influence several variables: Guide the selection of what information will be encoded. Provide a general storage framework, allowing our minds to be efficient when storing information. Look for common features across events and store abstract, general knowledge in a concise form, as opposed to redundantly storing needless details. Provide cues that enable us to retrieve information when necessary. Can sometimes distort our perceptions of events, as we sometimes see what is expected (according to an existing schema), as opposed to what is really there. – These encoding errors can be influenced by stereotypes and the loss of event details that tend to occur over time. Learning and Memory: Encoding METAMEMORY – Metamemory is another critical encoding variable, as it reflects our knowledge of how our memory system(s) operate to process information. – The effectiveness of metamemory follows a developmental pattern: as we age, our metamemory tends to increase. Learning and Memory: Encoding APPLICATIONS – In the context of academic learning, several factors have been connected to information encoding. Note-taking skills are an early step in the encoding of information. Learning and Memory: Encoding – Students tend to enhance their processing of information by experiencing Elaborative Interrogation--teachers asking students questions about course content that go beyond rote memory of facts (e.g., “Why does theory X lead to conclusion Y, and not conclusion Z?”). Learning and Memory: Encoding – The meaningfulness and distinctiveness of information is made apparent in textbooks where certain terms appear in bold type, or are set apart from the text as chapter and section headings, etc. – Circadian rhythms may also play a role in learning; one might be better able to learn in the morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on what type of cycle their body’s internal clock is functioning under.
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