Psy 327: Cognitive Psychology
Unit II Study Guide
General Information: The exam will consist of the usual mixture of matching, multiple choice, short answer, and one or two
essay questions. Material for the exam includes information in Chapters 4 (only the latter part), 5, 6, 7 and 9, plus class notes,
although not everything in those chapters will be fair game for the exam. Page numbers for material on the exam, but not
necessarily covered in class, are given below where possible. All chapters should be read at least once; the page numbers are
designed to speed your access to critical information. As always, information for the exam is drawn from the study guide -- if
it's not here, it won't be on the exam.
I. Chapter 4 material + class coverage of STM & general memory concepts.
A. Terms (be able to give examples where sensible):
consolidation chunking (& relation to LTM)
STM capacity (concept of; size) duration of info in STM
decay vs. interference Sternberg task
memory set; memory set size probe digit
self-terminating vs. exhaustive search stages of processing
additive factors logic serial position curve
primacy and recency effects rehearsal loop/articulatory loop
Boxes and Arrows model (Atkinson & Shiffrin) sensory register
working memory "parallel" or "serial" search
Peterson & Peterson exp. on duration of STM phonological code vs. visual code vs. semantic code
mnemonic devices (pp. around p. 159) key-word systems & method of loci
dual coding theory (Paivio, p. 156)
B. Questions and Concepts
1. Be sure to understand how chunking in STM depends on LTM. Also, keep in mind the distinction between chunking and
2. Regarding the Sternberg task: (a) Be able to describe the Sternberg task and the basic pattern of results including the effects
of memory set size and visual degradation of probe digits. (b) What two results indicate whether search is self-terminating or
exhaustive, and how do they show that? (c) What finding suggests (but does not necessarily prove) that STM search is serial
rather than parallel? Please also be aware that there are models for STM search that use parallel processing to explain these
effects, and that currently these parallel models are favored by many. (Remember that Sternberg‟s work was first published in
the late „60‟s and so his original interpretation has been subject to modification.)
3. Be prepared for an essay or short answer question on the difference between intentional and unintentional learning, and
whether the intent to learn contributes to memory independently of depth of processing. See pp. 132-133 in text (Hyde &
Jenkins 1969 experiment). Number 8 in Part II (below) also pertains to the Hyde & Jenkins experiment.
4. Be familiar with the idea that the recency portion of the serial position curve is often attributed to STM while the primacy
portion of the curve is attributed to LTM. Be able to explain why. (ask about this in the review session.)
II. Long-term memory material from class & the other chapters (5, 6, and very lightly from 7).
A. Terms (be able to give examples where sensible):
procedural knowledge vs declarative knowledge (notes & see p. 119) reality monitoring (notes + pp 176-180)
source monitoring (notes) context dependency
state dependency (including mood dependency) recall vs recognition memory/tests
implicit vs. explicit memory (see pp. 116-118 + handout) episodic vs semantic memory
false fame (see notes) cognitive interview vs. hypnosis (p. 114)
the illusion of truth (notes) source confusion (general concept)
levels of processing (depth of processing views, pp. 128-135) encoding specificity principle (p. 142)
B. Concepts and Questions.
1. In class we identified four processes that are very important in the storage of new information into LTM: rehearsal, coding,
imaging, and paying attention. Be able to describe, with an example, each of these processes.
2. Be able to cite at least two examples showing that many instances of "forgetting" are actually "retrieval failures" in which
the information was still stored in LTM, just not accessible at the time of recall.
3. In general, how strong is the relationship between the accuracy of memory and subject's confidence ratings of their
4. Be able to describe a typical recognition memory test procedure, using the terms study list, target items, distractors (or foils,
& false alarms). (see p. 117, plus class notes).
6. Be able to describe the study by Brown, Deffenbacher, & Sturgill (1977; p. 115) showing the biasing effects of previewing
mugshots, and to explain how confusion about source information is involved in the effect reported.
7. Be able to identify or give brief descriptions of the following experiments on memory (basic design, results, & implications):
(1) Hyde & Jenkins levels of processing experiment & incidental learning (see pp. 132-133); (2) Bransford & Johnson‟s
(1972) "washing clothes" or "balloon popping" experiments (see pp. 275-276); (4) Sulin & Dooling (1974) "Gerald Martin" or
"Carol Harris" experiment (p. 279-280; notice the really good job of describing the Gerald Martin experiment); (5) Bartlett's
(1932) classic "War of the Ghosts" study (class); (6) Spiro's (1977) "Bob & Carol" study on conflicting & congruent
information (class notes); (7) Snyder & Uranowitz' "Betty K" study & implications for social stereotypes (class notes); (8)
Loftus & Palmer (1974) study on the effect of leading questions (class).
8. In the Hyde & Jenkins experiment, did subjects who were given advance warning of the memory test (intentional learning
instructions) remember more than subjects who made pleasantness-unpleasantness judgements but did not know that they were
going to be tested on the words (unintentional learning)? Evaluate the implications of this finding for the concept of intentional
learning (as in studying for exams) and how it relates to the concept of depth of processing.
9. Using whatever information you wish from text and lecture, be able to write an essay on the importance of existing
knowledge in LTM for the storage and retrieval of new information. In your answer, cite at least four studies which support the
points you're making. (Hint: Cite studies showing when existing knowledge is an advantage and when it is a disadvantage
drawing from the studies listed in #7 above, then draw implications & conclusions from there.)
10. Briefly describe the concept of levels of processing, with examples of "deep" and "shallow" encoding.
11. Describe the tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) phenomenon. What has research revealed about the nature of any partial information
available about the target while in the TOT state? (See text p. 112; pp. 109-111).
12. What is a schema and how do schemas interact with memory? (see pp. 235-241 on schemas & scripts) Describe an
experiment which shows the impact of schemas on memory (class notes). (e.g., Bransford & Johnson; Bartlett; Sulin &
13. Discuss evidence concerning the use of hypnosis to improve recall, particularly in the area of eyewitness testimony. Does
the evidence suggest that hypnosis is more effective than simply reinstating the context? What has been one of the main
problems with using hypnosis under these circumstances? Is there an alternative to hypnosis? What is it (the alternative to
hypnosis) and how does it work?
15. Briefly describe the concept of the mental abacus and its implications for the use of imagery in problem solving. How did
11-year olds do? (class notes.)
16. Give an example of oversimplification in spatial memory. What limitation does this suggest regarding the use of imagery
in memory tasks?
16.5 Also in connection with imagery, be able to describe the Atkinson & Raugh (1975) experiment on the mnemonic keyword
technique and its use in Russian vocabulary learning. (class notes; pp. 161-163).
17. Describe the lightning calculator Aitkin at Edinburgh University. How did Aitkin perform his lightning calculations? Most
importantly, does Aitkin's ability reflect some innate genius on his part, some specific ability that is impossible to achieve by
normal people, or is it the case, on balance, that Aitkin's ability probably stemmed from the application of tremendous work,
effort, practice, and memorization within a normal range of intellect?
18. Use Aitkin, V.P., and S., and perhaps Sack‟s “twins” to develop an essay on normal and non-normal human abilities.
Based on what you've seen and heard in this unit, are there short-cuts to distinctive feats of memory or intellectual prowess
available to us normal folk? What is the most likely connection between mental abilities, effort, and practice? Are the abilities
we develop likely to be domain specific?
19. Typically, what type of memory, implicit or explicit, is affected by amnesia? Be able to cite one example of amnesia,
either from the text or from class, that illustrates this point. (H.M. would make an excellent example)
20. What is meant by the term “false memory syndrome?” Briefly explain how cognitive research has shown that it is
relatively easy to implant false memories through hypnosis and guided imagery. Use the comments by Ceci (p. 180 box) and
the concept of reality/source monitoring to explain how false memories can be established. You could also use examples from
Sulin & Dooling‟s research, Snyder & Uranowitz, the false fame effect, and the illusion of truth effect to make this type of
21. Regarding Chapter 9: Other than for specific page ranges mentioned above, the only thing needed from chapter 7 is the
basic idea of a semantic network (nodes, links, spreading activation, semantic relatedness).
22. Be prepared for essays that might address following issues: (1) Implicit vs. explicit memory relating to amnesia cases
(including description of implications of Jacoby experiment); (2) the accuracy or lack thereof in eyewitness testimony and
identification, citing the Brown, Deffenbacher, & Sturgill exp; (3) "Normal" vs "abnormal" memory feats; or the Sternberg task,
among other essay possibilities noted above; or (4) the types of procedures that are conducive, intentionally or unintentionally,
to the breakdown of source/reality monitoring and therefore to “false” memories.