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(Human) Memory

• Memory is essential to the very essence of

being a human being.

• Can you imagine language, relationships,

your sense of who you are without
Three Basic Questions to Ask:

• How are memories formed?


• How are memories retained?

(storage and maintenance)

• How are memories recalled?

Encoding strategies

• Ways of encoding which have been

shown to increase the likelihood of
a successful memory trace
include …

• Mnemonics (Roy G. Biv)

• Organising information

• Depth of processing

• Connecting the to-be-learned

information with knowledge already
held (elaborative rehearsal).
method of loci
• useful mnemonic device is imagery.
• – E.g. imagine items to be remembered in
specific and different locations.
What type of memory EVERYONE is
good at?
Survival – based !!!!

Survival – based !!!!

How to do things (extremely lasting!)
Emotional events (last for a lifetime!)
Conditioned response (strengthened through
What is NOT on the list?
Semantic (word-based
(less related to survival)
World’s seven longest rivers?
Names for Egyptians dynasties?
Mechanism of memory

 When memories are

formed, a structural
change occurs at the

 This strengthens the

connection between
associated neurones.

 This is Hebb’s theory

The destribution of memery

Using PET and fMRI

techniques, some areas
of the brain seem to
be more actively
involved than others
in memory formation
and retrieval.

hippocampus and
prefrontal cortex.
Different types of memory:


Long-term or
Working memory
Difference between STM and LTM

• Short term memory is a temporary storage

with a finite capacity.
• Long term memory is a long term storage with
potentially unlimited storage (think of all the
things you know!).
• What is the capacity of short term memory?
• The magic number 7 (+ or - 2) (George
Miller, 1956)

• How can it be increased (think of our

The Stage Theory of Memory
The way in which information is handled in
WM can influence the likelihood that it will
pass into long term storage!
Multiple pathways

• Different kinds of life experience encode

differently (Fuster, 1995).

• Implications for teachers?

Declarative and Nondeclarative memory


Explicit Implicit

Long Working Procedural Priming


automated learning
Episodic Semantic
Memory check!
Summary - How can the things you have learnt
in this lecture improve your memory?
Summary - How can the things you have learnt
in this lecture improve your memory?

• There are more effective ways of remembering than

repeating the information over and over. (Maintenance vs
Elaborative rehearsal.)

• Organise your thoughts into coherent groups. (e.g.


• Keep the environment you learn in as similar as possible

to the environment you will be tested in (Encoding
Specificity),or if in an exam room try to picture the room
you revised in before attempting to recall.
• Understand different types of memory.

• Cognitive phenomena of memory:

– The Primacy / recency effect
– The capacity of working memory (magic
number …..?)