Cognitive Psychology And Its Implications, Ch. 7.
Cognitive Psychology And Its Implications, Ch. 7.
Respond in 500 words with some scholarly references. Use citations, cite your references. Please use attachment to answer question. Cite every sentence with content from your sources. There are a few ways to do that including just putting the citation at the end of each sentence. What did you find most interesting or “surprising” about Chapter 7?
Retention and Retrieval
Popular fiction frequently has some protagonist who is unable to recall some critical
memory—either because of some head injury, repression of some traumatic
experience, or just because the passage of time has seemed to erase the memory.
The critical turning event in the story occurs when the protagonist is able to recover
the memory—perhaps because of hypnosis, clinical treatment, returning to an old
context, or (particularly improbable) being hit on the head again. Although our everyday
struggles with our memory are seldom so dramatic, we all have had experiences
with memories that are just at the edge of availability. For instance, try remembering
the name of someone who sat beside you in class in grade school or a teacher of a
class. Many of us can picture the person but will experience a real struggle with retrieving
that person’s name—a struggle at which we may or may not succeed. This chapter
will answer the following questions: • How does memory for information fade with the passage of time? • How do other memories interfere with the retrieval of a desired memory? • How can other memories support the retrieval of a desired memory? • How does a person’s internal and external context influence the recall
of a memory? • How can our past experiences influence our behavior without our being able
to recall these experiences?
•Are Memories Really Forgotten?
Figure 7.1 repeats Figure 6.1, identifying the prefrontal and temporal structures
that have proved important in studies of memory. This chapter will focus more
on the temporal (and particularly the hippocampal) contributions to memory,
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Are Memories Really Forgotten? | 177
which play a major role in retention of memory. One of the earliest studies of
the role of the temporal cortex in memory seemed to provide evidence that
forgotten memories are still there even though we cannot retrieve them. As part
of a neurosurgical procedure, Penfield (1959) electrically stimulated portions of
patients’ brains and asked them to report what they experienced (patients were
conscious during the surgery, but the stimulation technique was painless). In
this way, Penfield determined the functions of various portions of the brain.
Stimulation of the temporal lobes led to reports of memories that patients
were unable to report in normal recall, such as events from childhood. This
seemed to provide evidence that much of what seems forgotten is still stored
in memory. Unfortunately, it is hard to know whether the patients’ memory
reports were accurate because there is no way to verify whether the reported
events actually occurred. Therefore, although suggestive, the Penfield experiments
are generally discounted by memory researchers.
A better experiment, conducted by Nelson (1971), also indicates that forgotten
memories still exist. He had participants learn a list of 20 paired associates,
each consisting of a number for which the participant had to recall a
noun (e.g. 43-dog). The subjects studied the list and were tested on it until
they could recall all the items without error. Participants returned for a retest
2 weeks later and were able to recall 75% percent of the associated nouns when
cued with the numbers. However, interest focused on the 25% that they could
no longer recall—were these items really forgotten? Participants were given
new learning trials on the 20 paired associates. The paired associates they had
missed were either kept the same or changed. For example, if a participant had
learned 43-dog but failed to recall the response dog to 43, he or she might now
be trained on either 43-dog (unchanged) or 43-house (changed). Participants
were tested after studying the new list once. If the participants had lost all
memory for the forgotten pairs, there should have been no difference between
recall of changed and unchanged pairs. However, participants correctly recalled
78% of the unchanged items formerly missed, but only 43% of the changed items.
FIGURE 7.1 The brain structures
involved in the creation and
storage of memories. Prefrontal
regions are responsible for
the creation of memories. The
hippocampus and surrounding
structures in the temporal
cortex are responsible for the
permanent storage of these
active when information
(internal) active during
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This large advantage for unchanged items indicates that participants had retained
some memory of the original paired associates, even though they had been unable
to recall them initially.