Unit VIIA - Memory:


Measuring Memory
• According to researchers, what are the three memory processes?

1. Encoding - registering the information and putting it into your memory system

2. Storage - holding the information in your memory system

3. Retrieval - getting ther information out of the memory system so that it can be used

• How do recall tasks differ from recognition tasks?
Recall Tasks: Essay, short answer, or fill-in the blank questions. Test questions provide cues that specift the information you must recall, but it's up to you to generate the answers.
Recognition Tasks: multiple choice, matching, or true/false questions. Test questions provide all possible answers against your memory to recognize the answer.

A Look at Your Performance
• What was your score on the Recall Test?

• What was your score on the Recognition Test?

Examining Your Performance: Serial Position Effect
• What was your pattern of performance across the 15 words? Did your performance show a serial position effect?
The pattern consisted predominately of words from either the beginning and end of the list. This demonstrats the serial position effect because we have a tendency to remember words at the beginning and end of a sequence.

Examining Your Performance: Recall Versus Recognition
• Did your performance show an advantage for recognition over recall?
Most people correctly recognize more words that they can recall. Seeing a word apparently jogs or primes your memory for that particular word, making it easier for you to remember that it was on the original list.

Examining Your Performance: False Memory
• What is a “false memory?”
A distorted or inaccurate memory that feels completely real and is often accompanied by all the emotion impact of a real memory.

• Did you show false recall or false recognition for “sleep”? If so, why do you think this happened?
Yes. Sleep is part of our daily routine, and maybe that prevalence affected my recognition of it.

If not, why do you think your performance was different from the Roediger & McDermott study?

Other Ways We Create False Memories
• List and briefly explain the two “sins of forgetting” especially relevant to the topic of false memories:
1. Misattribution - distortions based on confusing the source of the information

2. Suggestibility - distortions introduced by misinformation from outside sources

Application: Eyewitness Testimony
• How might memory distortions affect eyewitness testimony?
Eyewitnesses sometimes show source confusion, attributing a statement or action to the wrong person. They also exhibit suggestibility, occasionally incorporating misleading information from the media or attorneys into their memories formed during the actual crime.


This activity simulates Sperling’s classic experiments on the duration of visual sensory memory.

Free Recall Test
• What was your score on the free recall test? 35%
Iconic Memory

• What is Sperling’s theory of iconic memory? What is an “icon?”
Sperling believed that all nine letters were stored in the viewer's memory for a short time, but that the memory faded so rapidly that only a handful of the letters could be moved into short-term memory named before the information disappeared.
Iconic memory: a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli
icon: a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second

• What is Sperling’s partial report task? How does it test his theory of iconic memory?
Partial report: memory task in which only a specific set of items are to be reported
If the memory decayed before all the letters could be named.

Partial Report Test
• What was your score on the partial report test? 25%

• Are your results consistent or inconsistent with typical results? What do typical results suggest?
Consistent. Most people recall a significantly higher percentage of letters in the cued recall than free recall task. This improvement demonstrates that the viewers actually store considerably more visual information for a brief time that they are able to report a few seconds later.

Delayed Partial Report Test
• What was your score on the delayed partial report test? 14%

• What does the typical drop in performance tells us about the duration of iconic memory?
This drop in performance suggests that the iconic memory store has an effective duration of less tahn 500 milliseconds. Sperling's research indicated that the typical duration of iconic memory is about 250 milliseconds, and later research has generally supported this estimate. This means that any visual information that is not transferred to more permanent memory within the 250-millisecond limit will be lost.

Scientific American Article:

Two-Column Notes: