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COGNITIVE PROCESSES 
 

Name  Nikita Yapari — 12JKI 

Date  Year 12, Term 1 


 
Memory 
(Core Approach 1 — Paper 1) 
 
 
26 September 2018 

Memory
: refers to the processes that is used to acquire, store, retain and retrieve information. There are three 
major processes involved in memory: encoding, storage and retrieval. 
 
Memory is acquiring information and encoding it into the brain, allowing it to retrieve and rehearse to 
store it as either short term or long term. 
 
● Short-term memory 
● Long-term memory 
 
● capacity 
● encoding — how memory gets into the brain 
● duration 
 

Short-term memory  
: is a temporary place for storing information received through the senses where it receives little 
processing 
● encoding: how sensory input is represented by the memory system 
: limited capacity store that can hold 7 +/- 2 chunks of information for up to 18 seconds 
 
 

Duration 
Duration of short term memory: ​18 seconds 
 
Peterson and Peterson (1959) 
● Aim: to find the duration of short-term memory 
● Procedures: 24 psychology students had to recall meaningless three-letter trigrams in different 
intervals 
○ interference task → counting backwards in 3s from 100 
■ to prevent rehearsal (so the information doesn’t go to the long-term memory) 
● Results:  
○ 3 seconds, 90% of the trigrams were collectly recalled 
○ 6 seconds, less than 50% 
○ 18 seconds, only 10% 
● Conclusion: the longer the interval the less accurate the recall 
○ short-term memory decays without rehearsal 
○ multi-store model 
● Criticism: results were only generalised to psychology students 
○ psychology students could have demonstrated demand characteristics → they know 
about the experiment and could try their hardest to remember — lack population validity 
○ psychology students could have better strategies for memory improvement  
○ participants were asked to remember very artificial data (internal validity) — lacks 
“mundane realism” and ecological validity 
 
[mean average is used to get rid of individual differences] 
 

Capacity 
 
Capacity of STM: 7 ± 2 chunks 
 
Jacobs Study (1887) 
● used a sample of 443 female students (aged 8-19) from North london Collegiate School 
● PPs were asked to repeat a string of numbers or letters in the same order 
○ number of digits/letters gradually increased 
● average span was 9.3 for digits, 7.3 for letters 
○ we never have to remember random letters 
○ lacks mundane realism 

How to improve memory capacity: 


 
Chunking: using integrated units of information 
● what constitutes a chink is based on personal experiences and knowledge levels 
 
Miller (1956) 
● George A. Miller 
● Jacobs (1887) — PPs are able to recall between 5 and 9 chunks of information 
● 7​ is the magic number (+/-2) 
 
Simon (1974) 
● as the size of chunks increased, the number of chunks recalled decreased 
● findings from speakers of other languages suggest STM capacity is time limited not chunk 
limited 
 
Allen (1989) 
Baddeley (1975) 
 
+ when learning about a study, always evaluate it (adv. & disadv.) and compare with other studies. it 
either supports or refutes + 
 
 
 
4 October 2018 

Long-Term Memory 
: unlimited capacity memory store that can hold information for up to 48 years 

Duration 
 
Bahrick et al (1975) 
● Aim: To investigate the duration of long term memory using high-school yearbook photos with 
its relation to capacity 
● Procedure:  
○ 392 American graduates from a particular high school aged 17-74 were shown 
photographs from their high school yearbook.  
○ Free-recall test​: they were asked to remember as many names from the class as 
possible 
○ Photo-recognition test:​ participants were asked to identify former classmates by looking 
at 50 photos without being given a list of names,  
○ Name-recognition test​: “which students were in which class” 
○ Name and photo-matching test​: each participant were given a group of names in which 
they were asked to select the names that matched the photographs 
● Results​: 
○ Face and Name - 90% 
○ Free Recall - 30% 
○ Name Recognition - 80% 
 
Duration of long-term memory is 48 years 
Conclusion​: 
● supports the idea that LTM can store some types of information for a very long time 
○ free recall becomes more difficult over time, but recognition does not diminish much 
 
good at recognition, bad at recall 
 
Criticisms​: 
- very specific type of memory 
- classmates faces and names may hold emotional significance 
- time for a great deal of rehearsal over school life 
- familiar faces are a very specific type of information and therefore these results cannot be 
generalised to memory 
+ Ecological validity was high. The study used a naturally occuring form of indo so avoided the 
artificiality often present in memory studies 
 
Shepherd (1967) 
 
 
8 October 2018 
 
Encoding 
: refers to the form in which info is stored and transmitted 
→ same piece of music can be represented in different ways (CD, binary, vibrations) 
 
● Iconic​: what information ​looks​ like 
● Acoustic​: what information ​sounds​ like 
● Semantic​: what information ​means 
 
STM prefers acoustically similar words. 
 
Baddeley (1966) 
● Asked PPs to learn some word lists 
○ acoustically similar 
○ acoustically dissimilar 
○ semantically similar 
○ semantically dissimilar 
● PPs either recalled the list immediately (STM) 5 words or after a timed delay of 20 mins (LTM) for 
10 mins 
 
DV: how many errors PPs made 
 
  STM  LTM 

Acoustically Similar  0.6 ​Low  1.4 ​Highest 

Acoustically Dissimilar  0.6  3.2 

Semantically Similar  0.4 ​Highest  1.8 ​Low 

Semantically Dissimilar  0  4.0 


 
STM like acoustic coding. 
LTM like semantic coding. 
 
When recalling from STM PPs made more semantic errors. 
When recalling from LTM PPs made more acoustic errors. 
 
 
10 October 2018 
 
 
  STM  LTM 

Capacity  7 +/- 2  Unlimited 

Duration  18 seconds  48 years 


Encoding  Acoustic  Semantic 
 
 

Models of Memory: 
1. The Multi-Store Model (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968) 
2. Working Memory Model (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974) 
 
Models​ are not an exact copy, but its a replica or a representation of something  
● shows us how something works 
 
A model of memory is a representation of how memory works. 
 
The Multi-Store Model ​(Atkinson & Shiffrin 1968) 
● 3 different types of memory 
○ Sensory Memory, STM, LTM 
○ ^^ described as “memory stores” 
● any stimulus you come across has been in one or more of these stores  
○ sequential (in this sequence) 
● each store retains a different ​amount​ of info, in a different ​way​, and for a different length of ​time 
 

 
1. Pay ​attention​ : SM → STM 
2. Rehearse​ it 
a. maintenance rehearsal​ keeps it in STM  
i. largely verbal or iconic 
b. elaborative rehearsal​ can get it to out LTM 
i. largely semantic 
3. or​ Decay 
4. Retrieve​ it back from STM 
 
 

Sensory Memory
: memory store that takes information from our sense organs 
○ see, hear, taste, touch, smell 
 
Seeing = Iconic Memory (visual info) 
Hearing = Echoic Memory (auditory info) 
Touch = Haptic Memory (tactile info) 
 
Sperling (1960) 
Capacity 
● presented on a grid of letters for less than a second 
● people recalled on average ​4 letters 
● although when he used “partial report” 
● iconic memory held up to ​10 letters 
● decays before we can report them all 
 
Duration 
● SM: ​2 seconds 
 
Sensory Memory: duration of 2 seconds, capacity is difficult to specify 
 
“When I learn new stuff it pushes out things I already knew. Remember when I went on that wine tasting 
course and I forgot how to drive?” —Simpson 2001 
 
 
Glanzer & Cunitz (1966) 
 
Participants were able to recall more words from the beginning of the list and the end of the list rather 
than the middle of the list. The beginning of the list was elaboratively rehearsed, so it’s in the LTM, while 
the last few words were maintenance rehearsed.  
 
● primacy effect & recency effect 
 
 
MRI and PET scans show which parts of the brain are being used when certain tasks are carried out. 
Beardsley (1997) → STM 
Squire (1992) → LTM 
 
STM: Prefrontal Cortex 
LTM: Hippocampus (the top of the spine) 
 
These show that there are memory stores → supports the Multi-Store Model. 
 
Supported by Clive Wearing and HM 
 
 

Amnesia 
 
Retrograde Amnesia:​ losing previous memories 
 
Anterograde Amnesia:​ the inability of making and keeping new memories 
 
Wernicke-Korsakoff’s Psychosis:​ brain disorder caused by extensive Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency 
[when you get too drunk that you can’t remember anything) 
● overconsumption of alcoholic beverages 
→ Main symptoms 
● Anterograde amnesia - can’t form new memories or learn new info or tasks 
● Retrograde amnesia - loss of existing memories - recent memories (STM) are more vulnerable to 
loss 
● Confabulation - invented memories which you think are true because of gaps in memory 
● Meagre content in conversation - conversations lack quality and quantity 
● Lack of insight and apathy 
 
 
 
 
 
11 October 2018 

Case Studies 
: in-depth investigations of one person or group of people 
 
● focuses on a sample of an individual, group or organisation 
● specific and in-depth 
● a type of descriptive research where IV and DV are not used to test cause and effect 
 
Methods used in Case Studies 
- unstructured interviews 
- observations 
- past records: medical histories, diaries 
 
Uses of Case Studies 
● atypical behaviour/conditions: autism, brain damage, OCD 
● unusual situations: feral children.. 
● usually small samples— not many people are affected 
● gives in-depth sight— lots of rich information 
● gives insight into how to help 
 
Strengths and Weakness of Case Studies 
 
Strengths  Weaknesses 

- useful to investigate phenomena that could not  - researcher bias 


be studied otherwise  - participant bias: lose objectivity 
- can contradict established theories and help  - can’t generalise results to the wider population 
develop new theories  (small sample size) 
(provides insight for further research)  - difficult to replicate 
- provides rich information  - difficult to establish cause and effect 
- good for studying individuals with unusual or  - lack of control of extraneous variables (external 
unique memory abilities  factors) 
- high level validity 
- complex psychological areas they could not 
practically or ethically manipulate 
- large numbers of people are unavailable 
- learn about issues not yet understood 
 
Clive Wearing, KF, HM 
 
 
 
 
 
 
22 October 2018 
 
Case Studies— Summary 
 
Case studies are in-depth investigations of one person or group of people. 
 

Multi-Store Model
Strengths  Weaknesses 

large base of research that supports the idea  some research had low ecological/external 
(studies of amnesiacs— Clive Wearing, HM &  validity 
KF— and brain scanning— LTM is in hippocampus 
and STM is in frontal lobe) 

this model has led to further research into  over-simplified (multiple STM & LTM stores) 
memory and how the human mind works (is 
influential)​  

helped doctors diagnose problems and disorders  assumes that LTM is unlimited  
to patients 

accounts for Primacy Effects and Recency Effects  makes our mind’s process of memory seem like a 
series of moving information from one store to 
the next— other models make the memory seem 
more active and that information is constantly 
being processed 
 
Ruchkin (2003)​ → supports — there is a back flow from LTM and STM 
Logie (2009)​ → refutes — information in the STM is not passed into LTM through rehearsal
→ must be an interaction between STM and LTM in which the information is  
interpreted with regard to previously stored knowledge and past experience 
Glenberg (1977)​ → refutes — low correlation between the amount of rehearsal and how much  
information can be recalled 
Schachter (2000)​ → refutes — there are 4 LTM stores 
Spiers (2001)​ → refutes — LTM has 2 forms: declarative knowledge & procedural knowledge 
 
 
25 October 2018 

Working Memory Model (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974) 


● Central Executive 
● Episodic Buffer or 
○ Phonological Loop 
○ Visuo-spatial Sketchpad 
● LTM ← doesn’t say anything about it 

 
 
 
Central Executive: 
- drives the system 
- decides how attention is directed 
- allocates the resources 
- has no storage capacity 
- cannot attend to many things at once (bad at multitasking) 
 
Baddeley (1996)​ ← study for Central Executive 
● asked participants to think of random digits that bore no connection to each other (by tapping 
numbers on a keyboard), either carried out on its own or with one of the tasks 
○ reciting the alphabet 
○ counting from 1 
○ alternating between letter and number 
★ generated number stream was much less random in condition 3 → they were competing for the 
same central executive resources 
 
Episodic Buffer: 
- general storage space for both acoustic and visual information 
- integrates information from the central executive, the phonological loop, the visual sketchpad 
and the long term memory 
- has limited capacity 
 
Phonological Loop: 
Deals with auditory information and the order of information 
 
● The ​auditory​ store (inner ear) 
○ Which holds information in speech based form for 1-2 seconds 
____ 
● The ​articulatory​ control (inner voice) 
○ Used to rehearse verbal information from the phonological store 
 
 
Baddeley (1975) 
● 2 lists of words (1 monosyllabic, 1 polysyllabic) 
● Presented words for brief periods of times 
● Average correct recall over several trials showed participants remembers the short words much 
better “Word Length Effect” 
 
The Visuospatial Sketchpad 
Holds visual (what things look like) and spatial (relationship between things) information for a very short 
time 
→ You use it when you are planning a spatial task, i.e. going from the common room to a classroom 
 
Baddeley (1973) 
Participants were given a visual tracking task. Tracking a moving line with a pointer whilst at the same 
they were given one of the two tasks: 
1. to describe the shape of the letter F 
2. to perform a verbal task 
 
They performed better in the second task. 
 
STORY ♥♥ 
Once upon a time, there lived a very important businessman. He was the Central Executive of a very 
busy company. Being the central executive was extremely successful as he had overall control of the 
company’s operations and processes. In the building, there was a storage room called the Episodic 
Buffer. In this room, there was a recorder with cassette tapes that would record audio (auditory store), 
where you would be able to play it out loud, rehearsing the information. these cassette tapes would 
continuously be burning so the audio would only last for 1-2 seconds. In the room there were also 
screens that the central executive had complete control over, that shows the interior of the building. 
Any audio or visuospatial information that was continuously rehearsed moved to a different room called 
the LTM.  
 
Strengths  Weaknesses 

shows a more in-depth understanding of STM  little direct evidence on how the central 
executive works and what it does 

does not over-emphasise the importance of  only involves STM, doesn’t include SM or LTM 
rehearsal  → not a comprehensive model of memory 

applies to real-life tasks (reading, problem  does not explain changes in processing ability 
solving, navigation)  that occur as the result of practice or time 
 
Contrast the Models of Memory 
 
 
 
31 October 2018 

Eyewitness Testimony 
 
Reconstructive Memory 
 
Schemas 
: the organisation of previous reactions and experiences in order to understand and predict present and 
future experiences 
● knowledge structures that relate to commonly encountered objects, situations or people 
● enable us to predict events, make sense of unfamiliar circumstances, organise our own 
behaviour 
 
Bartlett (1932) War of the Ghosts 
Aim: To investigate the effect of a culturally-specific schema on a culturally unfamiliar story 
● British PPs were students at the University of Cambridge 
● PPs read the ‘War of the Ghosts’ Native American folktale over twice  
 
● memory is not a direct record of what was witnessed 
● what is encoded and how it is retrieved depends on: 
○ information already stored in memory 
○ how this info is understood, structured and organised 
 
- the story become significantly shorter 
- detail as lost 
- some details were changed 
- structure altered to become ‘westernised’ 
 
Distortion occurred during recall and they were making a ‘Best guess’ at the information → Said to be an 
Imaginative reconstruction of experience 
 
● witnesses to crimes filter information during acquisition & recall 
○ their schematic understanding may influence how info is both stored & retrieved 
○ distortions may occur with realisation 
 
What could have caused these effects? 
- past experiences 
- assumptions about what usually happens 
- stereotypes & beliefs about crime & criminals 
 
Allport and Postman (1947) 
PPs were shown a cartoon of a white man and a shaded character on a subway train. Most recalled that 
the black man had the razor in his hand. The razor was actually in the white man’s hand (stereotypes — 
more prone to violence) 
 
Conclusion:  
● when an actual perceptual fact doesn’t match our expectations, we trust our expectation more 
than the real situation 
● we see what we expect to see and this forms the basis for the memory for an event 
 
Brewer & Treyens (1981) 
Office workers were put in an office containing several office supplies and other objects that wouldn’t 
be in an office. They were then asked to recall everything they saw inside the room. Some people said 
they saw things they didn’t, such as things that would be in an office, but wasn’t inside the room. 
 
Loftus — TED Talk 
 
● 300 defendants were convicted for crimes they didn't do 
○ ¾ are due to faulty memories 
● memories are constructive and reconstructive 
● “hit” “smash” study 
● feeding people misinformation could distort memory, but it is unethical 
● planting false memories have repercussions that affect behaviour 
● memory, like liberty, is fragile 
● eyewitness’ false memories affects other people as well 
 
Why is EWT important? 
● 75% of all convictions in the uK are based on EWT 
● 10,000 wrong convictions are made each year on the premise of EWT 
 
● supportive evidence is now required in the UK convictions whenever available ( DNA, CCTV) — 
EWT is not enough 
● defence attorneys and psychologists believe it to be unreliable form whilst jurors (jury) believe it 
is the most important form of testimony 
 
Reconstructive Errors 
 
Loftus 
- deliberately misinformed people about what they had seen 
- showed that it was able to alter people’s memories 
 
- planting false memories into someone’s head changes their schematic understanding 
- → they may spontaneously ‘recall’ a memory that is actually false 
 
Leading Question 
A leading question is a question that subtly / subconsciously prompts or encourages the desired 
answer.  
 
 
 
Loftus & Palmer (1974) 
“The reconstruction of an automobile destruction” 
 
Aim​: The aim of the paper was to study the effects of language on recall in eyewitness testimony and 
Leading Questions 
Their research involved ​two​ experiments 
 
Loftus & Palmer (1974) Study 
 
 
08 November 2018 
 
A questionnaire is quite limited. Some people might not answer truthfully because they might be 
ashamed of their answer. 
 
SDB → Social Desirability Bias 
 
● Critical question is hidden in the questionnaire to get rid of demand characteristics 

● Mean average cuts down individual differences 

● EWT is largely inaccurate → unreliable 

● Schemas can not only reconstruct memory, but also add to memory 

 
● Placebo Effect 

● One week later → because for EWT, you don’t go to court straight away 
 
“ Misleading postevent information does change the way info is stored in LTM” 
 
Critical Thinking (Criteria D) 
 
Yuille and Cutshall (1986)  
 
● interviewed 13 people who had witnessed an armed robbery 
● witnesses who were closest to the incident gave the most detail 
● re-interviews took place 4 months after the crime and despite including 2 misleading questions, 
PPs still provided accurate recall which matched their initial report 
○ PPs who were most distressed at the time of the incident gave the most accurate 
testimony  
 
→ ​refutes​ Loftus & Palmer Study 
● Misleading information did not alter a person’s memory 
● Misleading information had greater influence in the lab 
 
Factors which could influence the accuracy of EWT: 
● emotion (anxiety / stress) 
● visual characteristics → wigs / hats 
● weapon focus 
● reconstructive memory 
● age of witness // age-bias 
● under the influence of alcohol 
● time between crime and EWT 
 
 
Effects of Anxiety 
 
Anxiety: ​unpleasant emotional state of fear accompanied by physiological arousal 
 
Physiological Effects: 
● fight or flight response 
○ heart rate increases. shallow breathing, sweaty palms ​(jazz hands)​, blood taken away 
from stomach → butterflies 
 
Positive effects:  
● “eustress” may occur 
● enhance concentration  
 
Deffenbacher et al (2004) 
→ carried out a meta analysis of 18 studies published between 1974 - 1997 
analysing existing studies 
 
Aim: to see how high levels of anxiety affected accuracy of an eyewitness’s recall 
 
Results: there was support from these studies that high levels of stress negatively impacted on the 
accuracy of eyewitness memory 
 
Can anxiety enhance recall? 
 
Christianson and Hubinette (1993) 
● questioned 58 real witnesses to bank robberies 
● those witnesses who had been threatened were more accurate in their recall and remembered 
more details than those who were onlookers and were less emotionally aroused 
● they tested the PTS again 15 months later and this was still the case 
● high levels of stress positively impacted the accuracy of eyewitness memory 
 
 
 
 
Yerkes Dodson Curve (1908) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weapon Focus Effect 
 
Johnson and Scott (1976) 
→ refutes Christianson and Hubinette (1993) 
Aim: to investigate how the ‘weapon focus effect’ affects recall 
 
Procedure: in their original experiment Loftus et al used two conditions, one with weapon and one 
without 
 
● in both conditions participants heard a discussion in the room next to them 
● in condition 1 a man emerged holding a pen with grease on his hands 
● in condition 2 the man was holding a penknife covered in blood and the discussion got more 
heated 
 
Findings: when asked to identify a man from 50 photos, 
→ PPs in condition 1 were 49% accurate 
→ PPs in condition 2 were 33% accurate 
 
Conclusion: it can be concluded that the weapon may have distracted attention from the person holding 
it and therefore may explain why eyewitnesses have poor recall for certain details of violent crimes 
 
^^ ​Loftus (1979)  
→ concluded that the PPs who were exposed to the knife had higher levels of anxiety and were more 
likely to focus their attention to the weapon 
 
∴ levels of anxiety associated with seeing a weapon affects the accuracy of eyewitness testimony 
 
 
14 November 2018 
 
Age of Witness 
 
● children are becoming more evident in court cases (e.g. child abuse) 
● evidence suggests diminishing of cognitive amongst the elderly (e.g. dementia) 
 
Parker and Carranza (1989) 
→ compared primary school vs. college students to identify an individual following a mock crime 
● primary children were found to make more errors 
 
Yarney (1993) 
● stopped 651 adults and asked the physical characteristics of a young woman they had met for 15 
seconds, 2 mins earlier 
● young (18-29) and middle aged (30-44) were more confident but not less accurate 
 
Effects of Delay 
 
Memon et al (2003) 
→ studied the accuracy of young (16-33) and older (60-82) eyewitnesses 
 
When the delay between seeing the incident and identification was short (35 mins), 
● there was no difference in the accuracy of the two age groups 
● when there was a delay of a week, older participants were significantly less accurate 
 
 
Alcohol 
 
● reduces concentration levels and STM 
 
Clifasefi (2006)  
→ found that 82% of intoxicated PPs failed to see a man dressed up whilst observing another task 
● this relates to the term ‘Alcohol Myopia’  
● the more intoxicated you are the less attention paid to stimulus  
○ Steele and Josephs (1990) 
 
 
The Role of Emotion in Memory 
 
● enhance our memory 
● impair our memory 
 
How does emotions impair our memory?