Remembering & Forgetting 

Organization of Memories

    Network theory of memory organization - In the network model, knowledge is stored in "a network of 
interrelated propositions." Networks are simple "node-link" structures which can be related in 
complex ways. You might think of a network as a collection of contents ("propositions") which are 
interconnected in very specific ways that reveal important relationships. Information is filed 
in interconnected nodes or categories.

    Forgetting Curves - Hermann Ebbinghaus found that the familiar & interesting are remembered 60% 
longer than nonsense syllables.

Four reasons for forgetting:

1. Repression (Freud)
2. Retrieval cues (poor)
3. Amnesia - the result of brain injury, disease, or trauma
4. Interference - Most forgetting occurs because of interference, similar events, or experiences make it 
    difficult for us to retrieve the information for which we are searching.
    * Proactive interference - old info blocks retrieval of new info.
    * Retroactive interference - new info blocks retrieval of old info.

    Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon - Sometimes our inability to retrieve long-term memories is only temporary. 
If you have ever experienced the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon then you have experienced this blocking. 
The shallow encoding of information leads to the forgetting of information and tip-of-the-tongue experiences.

    State-dependent learning - if you learned it when you where sad it is recalled best when you are sad.

*  Location of memories in the brain:
    Cortex: short-term memories - surface activity
        Cortex: long-term memories - dispersed throughout
            Amygdala: adds emotional associations
                Hippocampus: transfers data into long-term memory

    LTP - The Long-Term Potentiation process which changes the structure of the neuron through repetition is 
considered by many neuroscientists to be the most likely basis for learning & memory.


* False memories can be implanted.

* Eyewitnesses can be misled.

* Questions can be worded in such a way as to change answers.

* Source misattribution is a memory error that occurs when the participant cannot distinguish whether the 
original event or some later event was the true source of the information.

The cognitive interview technique works best.

Mnemonics are structured ways to help people remember & recall information.

     First Letter Mnemonics & Acronyms use the first letter of each word or phrase to be remembered to 
make a meaningful word or phrase. Each letter of the phrase then stands for one feature of the 
to-be-recalled information.

     Method of loci - the learner associates parts of the to-be-recalled material with different places 
(usually, rooms in a familiar building or sites along an often traveled road) in the order that they are to be 
recalled. It is helpful to have the learner imagine the to-be-recalled material to be interacting with features 
of the specific locations along their journey. During recall, the learner takes an imaginary walk through 
the building or down the road and retrieves the different memorial items.
    Peg method: An encoding technique that creates associations between word-number rhymes & items 
to be memorized.

     Note: Improving memory requires making the effort to use good associations, such as the elaborative 
rehearsal, which means creating good associations that in turn, produce good retrieval cues &
improve memory.

                 Topics in Psychology
                      Robert C. Gates