12 thoughts on “Memory system”

  1. Information approach theory of Atkinson and Sheffrin, pioneered new view of memory as a cognitive system. Further Tulvin made a revision by adding elaborative rehearsal as main control process for memory (Tulving and Craik).
    However the most interesting finding of Tulving was Episodic memory. Now it’s very established that declarative memory does include episodic as well along with semantic memory.
    This lead to all new study that time and space information is also critical to memory.
    Episodic memory can be anything which we remember in reference to the occurrence of the event, like- the very first day our college.
    This provided impetus to studies on individual specific memories and reinforces the fact that we do construct our memory in a very subjective and specific manner.
    Elizabeth Loftus did many studies on Eyewitness Testimony, which is one of the most attractive field of study for psychologists.
    In an experiment she demonstrated that we don’t keep exact stimulus but we fill the gaps, construct, reconstruct and modify the memory.
    In her experimental volunteers pretended and shouted that their video camera got theft, the subjectsame saw a person putting hand in bag and running away. However there was no video camera in the bag.
    Result- The subjects were able to recall the colour of the camera, somewhere even sure about the brand, while informing to the authority.
    This shows how they constructed and filled the gaps in original memory.
    Loftus was of the view that eyewitnesses are not as reliable we take them, particularly when the time duration is long and personal emotions are attached.
    Her findings also showed that framing the question also influences the construction of memory among the subjects.
    These studies of Loftus and theories of Tulving allows study of memory more broader. Now the psychologists have subjects for field experiments thigh episodic memory of subjects and eyewitness study.
    Further the recent trend is getting interest in autobiographical memory also. This is because they are live subjects for study of memory.
    But the issue is how to confirm that such memory as reported by subjects is accurate?
    Linton followed the trend of Ebbinghaus and made a study on herself.
    She used to keep at least 2 notes of daily events and she continued for 6 years.
    She found something similar to Ebbinghaus that the autobiographical memory is also a decreasing function of time. She forget more from earlier years.
    However these memories were not reducing at such a fast rate but relatively note enact. She fold a very slow rate of decay, of around 5% per year.
    Thus this makes its study even more interesting.
    Thus the modern focus of study is towards finding such situations and cases where we get opportunity to study the memory without lab setting and under ethical constrains.

  2. Tulving, one of the leading figures in memory research suggested our memory is based on Multi store model.
    Our memory is divided as non declarative or procedural (memory of skills) and declarative (memory of facts).

    Procedural memory is the memory of how to do things. It includes tying shoelaces, writing, playing an instrument etc.
    Declarative memory is divided as semantic which contains general facts and episodic which contains personal information.
    This research helped modern neuroscientists in understanding patients with memory loss.

    Another research by Tulving showed that in some situations unrehearsed information is recalled more accurately than reheased information. This is commonly seen in episodic memory where without much rehearsal the memory easily encoded and later recalled.

    Elizabeth Loftus in her research found that out memory is prone to distortions.
    The eyewitness testimony experiments proved that our LTM can have inaccuracies and distortions at the time of recall. This research proved that our memory is dynamic.

    Recent trends in memory research mainly focuses on studying memory in natural settings instead of conducting tests on non sense syllables.

    Our memory is constructive, is one of the recent findings. Researchers have found that we add to already stored information in memory. Moreover the jist of information is encoded rather than word by word storage.

    Studies of our memory drawing inferences is also a recent trend. Inference is the process by which we fill in information missing in a story using knowledge already stored in memory.
    But sometimes inferences can also convey false piece of information. For example an advertisement of Aspirin read “aspirin, best to cure all aches except headache”. After several years a person may recall, “aspirin, best to cure headache”.
    Study by Fredrick Bartlett also proved that we make distortions in our memory based on some predispositions or when new information does not fit any existing schema.

    Other recent researchs are related to studying Amnesia and how memory is affected in amnesia.

    Memory researchers are also trying to find ways to reduce forgetfulness and enhance memory by use of various memory techniques.

    In essence the new trends focus more on applications and study of memory in natural settings rather that researching on internal structure of memory.

    1. Suitable framework.. Refine the content of the answer. Add encoding specificity hypothesis. The part related recent trends is suitable but should be more exact.

  3. Tulving formulated a model of memory in which he stated that our explicit (declarative) memory i.e. which can be reported verbally, is classified into two types:
    1. Episodic Memory : It is that memory which is related to particular events in our life which were acquired at a specific time and a place and which can be precisely recalled whenever necessary.
    2. Semantic Memory : It is more general in nature and stores information about facts and abstract knowledge with no specific reference to time and place of their acquisition
    This theory is significant in explaining the multi store model of our long-term memory. It is also significant in explaining the Alzheimer’s disease as we tend to forget only particular aspects of our memory

    Loftus research was on “Eyewitness Testimony” and she stated that memory of eyewitness is not fool-proof. And she stated several reasons for errors in our memory :
    1. Wording : Wording of a sentence strongly influences the way we answer to a question.
    2. Suggestibility : We are generally influenced by the person who is investigating
    3. Expectation to be as accurate as possible also leads us to build or perceive information that is not present
    4. Also, sometimes we are influenced by outside stimulus due to our past experiences
    Her research was also significant in proving the concept of “Memory Construction” in which we try to recall information that was actually not present

    Thus, research by both these psychologists was not only important in expanding our knowledge about the way our memory is organised but also the limitations of our human memory system.

    Recent trends in memory research are mostly concentrated in solving the disorders of our memory by expanding our knowledge about the biological bases of our memory. Research on patients suffering from amnesia by Wilson and Wearing found that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by a damage to temporal lobes. Also, research by Teyler & DiScenna suggests that Long term memory may also involve changes in structure of our neurons

  4. Tulving’s Model
    Tulving’s research had a great impact in our understanding of the memory system. Our long term memory system is not static but an active system where new information being encoded is continuously being organized and modified. Tulving divided the Long term memory system into two parts:
    1) Episodic Memory: It included the memories which are recorded in our memory system along with their date and spatial information. We can very vividly describe the events as if we have turn back the clocks to live that moment again. For example the first day at work can be recalled by most of us along with the date and spatial information as we tend to encode it quite differently than other memories.

    2) Semantic Memory: It includes the general knowledge that we possess while learning about various facts around us. We know about those things but we can’t specifically know the time and spatial information when we first got that knowledge. For example Mahatma Gandhi is the father of our nation; we all know this fact but we can’t recall when we first learnt it

    Elizabeth Loftus Research
    Elizabeth Loftus’ research provides great insights about eyewitness testimony. She has demonstrated through a controlled experiment that the eyewitness testimony does not guarantee the actual occurrence of events and a lot of it is constructed and manipulated due to internal or external factors. In her experiment she showed the participants a video of car crash and then based on her questions mentioning the crash as smash/hit, the participants responded about the speed of the cars differently. They were even able to construct other things like breaking of the glass in case of a smash which did not originally happened. Though the conditions were artificial and not natural because of ethical reasons, yet it is beyond doubt that eyewitness construct the event differently based on suggestibility of the seeker.

    Modern trends:
    Modern research has been concentrated about the location of different information in different parts of brain. Evidences like KF and HM show a great contrast in support for the Atkinson model. Other researches where phonological information like in case of a rhyme is better recalled than the semantic information from long term memory clearly shows that Clarke and Lockharte model is not true universally. Memory is quite a complex process and no one or two theories can explain it. Though we have advanced in technology to a great extent yet we are unable to completely decipher the complete functions of different regions of brain. Even a simple task like organization involves different regions of brain as has been shown by a research on a patient where she is able to report distinctions between everything except fruits and vegetables. Hence we still have a long way to go before we can completely decipher the brain completely.

  5. Researches from time to time have focused on understanding how human memory system affects behavior of individual and enhances knowledge.

    Tulving’s Research helped in understanding that Long Term Memory, LTM ( part of memory system described in Atkinson and Shiffrin’s Memory model ) is not unitary but multivariate i.e. he further classified LTM’s declarative part into either episodic or semantic. His finding is significant in understanding how human memory is unique in retaining lot’s of information related to life events, facts, concepts & general awareness. His Research gives insight in understanding as to why humans forget by attributing cause to “failure of retrieval cues”, hence role of retrieval cues in recovering information from memory is important.

    Research by Cognitive psychologist Loftus on False Memory suggests how imagination inflation ( predominantly visualizing less occurring event ) can result in induced memory ( believing that less occurring event was actually main event ) . This explains how human memory is subject to biases in real life situations. Eyewitness Memory case of Loftus finds practical applications for investigative agencies who can be careful while interrogating witnesses ( as Loftus study found how encoding of event gets reconstructed with change in nature of questions asked ) and ensuring justice to victims.

    Recent trends in Memory Researches : Memory studies examine social, cultural, cognitive, political & technological shifts affecting how, what & why individual, groups & societies remember & forget. Brain areas have been found to be associated with memory.

    1. Griffin & Nobre found that when visual stimulus & iconic memory are gone, directly internal attention can still influence Visual Working Memory ( VWM ) representations.
    2. Another findings suggest that retro cues help reduce memory load by removing non cued items from VWM, thus freeing VWM resources to maintain cued items by enhancing efficient use of memory
    3. Studies indicate existence of 3rd memory stage termed Fragile visual STM, seems to exist between iconic memory & robust VWM. This stage would better contribute in understanding dynamic aspect of memory.
    4. New findings suggest that Dorso Lateral Prefrontal Cortex ( DLPFC ) of brain plays crucial role in working memory & aid in maintenance of information by directing attention to internal representations of sensory stimuli.

    While earlier research studies on memory form basis but recent trends indicate that understanding memory is an ongoing process & no single memory model can fully explain nature of human memory.

    1. Be more exact… Conclusion on the recent trends is suitable but you should have identified the major lines of research going in the cognitive sciences where memory is the prime focus of the research.

  6. The right approach :
    As the question asks for the significance of the contribution made by Tulving and Loftus, you must add their research works… And don’t forget to add The encoding specificity principle of memory (Tulving & Thomson, 1973) provides an general theoretical framework for understanding how contextual information affects memory…
    All answers have some substance. Focus on exactness and completeness

  7. Information processing approach to memory was furtherexpanded by Tulving where he further classified long term memory as consisting of separate components viz. semantic and episodic memory. with time he further added another component of procedual memory within LTM .. this could explain the case of HM who had good procedual memory but poor episodic and semantic memory. this also could explain the observations like forgetting in semantic memory is slow compared to episodic memory.

    further tulving emphaisised the relevance of cues in retrieval where he argued that setting cues while encoding information hélps in easy retrieval of the information. this explains use of mnemonics and context effect.

    Loftus opined that our memory is not passive rather it is active and continuously undergoes constructuon and reconstruction. The experiments with eyewitness testimony where just by making fine changes in questions changed the response of the eye witness. for eg.the response varied when the question was ” how much damage happened when cars smashed? and when smashed was replaced by “hit”.

    this way both tulving and loftus contributed to memory.

    recent research on memory is moving away from the computer like model of memory which had a central processor and serial processing to parallel distributive networks where memory is seen as a network of memory processors which are relatively slow but do processing in parallel. The focus is on finding the neurological basis of memory like neuron is seen as the processor which synapses as the connections

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