Langston, Cognitive Psychology, Notes 7 -- Processing
Note:  Some of the memory demonstrations that we will do in class will be messed up if you have advance knowledge of them.  I encourage you to preview the notes before class, but try to skip the parts about the memory demonstrations.
I.  Goals.
A.  Where we are/themes.
B.  Memory codes, encoding specificity, and transfer appropriate processing.
C.  Distinctiveness.
D.  Sum up memory so far.
II.  Where we are/themes.
A.  Here are some situations:
1.  What are some specific strategies to increase the amount I remember after I study?
2.  I study for hours and hours, but don’t seem to remember much (especially long-term).  Why isn’t studying working for me?
We’ll see if we can answer these questions.
B.  Where we are.  We’ve worked out a pretty complicated model of the processing system.  The original model had boxes for sensory register, short-term memory, and long-term memory.
In our discussion of memory (both short-term memory and long-term memory), we added a few extra components to this.  Now, we’re scrapping the box approach and turning to processing.  It’s not where you put information that counts, it’s what you do with the information.
Levels of processing:  Material can be processed at a shallow level (attention to physical features) up to a deep level (attention to meaning).  Generally, the deeper the processing the better your memory will be.
C.  Themes.
1.  Do we really need to separate long-term memory from short-term memory?
2.  What is deeper processing?  What does it do to memory?
III.  Memory codes, encoding specificity, and transfer appropriate processing.
A.  Memory codes.  Deeper processing is really just different types of memory codes.  Attending to meaning is different from attending to the sounds of a word.  Generating a memory using each code requires different amounts of effort.  Let’s have a demonstration of that.
Demonstration:  We'll do a word list with tasks.  We'll repeat it, but I'll read the list.
This demonstration is based on Craik and Tulving (1975).  They had similar tasks and found a memory order that went from structural to sound to meaning.  So, we found that deeper is really more work (different from more time).  In particular, when you changed the format of the word from the presentation modality (verbal, visual) it helped.  Meaning processing is even better.  Can we show that more work with meaning will lead to different amounts of memory?  Yes.  Here’s a demonstration with three kinds of semantic tasks.
Demonstration:  I’ll present a list of words.  There will be three tasks.  We'll look at the effect of different semantic tasks.

Now, we can answer the first question.  What strategies can I use to remember more?  Make your studying more effortful.  To the extent that you can access more prior information (like your self concept) the better you’ll do.  To the extent that you mix in different modalities, the better you’ll do.
This version of deeper processing also suggests one reason for better memory for deep processing.  Deeper processing generates more cues to use in recall.  We saw earlier that more cues improves the search part of retrieval (the effortful part).
B.  Encoding specificity.  Another aspect of a processing account is encoding specificity.  The most effective retrieval cues will be the ones that you used during the original learning.  Here’s the rule:  The best retrieval cues will be ones that match the cues used to learn.  For example, context can matter.  Baddeley had divers learn some words on land and recall under water.  He also had the reverse situation.  When learning and remembering took place in different contexts, memory was worse than for the same context.  But, for less extreme situations, these effects can be weak.  One kind of context is the other stuff you’re studying.  If stuff that’s studied together is recalled together, that should be good (the encoding context matches the retrieval context).  If they don’t match, that’s bad.
This was investigated by Thomson and Tulving (1970).  They made a list of word pairs that were strongly related (black-white) or weakly related (black-train).  They presented the words together for learning.  For recall, if you learned with weak associates, memory was better if you were tested with the weak associates (present associate, recall related word).  If the strong associates were presented as cues when people learned with the weak associates, memory was worse.  So, the context can screw you up if the retrieval context is different from the study context.  This is true even if the retrieval context is really better (more related).

CogLab:  We'll look at the results of our encoding specificity demonstration.

This also says a lot about what "forgetting" is.  We've considered interference and decay so far.  We need to add retrieval failure.  The information isn't gone at all, you just can't access it.  Why not?  No cues.  If you could construct the right retrieval cue, you would be surprised to find that the information is in there just as it was when you could get at it.  In other words, there's no such thing as forgetting, it's a function of not being able to construct a cue.  A good analogy is to think of the library.  If a book is in its right place it's both available and accessible.  If a book is mis-shelved, it's available in the sense that its contents are still in the library, but it's not accessible because the usual retrieval cue (call number) won't be useful in finding it.  If someone could come up with a proper cue, the contents of the book would be accessible again.  (Maybe that's why when you hear a song you haven't heard in a long time, a flood of memories comes back.  I know I have summer and winter songs based on when I first heard them.)  Note that this is probably restricted to long term memory.  What we said about interference in short term memory is still true, and interference probably plays a role in retrieval failure as well.  Let's have a demonstration of retrieval failure (I found this to be pretty stunning when I tried it on myself).
Demonstration:  I’ll present a list of sentences.  You'll have three seconds per sentence, and you will be asked to recall these later.  Present sentences, recall.  Now, here's a list of retrieval cues.  Write as many sentences as you can think of based on these cues.  What you should find is that even though you couldn't recall a lot of the sentences (suggesting that they had been forgotten), once you have a cue they're right there.
Implication for studying:  Think of retrieval cues when you're studying.  Make rich representations with lots of potential cues, relate information in the notes in as many ways as possible so that one topic could cue a different topic.  Think about it like this:  If you treated each sentence in the demonstration as an isolated element, then the cue for a sentence will only buy you that sentence.  However, if you also made cross-associations (for example a sheet is a sail and a boat is a shelter, so imagine some conglomeration of those things), then a cue to one sentence will buy you two or more sentences.  In your notes, enriching the encoding cues opens up new retrieval avenues and will help prevent retrieval failure.  Note how this is a kind of deeper processing.
Another issue to consider is cue overload.  If you try to relate too much information to a single cue, it won't be much use at retrieving any of the information.  By expanding the connections and opening up more cues, you can prevent that from happening.
C.  Transfer-appropriate processing.  Another aspect of a processing account is transfer-appropriate processing.  The type of deep task you use should be based on the type of retrieval task you’ll be using.  Two retrieval tasks you know about are recognition (multiple choice) and recall (essay).  The best studying strategy for each of these is different.  For essay, you want to organize and attend to the overall structure of the material.  For multiple choice, you want to pay more attention to details, and less to overall structure.
Morris, Bransford, and Franks (1977) tested this general idea.  They had two kinds of tasks and two kinds of tests.  The tasks were meaning and rhyming.  The tests were a standard recognition test and a rhyming test.  Here’s a layout:
Encoding task Standard recognition test Rhyming test 
Does _____ rhyme with legal (eagle) 63% 49%
Does _____ have feathers (eagle) 84% 33% 
So, for a regular memory test, deeper processing was better (attending to meaning beats rhyming).  But, for a rhyming test (which emphasizes sound) memory is better if you attended to sound when learning (rhyme beats meaning).
One implication of this is the effect maintenance rehearsal will have.  Theoretically, maintenance rehearsal should increase familiarity.  The more times you repeat something, the stronger its representation in memory should become.  However, this won't be much use in a recall task because you need to think of a cue to access the item before you can decide if it's familiar.  So, maintenance rehearsal will do virtually nothing to recall (we saw that in the last set of notes), but that's just part of the story.  If you're doing a recognition task the test itself provides the cue, familiarity would be the only thing you'd need to decide if you'd seen it before.  Since it's automatically computed, maintenance rehearsal should make recognition better.  Glenberg, Smith, and Green (1977) investigated this.  People did various amounts of maintenance rehearsal using a task similar to the one I used to get you to do various amounts of maintenance rehearsal.  Then, they either recalled the list or recognized it.  More maintenance rehearsal did nothing to improve recall, but more maintenance rehearsal did increase recognition.  So, the process used worked OK for one kind of retrieval task, but not for another.
The take-home message:  Match the encoding (learning) processes with the retrieval (test) processes to maximize recall.  In spite of Glenberg, et al. (1977), I would still advise that deeper processing is better.  More maintenance rehearsal will improve memory on a recognition (multiple choice) type task, but richer cues will still give you more.  The real issue is do you want to learn it for the test, or do you want to learn it forever?
D.  Kind of elaboration.  You want to make precise elaborations when you do deeper processing.  So, try to emphasize the relevant features in your studying.  Example:  “the fat man read the sign about thin ice” will help you remember “fat” better than “the fat man read the sign that was about two feet tall.”  That’s why there are differences between meaning tasks.  Some make more precise elaborations.
Anderson and Ortony (1975) presented some evidence that remembering something is a constructive process that includes the context surrounding the information.  For example, if people read Pianos can be pleasing to listen to, music would be a better recall cue for piano than if people read Pianos can be difficult to move.  Alternatively, heavy is a better cue for the second sentence.  The context itself provides elaboration of the concept and determines what the effective cues will be.
Implication:  Different nuances of the words will be cued by the context, and it will take something like that context to retrieve those nuances.  You can control the nuances that get into memory and the kinds of cues that are required by controlling elaboration during studying.
E.  Put it all together:  Why is deeper processing better?
1.  It leads to different memory codes.  This might give more retrieval cues.
2.  The better the learning context and the retrieval context match, the better.  (The more effective those cues will be.)
3.  The more the code generated at learning matches the code needed for retrieval, the better.
4.  The more precise the elaboration, the better.  (To ensure that the appropriate cues are available, make the right elaborations.
IV.  Distinctiveness.  A last way that deeper processing helps is by increasing distinctiveness.  Schmidt (1991) described four kinds of distinctiveness.
A.  Primary:  If an item on a list is different from other items on the same list, it is distinctive.  (A red word on a list of words in black ink.)
B.  Secondary:  If an item is different from other items in long-term memory, it is distinctive.  (Oddly shaped words like “khaki” or “lymph”.)
C.  Emotional:  If a strong emotional context accompanies an item, it is distinctive.  (Space shuttle explosion.)
D.  Processing:  If a word receives a different kind of processing, it is distinctive.  (Categorize vs. rhyme if you only rhyme one word.)
Does deeper processing make words more distinctive?  Theoretically, yes.  There are only 26 letters, so there will be a lot of overlap in a visual representation, which means lots of proactive interference.  There are more sounds, so less overlap.  There are even more meaning features, so that’s the best.  When you construct a retrieval cue, the less stuff it matches, the more useful it will be.  If encoding makes items distinctive, then you’ll have fewer matches to each retrieval cue, and you’ll get better memory.
Take-home message:  Make the items you study distinctive so you reduce buildup of proactive interference.
V.  Sum up memory so far.  We have a pretty complicated set of memory facts on our plate.  Let’s have one more demonstration to make it all come together.
Demonstration:  I will present one more list of words.  Memorize the whole list.  Present at 2 second rate.  After last word, recall.  Now, let’s use the score sheet.

Cognitive Psychology Notes 7
Will Langston

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