AQA GCSE Psychology – Memory
This Chapter Covers:
Chapter 1: Memory
- Processes of memory
- Different types of memory
- Episodic memory
- Semantic memory
- Procedural memory
- How memories are encoded and stored
- Different types of memory
- Structures of memory
- The multi-store memory model
- Sensory memory store
- Short-term memory store
- Long-term memory store
- The features of each store
- The multi-store memory model
- Primacy and recency effects
- The effects of serial position
- Murdock’s serial position curve study
- Memory as an active process
- The Theory of Reconstructive Memory, including the concept of ‘effort after meaning’
- Bartlett’s War of the Ghosts study
- Factors affecting the accuracy of memory, including interference, context and false memories
Chapter 2: Perception
- Sensation and perception
- Visual cues and constancies
- Monocular depth cues: height in plane, relative size, occlusion and linear perspective
- Binocular depth cues: retinal disparity, convergence
- Gibson’s direct theory of perception and the influence of nature
- Role of motion parallax in everyday perception
- Evaluating Gibson’s direct theory of perception and the influence of nature
- Visual illusions
- Explanations for visual illusions: ambiguity, misinterpreted depth cues, fiction, size constancy.
- Examples of visual illusions: the Ponzo, the Müller-Lyer, Rubin’s vase, the Ames Room, the Kanizsa triangle and the Necker cube
- Gregory’s constructivist theory of perception and the influence of nature
- Evaluating Gregory’s theory of perception
- Factors affecting perception
- Perceptual set and the effects of the following factors affecting perception: culture, motivation, emotion, expectation
- The Gilchrist and Nesberg study of motivation and the Bruner and Minturn study of perceptual set
Chapter 3: Development
- Early brain development
- A basic knowledge of brain development, from simple neural structures in the womb, of the brain stem, thalamus, cerebellum and cortex, reflecting the development of autonomic functions, sensory processing, movement and cognition
- The roles of nature and nurture
- Piaget’s stage theory and the development of intelligence
- Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development including concepts of assimilation and accommodation
- The role of Piaget’s theory in education
- The four stages of development: sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational. Application of these stages in education. Reduction of egocentricity, development of conservation
- McGarrigle and Donaldson’s ‘naughty teddy study’; Hughes’ ‘policeman doll study’
Chapter 4: Research Methods
- Formulation of testable hypotheses
- Types of variable
- Sampling methods
- Designing research
- Research procedures
- Planning and conducting research
- Ethical considerations
- Quantitative and qualitative data
- Primary and secondary data
- Descriptive statistics
- Interpretation and display of quantitative data
- Normal distributions
Chapter 5: Social Influence
- Prosocial behaviour
- Crowd and collective behaviour
Chapter 6: Language, Thought and Communication
- The possible relationship between language and thought
- The effect of language and thought on our view of the world
- Differences between human and animal communication
- Non-verbal communication
- Explanations of non-verbal behaviour
Chapter 7: Brain and Neuropsychology
- Structure and function of the nervous system
- Neuron structure and function
- Structure and function of the brain
- An introduction to neuropsychology
Chapter 8: Psychological Problems
- An introduction to mental health
- How the incidence of significant mental health problems changes over time
- Effects of significant mental health problems on individuals and society
- Characteristics of clinical depression
- Theories of depression
- Interventions or therapies for depression
- Characteristics of addiction
- Theories of addiction
- Interventions or therapies for addiction
What is memory?
Processes of memory
- Recall: This type of retrieval is associated with remembering information as we search out memory. For example we may be asked a question such as “What is the capital of Thailand?” – To answer this we may need to recall the answer which is located within our memory.
- Recognition: This involves us being presented with items and being asked if we remember any of them from a previous exposure.
- Re-learning: Re-learning involves us being exposed to something we may have learn’t previously but have since forgotten (or so we think) and then once exposed to it again later, we are tasked with re-learning this information but it usually doesn’t take as long as it did to initially learn it and we pick it up much faster. An example of this may be a song we knew when we were younger but have since forgotten; When exposed to it as an adult we may re-learn it faster.
Structures of memory
The multi-store memory model
The short-term memory store (STM)
Primacy and Recency effects in recall
Primacy refers to the fact that items at the beginning of a list are in a primary position and us being more likely to remember items in this position is referred to as the primacy effect.
Recency refers to items on a list being at the end of a list and thus presented more recently as they are the last items we read. The fact that we are likely to also remember items in this position is referred to as the recency effect.
The effects of serial position
The sensory information store (SIS)
The long-term memory store (LTM)
Evaluating the multi-store memory model
- A major strength of this model is that the predictions around memory can be easily tested to verify whether it applies to human behaviour. The evidence supports the idea of STM and LTM being separate types of memory and it has been verified through the use of PET scans and FMRI scans when participants have been doing separate tasks related to short-term memory and long-term. The prefrontal cortex is seen to relate to STM while the hippocampus associated with longterm memory supporting the models idea of different memory stores.
- The theory is unable to explain how we are able to remember information that we do not rehearse and repetition does not necessarily make it easier to remember the information. For example we can recall our activities last weekend without rehearsal yet in other situations such as an exam; we may still struggle to recall information we have rehearsed. Other research suggests us understanding the meaning of information or how to put it into our own words is more important than simply repetition which undermines this explanation.
Murdock’s serial position curve study 1962
Evaluating Murdock’s serial position curve study
The participants in this study were given lists of words to remember which is not the same use of memory in everyday life. In the real world people use their memory to remember tasks they need to do, exams, work and general day to day life. Therefore it could be argued the study lacks ecological validity due to its artificial setup. The study involved students who were all of a similar age and studying a psychology course. Due to the specific demographic involved in the study it raises the question as to whether the results can be generalised across different age groups or people of different backgrounds. For example the students may try and work out the aim of the study and alter the results accordingly or display demand characteristics. Additionally the students were required to repeat the study over 80 times and this could have affected their genuine effort levels meaning their recollection or efforts could have been affected by low motivation.
Memory as an active process
The theory of reconstructive memory
Bartlett’s War Of The Ghosts (1932)
War of the ghosts study – Key findings:
• Details such as ghosts were omitted. • The story was recalled more logically and shaped to fit together better than the original. • Details were changed to more familiar concepts to the person; for example canoes were changed to cars, bows and arrows changed to guns. • The ordering of the story was also changed.
Evaluating Reconstructive Memory And Bartlett’s War Of The Ghosts Story
- Results appear to support the reconstructive explanations of memory which suggest’s memory is altered to fit in with individuals rather than a recording of events.
- The model also explains everyday aspects of our memory and why we may have “failures” and why we do not accurately recall everything as they occur. For example this study helps us understand why people may remember events incorrectly as it may be down to errors in reconstruction rather than wilful attempts to mislead or malfunctions in processing.
- The study and findings may lack validity as students may have consciously change the story or intentionally change it due to demand characteristics and wanting to make the story more entertaining. The story may have simply been misheard as it was being told to them suggesting this may not be sufficient enough evidence for the reconstructive memory having validity as an explanation.
- The reconstructive memory model makes predicting behaviour difficult and a good explanation for memory should make prediction possible for it to have credibility. The reconstructive model of memory does not predict how experiences or emotions can affect memories but simply gives principles of how reconstruction may work.