BHS 499-07 Memory and Amnesia - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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BHS 499-07 Memory and Amnesia


BHS 499-07 Memory and Amnesia Semantic Long-Term Memory Semantic Memory Semantic memory is general knowledge of the world. Are dogs safe? What happens in a restaurant? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: BHS 499-07 Memory and Amnesia

BHS 499-07 Memory and Amnesia
  • Semantic Long-Term Memory

Semantic Memory
  • Semantic memory is general knowledge of the
  • Are dogs safe?
  • What happens in a restaurant?
  • Generalizations that can apply to a variety of
    situations built from previous experiences.

Semantic Priming
  • Priming thinking about one concept brings
    related memories closer to awareness.
  • People respond faster to a concept after it has
    been primed.
  • The prime comes first, then the target
    (associated item), and response times (RTs) are

Memory Structure
  • Semantic memory is structured based on shared
    meaning, not prior associations.
  • Similar concepts in terms of meaning are stored
    closer to each other.
  • Semantic closeness is metaphoric, based on
    response times.
  • Activation spreads to related items.
  • A great deal of repeated use moves items from
    episodic to semantic memory.

Controlled Priming
  • In general, priming is automatic (does not
    require conscious effort).
  • Conscious expectations can change priming
  • In the Category Shift Expected condition, the
    prime signaled the appearance of a different
    category which was then primed.
  • It took a while for the different expectation to
    develop so priming occurs after several trials.

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Mediated Priming
  • How far does activation spread during priming?
  • Lion ? Tiger ? Stripes
  • Does activation spread to Stripes via Tiger?
  • This phenomenon is called mediated priming
    smaller than regular priming.
  • The further you go from the original prime, the
    smaller the activation and less likely the

Semantic Interconnectivity
  • No fan effect in semantic memory more
    associations speed up, not slow down retrieval.
  • Direct and indirect connections provide more ways
    to retrieve info, making it more reliable.
  • As with episodic memory, inhibition occurs, but
    mostly during active retrieval, not when
    passively reading.

Semantic Memory is Embodied
  • In addition to capturing abstract relationships
    among words, storage reflects how we relate to
    the world.
  • Concrete nouns tend to activate the sensory
    cortex because they are things we see and feel
    perceptual effort.
  • Verbs tend to activate the motor cortex because
    they are things we do.

  • Similarity-based grouping in which two or more
    entities are treated as equivalent.
  • Concept a mental construct that contains
    information associated with an idea (a dog).
  • Category a class of concepts to which a set of
    assertions applies (a dog has four legs, may
  • Categories are generalized from repeated
    instances of concepts.

Properties of Categories
  • Levels of categorization
  • Basic, subordinate (detailed), superordinate.
  • We operate on the basic level most often items
    on that level retrieved better faster.
  • Central tendency there is an averaged ideal or
    best member of the category.
  • Graded membership some members are better than
    others (robin vs penguin)

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Definition of the Category
  • Categories are defined in different ways
  • Rules things that are used at the beach,
    numbers divided by 2, kinship (bachelor).
  • Shared features or family resemblance birds,
  • Categories defined by rules or specific features
    are called classical categories.
  • Classical theories dont explain graded
    membership and typicality effects.

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Prototype Theory
  • Categories based on similarity or shared features
    may arise inductively from unconscious mental
  • The typical member may be a statistical average
    of all category members, called a prototype.
  • This theory does not explain how categories
    change over time or how we know their extent.
  • Caricatures emphasizing distinctive features are
    better for comparing across categories.

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Exemplar Theory
  • Rather than reasoning from a derived prototype,
    we use all category members to make decisions.
  • Explains sensitivity to context effects (priming
    of pony mane greater than lions mane).
  • Circularity is a problem
  • How can members define a category if the category
    is needed to identify the members?

Explanation-Based Theory
  • When a category is formed, people try to explain
    why its members go together.
  • Why do wings and feathers go together? Feathers
    help creatures to fly.
  • Ad hoc categories explanations created for a
    group of objects (e.g., things that stink).
  • Psychological essentialism the items grouped
    form natural kinds based on their nature,
    pragmatics, or causality (purpose).

Stereotypes Prejudice
  • Stereotypes are categories for various groups of
  • When use of a stereotype causes someone to treat
    an individual inappropriately that is prejudice.
  • Use of stereotypes is natural and part of normal
    thinking, but we must monitor our use of them for

Ordered Relations
  • Semantic Distance Effect the time it takes to
    make a judgment is proportionate to their
  • Semantic Congruity Effect items are easier to
    judge when they are similar with respect to some
  • Serial Position Effect items at either end are
    easier to judge than the middle.

Schemas Scripts
  • Commonly experienced aspects of life form schemas
    these make it easier to understand new
  • What happens at a birthday party?
  • What happens at a restaurant?
  • Scripts are schemas with a sequence of events
    that occur in a stereotyped fashion.
  • Organized in time, like a script for a play or TV

5 Primary Schema Processes
  • Selection which components are important and
    which are peripheral.
  • Knowing what schema to apply to a situation tells
    you what to pay attention to (Droodles).
  • Ambiguous passages are clarified by schemas
    (washing clothes).
  • Abstraction the surface form is converted to an
    abstract meaning.
  • Drawings change in the direction of meaning.

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Schema Processes (Cont.)
  • Interpretation We infer missing info during
    reading or movies based on the schema (e.g.,
    on/off airplane, infer flight)
  • Integration When we receive info piecemeal, the
    schema lets us put it all together (e.g.,
  • Reconstruction fill in gaps at recall from
    schema (War of the Ghosts).

  • Temporally ordered schemas structured by the main
    components of the event.
  • Preference for going in the forward order.
  • It takes longer to read a script when the next
    step is further along in sequence.
  • People scan the steps in the script.
  • Even when parts are presented in random order
    they are remembered in proper order.

Limits on Schema Use
  • Schemas are not always used.
  • Causes may be inferred from schemas but not
    necessarily effects because a number of outcomes
    may be possible.
  • When a schema is discredited, people will ignore
  • Escaped convict/deer hunter schema changed when
    subjects were told the title was wrong fewer
    schema-related intrusions.

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Semantic Illusions
  • How many animals of each kind did Moses take on
    the ark?
  • 81 of UCSD students got this wrong.
  • What was the famous line uttered by Louis
    Armstrong on the moon?
  • 3 explanations (1) general focus (2) partial
    assessment (3) similar language components
    giving illusion it is known.

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Naïve Physics
  • A semantic illusion of nonverbal memory.
  • Mental models of how the world works do not
    conform to real life physics.
  • Similar to Medieval theories of motion.
  • Less likely to occur with moving models, more
    likely with static drawings.
  • People set thermostat higher so it will heat the
    house faster temperature accelerator.
  • Vision involves emissions from eyes.

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