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EDUC7019 Cognition and Learning

Topic 4: Memory and Remembering

• A brother and sister were driving along. The

passenger turned up the stereo and sat back to
relax. Suddenly rain started pelting down. The
driver turned on the windscreen wipers and
tried to peer through the gloom. Exasperated,
she turned to the passenger "For heaven’s
sake, turn down that stereo, I can't see a
• Why do you think the stereo interfered with
the driver's vision?


Before the lecture

Consider the following scenarios:

You are on your way to meet a friend. Another

friend gives you a message to pass on when you
You pass a shop window where you see
something that might be the perfect thing for your
mother’s birthday. It’s expensive, so you would like
to discuss it with your sister as a shared gift.

How would you remember these things, without using an

electronic device?

• Information processing Required reading
approach • Henry, L. (2012). (Ch.1: The
• Perceptual processes working memory model, pp. 1-
(sensory store)
• Buchsbaum, B. R., &
• Three distinctive features of D’Esposito, M. (2013). Working
working memory memory.
• Why we forget and how to Recommended reading
improve memory • Dirksen, J. (2012). (Ch.4: How
• Implications for teaching do we remember? pp. 83-123).
and learning (practical examples, easy to
• Activity understand)
Note: also refer to Duchesne and
McMaugh’s chapter (2016) in Topic
1 for the Information processing


Information processing approach

• One of the most common ways of theorising about
memory is through the information processing approach
• Information is handled by a sequence of stages, each
stage has a specific function, and then information
moves to the next stage until the person responds or
stores the information in memory
• Several different models of information processing, e.g.
Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) – information passes through
3 types of memory processing stages – Sensory Store,
Short Term Store and Long Term Store

Memory is a complex and multi-faceted aspect of

human cognitive processes. 5

Information processing model

(= Multistore Model of Memory, adapted from Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968)


Information processing model

Also watch animated explanations on 5

Sensory store -
Perceptual processes
• Perception – use of previous knowledge to interpret the
stimuli registered by the senses
• Many perceptual processes
• Focus on 3 perceptual processes

1. Sensory memory/register

2. Pattern recognition

3. Selective attention


1. Sensory memory/register
1. Also known as sensory storage or sensory
2. Large capacity, very brief duration, senses held in
multimodal or unprocessed/non-encoded form
e.g. iconic (visual) and echoic (auditory) memory
3. Sensory memory stores information like a screening
device which holds information just long enough to be
sorted from the rest and transferred to the Short Term
Memory store or Working Memory

Senses are the interface,

not the location for thinking.

2. Pattern recognition
Identification of complex arrangement of sensory
stimuli (e.g. letters of the alphabet, face) – the
earliest and simplest form of memory Link to: Cocktail
• Brain is very good at recognising information Party Effect
when it has been attended to and received before = phenomenon of
processed. being able to
focus one's
• Recognition easier than recall
auditory attention
- Recognition = only requires matching the on a particular
sensory information to an existing pattern that is stimulus while
in Long Term Memory filtering out a
range of other
- Recall = to do the above and to find a linked
• Recognition is influenced by context

Why ‘pattern’ is important?



3. Selective attention
• Attention = concentration of mental
activity Watch 2 videos
• is guided by the recognition process
(see previous slide) videos.html
• Selective attention = paying attention to
one task only – difficult for young - The original
children – it is learned with selective
age/development - older children focus attention test
their attention more effectively than - The original
younger children. "door" study
• Attention determines if specific
information will undergo deeper
cognitive processing

3. Selective attention (cont.)

• Implications for education
- Orienting/Focusing attention (activate
existing knowledge) - Which aspects of the
task are critical?
- Activities need to be of interest to young
children – so that the activities hold their
attention – later the children will learn to
control their attention deliberately and
- Maximising selective attention (distinguish
between interesting and important elements)
- Sustain attention (rewards, encouragement)
 Keep at the task until it’s finished


Note about ADD and ADHD

• Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): fail to pay attention
or concentrate – finds selective attention very difficult
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):
also has excess motor activity, and motor behaviour
is haphazard, poorly organised and not goal-directed


Short Term Memory (STM) and

Working Memory (WM)
• Phrase “Short Term Memory” used by Atkinson and
Shiffrin (1968) = a short term store
• Baddeley and Hitch (1974) re-described it as “working
memory” - should not be seen as a static store, but a set
of dynamic processes
• Today more commonly referred to as Working Memory
o STM is that a person is currently using, small amount,
keep in an active state for a short period of time = is
relative fragile
o WM = where we bring information to consciousness to
work on it


Working Memory -
Three distinctive features
1. Rehearsal and the
phonological/articulatory loop

2. Multisensory representations

3. Limited capacity


1. Rehearsal and the articulatory loop

• Decay in about ½ min, items forgotten in WM due to
decay and interference
• If information is needed for longer then it can be
restored by “rehearsal” – this can be done repeatedly
- Therefore rehearsal holds info in STM
• Rehearsal - also used to transfer info from STM to
• More recent theories - esp. work of Baddeley –
process of rehearsal has been reconfigured in
“phonological loop” or “articulatory loop” - refers
to conscious rehearsal of verbal information – an
inner voice

• Educational implication:
- Promote the rehearsal experiences and strategies of
children in early years - quantity and quality 16


2. Multisensory representations
• Our STM is multisensory e.g. can hold
visual images in our minds
- idea of “visuo-spatial sketch pad”
(a system within WM)
• Representing information in more than
one modality appears to improve

• Educational implication:
- Teach students to represent
information and their understanding
of information in more than one
modality, esp. in maths and problem
solving 17

3. Limited capacity
• Estimates 7±2 items can be retained in WM
• As new information enters, some existing information is
• There is a developmental sequence to WM - As we grow
a) an increase in the speed and automaticity of the
execution of memory processes,
b) our knowledge base improves (Chi, 1978), and
c) self-awareness and control of our cognitive processes



3. Limited capacity (cont.)

• Educational implications:
- is fundamental to wide range of cognitive
activity – children often have problems with Read the following
line of letters, cover
tasks, not because they do not understand but them as soon as
because they cannot hold sufficient info in their you’ve finished
mind – see this in young children reading. See how
many you can recall.
- consider Cognitive Load Theory (Chandler &
Sweller, 1991)  careful instructional design TVABCSBSVHS

o too many attentional demands lead to Try to repeat the

reduced performance, teachers can help by experiment with the
list of letters again.
simplifying materials and instructions How many did you
- using external memory aids – e.g. written notes, remember this time?
technology gadgets TV ABC SBS VHS
- restructuring knowledge (promote chunking)
- importance of teaching scaffolding – providing
support in terms of reminders

Long Term Memory

= declarative memory = procedural memory



Long Term Memory (LTM)

• LTM = long term store=
relatively permanent
• 3 kinds/components as below Semantic
= they depend on different
kinds of representations and
store different types of Episodic
knowledge (Tulvin, 1985)
• These modes of Procedural
representation (next slides –
1, 2, 3 – emerge in this order
- but there are interactions
among them


1. Semantic memory (a form of

declarative memory)
• Relies on our skill of symbolic representation – esp. seen in our
development and use of language
• System used to remember thoughts, ideas, general rules,
principles, concepts etc. which we infer from our experiences
• The system is constantly restructured – as we organise and
reorganise our internal models of the world - make categories,
connections, elaborations, invent, make new webs of meaning

 Implication:
build semantic networks = organise
information into meaningful relationships or
1. the strength of the connections and
2. the extent of the connections


2. Episodic memory
• Also a form of declarative memory but related to specific
events and experiences, e.g. what happened at your
graduation, or when you started your first job
• The most significant - visual record, but includes all senses
• Fixed and iconic nature of the memories (e.g. retracing to
find a key = re-running our experiences)
 Implication:
• remind ourselves of context in which
we originally learnt something =
effective way of recalling information
or placing info in a story (e.g.
storytelling games), dramatising
something, use of a jingle = use
episodic memory to help individuals
learn and remember 23

3. Procedural memory
• An implicit memory, allowing action to be performed unconsciously,
about ‘how to’ knowledge – stored first in the motor cortex, then
sent to the cerebellum
• When needed, they are automatically retrieved and utilised for the
execution of the integrated procedures involved in both cognitive
and motor skills, from tying shoes to flying a plane to reading
• They are accessed and used without the need for conscious
control or attention – created through ‘procedural learning’ or
repeating a complex activity again and again.

 Implication:
– implicit procedural learning is essential to
the development of any motor skill or
cognitive activity
- linking new information to actions can be
very helpful


What do we learn from these

distinctive features of LTM?
• Encoding strategies
o rehearsal (e.g., reciting, shadowing, copying,
underlining, verbatim)
o organisation (e.g., clustering, categorising and
grouping, outlining, networking, diagramming)
o elaboration (transform new knowledge using imagery,
key words, paraphrasing, summarising, self-questioning,
creating analogies, generative note-taking)
• The more frequently knowledge is activated, the more easily
it will be remembered
• Develop metacognition (self monitoring) – detail in Weeks 7
and 8

Why we forget

• The strength/weakness of the connections and the

extent of the connections? (Most likely reason)
• The information in the working memory was never
effectively transferred to the long-term memory?
• Use it or lose it? - The information is not used for a long
period and so it appears to fade or decay
• Interference? - Memories interfere with one another
(especially similar memories) – making it difficult to
access old memories
• Cue dependent forgetting? Forgetting occurs when
encoding context and retrieval context do not match –
forget the cue, forget the memory 26


Improving memory
• Recall is superior when:
– It is processed at a “deep” level in terms of its meaning or in terms
of its self-reference
– If context at recall matches context at encoding
– When people use imagery
• Chunking (combining small units into larger units – usually
applied to STM)
• Organisation - refers to LTM – people spontaneously organise
• Mediation = internal code in which extra material is added to
items to make them more memorable e.g., composing a word
or a sentence based on the first letter of each item, or making
up a story based on the items.
– Other mnemonic techniques e.g., rhymes, initials
– External memory aids e.g., lists, notes, timers

• View:
– Improving Students’ Long Term
Memory from Donna Walker-
Tileston's Ten Best Teaching

 What other techniques can be used

to assist your students to remember?



More about perception and attention

• Students with learning difficulties may have problems

with perception, attention and/or memory.
• One of the main websites about “learning difficulties”
(“learning disabilities” in the United States) is “LDonline”.
• You may wish to check out one or two articles from this
website related to: perception and attention. Here is an
article from LDonline on each topic.


Memory – Tips for your students?

Tips for you?
• You may wish to check out one or two articles
from this website related to memory which is
one of the topics we have addressed in today’s
lecture. Here are two short articles with ideas for
storing information and enhancing memory.



Implications for teaching and learning

Consider each phase of the information processing model of cognition
when planning learning experiences e.g.:
• Sensory memory: Engage senses; highlight key information;
avoid distractors
• Working memory: avoid “overload”; promote use of rehearsal
strategies and managing attention; chunking; automaticity of key
processes and skills
• Long term memory: activate prior knowledge; “revisit” key
understandings to maintain; build a repertoire of effective learning
strategies; build well organised LTM; prompts and cues for recall
• Promote metacognition: awareness, monitoring and control;
teaching how to learn
• Positive and supportive emotional context: Encouraging,
stimulating and secure classroom emotional climate; appropriate
support and levels of challenge for individuals


 Construct a concept map for

the key ideas in memory,
remembering and forgetting.
Post it on Discussion Board.
 Think and discuss: What
can we do to make learning
more memorable for those
children who have difficulty

Concept map:
Refer to Nesbit, J. & Olusola, O. (2006). Learning with concept and knowledge maps: A meta- 32
analysis. Review of Educational Research, 76(3), 413-448. doi: 10.3102/00346543076003413


After this lecture

• Pre-read Week 5’s readings – Topic:
Memory and Learning (with a focus on