Subject: Psychology and Education
Topic: Episodic and Semantic Memory
Language: English (U.S.)
Pages: 3
1. Read Chapter 7: Episodic and Semantic Memory 2. Complete one of the following exercises (60 Points) Exercise A. Optional Topic: Create Your Own For every section of the course after the first one, you have the option of designing your own exercise rather than completing one that I have specified. This serves two important purposes. First, it allows people to work on topics about which they have a special interest. Second, it allows people to use free time to work ahead and prepare for unusually busy times or emergencies that might arise. The steps involved in completing this optional exercise are: ·Read the assigned section of the text and identify topics you find interesting. ·Search the Web and locate at least two sites that provide useful information on that topic (or something reasonably closely related). ·Write an essay of at least 800 words on the material that you have found. Your essay must be relevant to the current section of the course and must extend the material presented in the text. You may provide additional information on a topic covered in the text or you may provide information on a topic or issue that the text doesn’t cover at all. Remember that the purpose of your essay is to further educate your classmates on something important and relevant to the current topic. You will not receive credit for simply restating or explaining the material in the text. ·Include the URLs to all sites that you use at the end of your essay, exactly as you would put references at the end of any paper. Your URLs must work! I will test every URL you cite and there will be severe penalties for any that don’t work. I strongly suggest that you use copy and paste rather than trying to type even short and simple URLs. ·Post your essay with a descriptive title. Exercise B: Memory Reconstruction and False Memories Research indicates that our memories may be more fallible that we would like to imagine. Memory research on healthy adults suggests that memories are not stored as videotapes or exact copies of the past, but instead depend on constructive processes that are sometimes prone to distortion. In the last 10-20 years, there has been much controversy surrounding recovered or repressed memories. Some psychologists accept the idea that memories of traumatic events can be repressed or “pushed into unconsciousness,” and that these memories can resurface at a later date. However others are more skeptical about recovered memory claims, stating that false memories can be implanted, either intentionally or unintentionally. Elizabeth Loftus is a highly respected scientist who has written extensively on this latter view. Read the Web sites listed below (and any additional ones you find), and then write an essay of at least 800 words to a bright but uniformed college student explaining current thinking on recovered memories. Your essay should include pertinent topics, such as those listed below. What is False Memory Syndrome and how are false memories generated (according to skeptics)? What is Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT)? What is the evidence that would make one be skeptical of “recovered memories?” What implications might the research on memory reconstruction have for the credibility of “repressed” memories (e.g. of sexual/physical abuse in childhood) that are uncovered in psychotherapy? Does this credibility of repressed memories have any relationship to the type of questions or statements posed to the client/patient by the therapist? Explain. Lastly, be sure to include your opinion on the issue (with support, of course) of whether recovered memories are likely to be false or genuine, and how you can tell in any given case. If a repressed memory is simply a reconstructed (or false) memory that a person firmly believes is true, how can you explain how this reconstructed memory was created? Exercise C: Metamemory and you The topic of metamemory has been widely discussed for a number of years, but is only briefly touched upon in the text. Your task in this exercise is to write an essay of at least 800 words directed to the other people in this class on the nature of metamemory as it applies to you. In your essay, touch upon at least the following points, and you may well find other things that interest you regarding this topic that you wish to present in addition. What does the term metamemory mean? How do researchers go about assessing metamemory? Do a metamemory assessment of yourself and report your conclusions. What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of your own memory? Based upon your self-assessment described above and using the knowledge of memory that you have acquired after finishing the book’s several chapters on memory, describe the most important steps you could take to improve your memory. Summarize how you think the memory improvement program described above would, if fully implemented, affect various aspects of your life. Several Web sites that you might find relevant to this exercise may be found at the URLs shown below. Exercise D: Disorders of Memory: Korsakoff’s Disease Korsakoff’s disease is a devastating form of amnesia that results from thiamine deficiency often due to chronic alcoholism. Use your book and the following Web pages to give me a good description of the amnesia and other clinical symptoms experienced by those who suffer from Korsakoff’s disease. Make sure to read excerpts from the first website. This site contains writing from some of the most renowned researchers and clinicians working with memory disorders. The first excerpt is a writing by Oliver Sacks about a Korsakoff’s patient named Jimmie. Other excerpts provide more technical and clinical information. After reading the Web sites listed below (and any additional ones you find), write an essay of at least 800 words to educate a bright but uniformed college student about current thinking on Korsakoff’s disease. Your essay should include topics such as those listed below. Describe the memory difficulties experienced by a Korsakoff’s patient (e.g. anterograde versus retrograde amnesia). How aware are Korsakoff’s patients of their memory difficulties? Confabulation is a fascinating symptom that Korsakoff’s patients often demonstrate. Explain what confabulation is and how you might recognize this symptom if you were interviewing a patient with Korsakoff’s syndrome. Here are some websites to get you started: (Neurology Case Reports Page) ...

Metamemory is the self-awareness of one’s own memory, it refers to an individual’s awareness of how they store, regulate, and process memory. The human memory allows us to recall and remember things; we often strive to recall items as students during examinations, metamemory is the mechanism by which we acquire and retain this memory. The self-awareness of one’s own memory processes is of special concern to students because success in education hinges on the ability to remember taught concepts. The more one is aware of their memory structures, the more one can make better judgment about their ability to recall information. For instance, students constantly make decisions on whether they have studied the necessary coursework to pass the exams; these types of decisions indicate an awareness of one's own memory structures (Nelson, 1990).

     There are several important theories in the study of the self-awareness of one’s own memory. One of the theories focusses on people’s ability to understand and answer questions. One of the ways we access our memory is through questions that we answer with information stored in memory. The cure familiarity hypothesis states that the question is more important than the actual memory in the self-awareness of one’s own memory (Koriat, 2001). The familiarity with the question (cue) is more important than the memory itself. People are more likely to state that they know the answer to a question if they understand and are familiar with the terms of the question; however, if the question has new and unfamiliar terms people are more likely to state that they do not have the answer (Koriat, 2001).

     Another important theory is the competition hypothesis. The competition hypothesis states that the brain system is activated by visual input; these visual inputs are always in competition for processing access. When there is a high level of competition by visual inputs for the processing access, one has poor recall of memory (Nelson, 1990). The competition hypothesis sheds light on why multitasking while studying tends to yield poor results for a majority of people.

   One of the ways of assessing the self-awareness of one’s own memory is through ease of learning judgments. Scientists assess ease of learning by providing the subject with material to learn, the scientists evaluate beforehand how much studying, and memory recall is necessary for one to grasp the materials. Based on the amount of time and the effort the subject spends understanding the core material, the scientists can make metamemory assessments (Nelson, 1990).

     Another way to assess the self-awareness of one’s own memory is through ease of recognition judgments. Individuals in an ease of recognition test have a list of words; they then make judgments on the ability to recall the words as new or old in a recognition test. Based on the ability to recall the words, one can determine the self-awareness of their memory.

   The self-awareness of one's memory includes the feeling of knowing. Feeling of knowing is the judgment all people make regarding their ability to recall information. Before recalling something from memory, we first assess whether the knowledge exists in the memory (Shimamura, 1986). Most of the times one can correctly deduce that they have the knowledge and proceed to retrieve it, it is also possible for an individual to judge that they have a certain memory only to stumble when retrieving the information. Scientists can assess the self-awareness of one’s memory by observing feeling of knowing judgments (Shimamura, 1986).

      The ability to assess the self-awareness of one’s memory correctly is especially important to students as it can help them optimize the way they study for better results. The self-awareness test that I designed for myself includes a list of twenty words; I made a friend pick the words and had no knowledge of them beforehand. Before viewing the words, I made judgments on my ability to recall the words after two minutes of viewing them; I predicted that I could remember all the words. My friend then presented the list of words to me for two minutes and then took away the paper; I then had to list the words from memory as my friend wrote the recalled words down. By comparing the judgment’s I made about my ability to recall the word and the actual results, I could assess the self-awareness of my memory.

     In the memory self-awareness test, I was able to recall fourteen out of twenty words. Considering that, I predicted that I could recall all twenty words; the test indicates that I have a poor self-awareness of how I process, store, and recall memory. However, the silver lining is that it is possible to improve metamemory along with the ability to recall information (Nelson, 1990).

     One of the ways to improve the ability to recall information is through mnemonics. Mnemonics include abbreviations, mental images, rhymes and many other techniques used to assist an individual in remembering. Mnemonics can help one become a better student and improve all other aspects of life by improving one’s ability to recall important information such as phone numbers, names, and addresses.

       A mnemonic tactic that would have helped me to recall the list of words is by taking the first letter of each of the words and making an abbreviation then creating a story that links together the letters and helps me to recall the information. For instance to remember the colors of the rainbow the first step is separating the colors into one abbreviation such as R,O,Y, G,B,I,V. Then the story involving the letters can be "Richard of York gained battle in vain". It is much easier to remember the story statement than the list of words. By remembering the interesting statement regarding the letters, one can always recall that the colors of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

   Mnemonics, fully implemented in my life, would make me a better student with better grades. It would also make my life much easier I would be able to make better judgments because I can recall information more accurately.


Koriat. (2001). The combined contributions of the cue familiarity and accessibility heuristics to feelings of knowing. Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34–53.

Nelson. (1990). Metamemory: A theoretical framework and new findings. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Academic Press, 125–173.

Shimamura. (1986). Memory and Metamemory: A study of the feeling-of-knowing phenomenon in amnesic patients. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition, 452–460.