The Multisystem Model of Memory History of Memory Studies Until recently, memory has been compared to a computer and defined by an information-processing model in which information goes through three discrete stages: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Additionally, scientists Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) posited that information goes

through three stages: sensory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Today, researchers have integrated this model with findings from cognitive neuroscience to include the idea that memory has been found to be created by a collection of systems, working interdependently. There is no one portion of the brain solely responsible for all memory, though there are certain regions related to specific memory subsystems.

The Multiple Systems Model The multiple systems model posits that memory is not a single, unitary system that relies on one neuroanatomical circuit; rather memory is made up of multiple memory systems that can work independently of one another.

The systems include declarative memory and nondeclarative memory. Each of these has several subsystems. Declarative Memory Declarative memory or explicit memory is a memory system that is controlled consciously,

intentionally, and flexibly. Declarative memory generally involves some effort and intention, and we can employ memory strategies such as mnemonics to recall information. It is mediated by the hippocampus and frontal lobes, and, thus, damage to these areas may compromise declarative memory. For example,

people with damage to the hippocampus have difficulty forming new long-term declarative memories, while those with frontal lobe damage may experience deficits in working memory. Explicit memory is measured with explicit memory tests, such as recall and recognition, in which an individual is fully aware that he or she is being tested. It generally declines with age.

Examples of Explicit Memory Examples include recalling the name of an old friend, remembering a list of items to pick up at the store, remembering information for a test, learning a phone number, and recalling your ATM password.

Subsystems of Declarative Memory Working memory is a short-term memory system that allows us to store and process limited amounts of information of an immediate sense. Working memory lasts anywhere from 2 to 18 seconds. Working memory is used for mental calculations, such as figuring a tip; retaining information briefly, such as when dialing a phone number; and processing incoming information, such as when listening to a newscast.

It also allows us to temporarily process information we have previously learned in a class and access it to learn and associate new information. Episodic Memory Episodic memory is a long-term memory system that stores information about specific events or episodes related to ones own life. Episodic memory is used to recall past events, such as a movie you saw

last week, the dinner you ate last night, the name of the book your friend recommended, or a birthday party you attended. In the laboratory, psychologists study episodic memory by exposing participants to material and then testing the participants memory of it. For example, in the first part of an experiment, participants could be shown pictures of 20 simple objects and then asked to name the pictures (e.g., dog, table, shoe). After a delay, for part two of the

experiment, participants could be asked to recall all the pictures they had seen in the first part of the experiment, or they could be tested on their recognition of the items they had seen. For example, participants can be presented with 20 pictures (10 old pictures and 10 new pictures) and asked to circle the objects they had seen in the first part of the experiment. Note that both the recall and recognition tests ask participants to consciously remember what had been presented earlier.

Semantic Memory Semantic memory is a long-term memory system that stores general knowledge. Examples of what semantic memory stores are vocabulary or facts such as 2+2 = 4 and Michigan is a state in the United States.

Nondeclarative Memory Nondeclarative memory or implicit memory is a memory system that influences our current perceptions and behavior without our knowledge, awareness, or intention. Nondeclarative memory is not used intentionally and involves no effort. It is

assessed with an implicit memory test in which the individual is unaware she or he is taking a memory test. It is mediated by cortical areas, the cerebellum, and the basal ganglia. Just as damage to the hippocampus and frontal lobes can compromise performance on

declarative memory tasks, so, too, can damage to the visual cortical area impair visual priming. Damage to the cerebellum and basal ganglia can impair classical conditioning and procedural memory. It was first discovered in work with people who had anterograde amnesia (an inability to form new, long-term declarative memories) and

seemingly could not form new memories. It is assessed with implicit measures such as priming, in which participants do not know their memory is being tested. Generally, these measures test for the effects of prior exposure on behavior without asking for conscious recollection. For example, the first part of an experiment could be identical to the

episodic memory experiment described above. That is, you could show participants pictures of 20 simple objects and have the participants label the pictures (e.g., dog, table, shoe). After a delay, for part two of the experiment, you could tell participants they will now perform a speeded naming task in which their task is to name pictures as quickly as possible. You could then present a number of new pictures (e.g., one of a cat) and a number of old pictures (e.g., one of a dog) and measure

participants speed in naming the pictures. You will find effects of repetition priming, that is, old items will be named more quickly than new items. Another way to say this is that the prior exposure and naming of pictures enhances (in this case, speeds up) later processing of those items. Note that you are not asking participants to remember the

pictures that occurred in the first part of the experimentthat kind of test would be a declarative or explicit memory test (see previous section). Nondeclarative memory is used synonymously with implicit memory. It remains relatively stable with normal aging. Examples of nondeclarative memory include riding a bike, driving a stick-shift car, using the same verbal patterns as friends (e.g., saying

like repeatedly), and classical conditioning. Nondeclarative memory systems Priming is an automatic or unconscious process that can enhance the speed and accuracy of a response as a result of past experience. Different cues prompt the retrieval of memory. Memories are stored as a series of connections that can be activated by different kinds of cues;

there is not any single location in the brain associated with a specific memory trace. Priming helps trigger associated concepts or memories, making the retrieval process more efficient. An example of priming is repetition priming: You are faster reading the word pretzel aloud when you have just recently read it.

Another example is semantic priming: You are faster and more likely to say the word nurse when you have just recently read the word doctor. Procedural memory is the memory for the process involved in completing a task (e.g., motor memory) after the task is well learned and has become automatic.

Classical conditioning is memory for associations formed between two stimuli. An example of classical conditioning is Pavlovs classic experiment with dogs: Just before presenting a dog with food, the researcher rang a bell. Soon, the animal learned the bell indicated food was imminent and would salivate at the sound of the bell. Humans can also become conditioned to the sound of a ring tone consistently paired with a

specific caller. Evidence of Multiple Memory Systems There are people who have damage to the hippocampal/ medialtemporal regions of the brain who show a pattern of anterograde amnesia, an inability to form new, long-term declarative memories. These people often have a fully functioning working memory and can demonstrate all forms of nondeclarative memory.

Scientists and medical specialists have found no evidence to suggest these people have the ability to form new episodic memories, and yet they showed normal nondeclarative or implicit memory. So, if shown a list such as the one described in the episodic memory section above, they have very poor or no conscious recollection of that list. Yet, they exhibit normal implicit memory when tested for that (e.g., priming)

Famous people with amnesia include Henry Molaison (H.M.) and Clive Wearing. Other people show impairments in episodic, but not semantic memory. Individuals with Alzheimers dementia show impairments in both episodic and semantic memory. 8:31 AM: Now I am really, completely awake.

9:06 AM: Now I am perfectly, overwhelmingly awake. 9:34 AM: Now I am superlatively, actually awake. Other people show impairments in episodic, but not semantic memory. Individuals with Alzheimers dementia show impairments in both episodic and semantic memory.

Behavioral Analysis: Dissociations Dissociations are findings showing that a variable affects one component of the memory system in a particular way but has no effect on another component of the memory system. The existence of dissociations suggests these memory processes are mediated by different brain systems. b. For example, there are factors that improve explicit memory but do not improve implicit memory. In a study by Jacoby (1983), individuals who generated words during a study

(e.g., provided an antonym for hot: _____) remembered those words better on a later explicit recall test than individuals who simply read those words. On an implicit priming test, however, individuals who generated words during study were not faster to read those words in a Factors that affect episodic tests do not always influence semantic tests in the same way. Older

adults generally show significant impairment in episodic memory tests such as recall, but often show no impairment (and sometimes better performance) on semantic memory tests such as vocabulary or world knowledge.

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