Biology of Learning and Memory
Learning and memory are closely related concepts. Learning is the acquisition of skill or knowledge, while memory is the expression of what you've acquired. Stress and multitasking are among the chief causes of memory lapses. Dr. James Appleberry, president of the American Association of State. Memory and learning go hand and hand with one another. One's memory is like a storage unit where everything one has learned is kept secure.
Rehearsal is a verbal process regardless of whether the list of items is presented acoustically someone reads them outor visually on a sheet of paper. The principle encoding system in long-term memory LTM appears to be semantic coding by meaning. However, information in LTM can also be coded both visually and acoustically.
Memory Storage This concerns the nature of memory stores, i. The way we store information affects the way we retrieve it. Most adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short-term memory. Miller put this idea forward and he called it the magic number 7. In contrast, the capacity of LTM is thought to be unlimited. Memory Retrieval This refers to getting information out storage. STM is stored and retrieved sequentially. For example, if a group of participants are given a list of words to remember, and then asked to recall the fourth word on the list, participants go through the list in the order they heard it in order to retrieve the information.
LTM is stored and retrieved by association. This is why you can remember what you went upstairs for if you go back to the room where you first thought about it. Organizing information can help aid retrieval. You can organize information in sequences such as alphabetically, by size or by time. Imagine a patient being discharged from hospital whose treatment involved taking various pills at various times, changing their dressing and doing exercises.
If the doctor gives these instructions in the order which they must be carried out throughout the day i. Criticisms of Memory Experiments A large part of the research on memory is based on experiments conducted in laboratories.
Those who take part in the experiments - the participants - are asked to perform tasks such as recalling lists of words and numbers. Both the setting - the laboratory - and the tasks are a long way from everyday life. In many cases, the setting is artificial and the tasks fairly meaningless.
Psychologists use the term ecological validity to refer to the extent to which the findings of research studies can be generalized to other settings. An experiment has high ecological validity if its findings can be generalized, that is applied or extended, to settings outside the laboratory. It is often assumed that if an experiment is realistic or true-to-life, then there is a greater likelihood that its findings can be generalized.
If it is not realistic if the laboratory setting and the tasks are artificial then there is less likelihood that the findings can be generalized. In this case, the experiment will have low ecological validity.
Many experiments designed to investigate memory have been criticized for having low ecological validity. First, the laboratory is an artificial situation. People are removed from their normal social settings and asked to take part in a psychological experiment.
They are directed by an 'experimenter' and may be placed in the company of complete strangers. This multi-component scheme is supported by a number of pieces of experimental evidence, such as the KF Case Study, where an accident severely impaired verbal processing while leaving visual processing almost intact. This strongly implies that verbal and visual processing are controlled by two different systems . It is also supported by the observation that visual and phonemic tasks can be carried out at the same time with relatively little impairment, showing that they do not depend on the same mental resources .
Central Executive[ edit ] The central executive or executive control system has been compared to a director controlling the activities of two subordinates, the phonological loop and the visuo-spatial sketchpad. It oversees the functions of the working memory, selects information and strategies, and decides what the working memory will concentrate on. It coordinates performance on different tasks, decides among retrieval strategies, switches focus among different inputs, and interacts with the long-term memory to retrieve and work with information .
Despite its critical importance, little is known about the detailed working of the central executive. Whether it carries out its various functions as a single coordinated system or a collection of independent subsystems is not clear . Phonological loop[ edit ] The phonological loop deals with spoken and written information.
It is a passive short-term storage system for information that is received by reading or hearing . Information is stored in an articulation code, which means that written data must be converted before it can be retained. Aural data goes directly into the store . The phonological loop is divided into two parts. It is a passive short-term storage system for visual and spatial information received through the eyes.
Information is stored as images, which must be interpreted to retrieve specific details. It also creates and manipulates mental images, and turns material in the long-term memory back into usable information on spatial arrangement .
The visuo-spatial sketchpad appears to function even in individuals that have never enjoyed the power of sight, since such individuals have clear concepts of spatial distribution. This indicates that concepts of spatial distribution are independent of visual input. It has thus been suggested that the visuo-spatial sketchpad be split into two independent functions, one concerned with purely visual data, and another with spatial concepts.
Multimedia Learning[ edit ] Developed by Richard Mayer, the multimedia learning derives from the concept that learning works effectively with the use of words and images. Multimedia learning draws upon three major assumptions: Cognitive Load Theory[ edit ] Cognitive load is a concept proposed by John Sweller who states that having a high amount of information at a given time, will exceed the capacity of the working memory which composes of articulatory and acoustic components.
If the information received by the human brain exceeds the limit of what the working memory can temporarily hold, then it cannot be retained into storage .
Because the working memory acts as a system for storing and processing new information, we face the challenge of transferring acquired information for long term memory, ultimately placing strain on learning, when there are exceeding amounts of incoming stimuli.
In order to test this statement, many researchers conducted studies to find correlations for improved performance though the use of multimedia learning principles. A brief review of the research conducted by Billie Eilam and his colleagues will be examined as an example. Eilam conducted an experiment involving college students, whereby participants were evenly divided into two groups. Each individuals received the same amount of cards required to perform a given homework.
Biology of Learning and Memory
Group one received cards that were printed in texts, while the second group received information in both text and images, such as graphs. Results indicated that the latter group performed much more accurately compared to the first group . Active Processing[ edit ] Active processing, is the last assumption that is based on the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. It states that the human mind processes information actively, in order to construct meaningful learning and retention of memories, through three main cognitive measurements: More specifically, humans are active learners because of their ability to process received input.
How well people process incoming information however, depends on their ability to make sense of the materials they draw from and to make connections with information gathered, in order for meaningful learning to take place. It may be helpful then, to examine strategies or methods that help to foster active learning in people through paying attention, filtering, and organizing selected materials into coherent representations, thereby integrating it with previous and new information.
Information Process Model[ edit ] acquired from http: More specifically, cognitive psychology compares how the human mind processes, much in the same way a computer processes. With the development of computers, the study of cognitive psychology adopted a concept behind computer simulations, which became a fundamental tool for understanding how cognitive processing in humans worked . The computer model is one that imitates the cognitive functions of a human mind.
The similarities include receiving information from an exterior stimulus, organizing and encoding input in various ways, transferring data to storage systems, and retrieving of output when needed. Through the analogy of information processing approach, psychologists determined that human thoughts could only process a limited amount of information at a given time .
Atkinson and Shiffrin proposed that human memories like a computer are formed through a series of channels. Similar to a keyboard entering information onto a computer, the human mind initially receives information through what is called the sensory register, or in other words, sensory organs.
By then, information is either transferred for use, discarded or stored into long-term memory. For a computer, this stage of processing would take place on a hard disk in a computer . To begin with, the human mind transforms multiple forms of sensory information e. They created the modal model, which was also known as information processing model, to distinguish control processes and memory structures. Control processes are basically the specific processes that information stored, such as, encoding, retrieval processing.
The human memory structure is consisted of three separate components, sensory memory, short-term memory and long term memory.
One criticism that worthy to mention is that the modal model maybe not just a unidirectional flow, the actual information processing is more complex. Sensory Memory[ edit ] Sensory memory is a system that holds environment input in sensory registers so that perceptual analyses can work before that information fade away.
Unfortunately, perceptual analyses take time and effort and the environment may change rapidly. The duration of holding information in our sensory memory is extremely short.
In his experiment, participants were showed a slide of arrays of letters. The first study result illustrated that the length of time exposed to participants directly influenced their performance. Base on this result, he made two assumptions, first, subjects only saw limited amount of letter within the short period. Second, all the letters were registered, but lost. He then developed partial report method to test his assumptions . Participants only reported one of the rows letters after hearing a tone.
If the tone appears immediately, participants recalled 3 of the 4 letters. The fewer letter were recalled with the delayed tone appeared. The result showed us that sensory memory storage and duration is very limited, although information were registered in our memory, they lost rapidly. The only way for people to memorize more information is increasing the size of chunks and implementing information with meaning. It is interesting to mention that in Cowan's embedded processes theory, Cowan argued that "the magic seven" is not true, the real capacity of working memory is about four chunks, although each of the chunk may contain more than one item.
The executive control system has the similar role as brain in our body, it controls the other two systems and decides what kind of the information enters memory. Articulatory loop and visual-spatial sketch pad holds acoustic information and visual spatial information respectively. It is worthy to mention that several factors may influence the working memory performance. Firstly, individuals have different background knowledge and capacity of working memory.
If individuals are knowledgeable in certain domain, then they are more able to use the working memory efficiently.
Secondly, the complexity of information is another constraint. Last but not least, the instructional approach is another factor, working memory performance is improvable if helpful and appropriate instruction is available. For example, learning to chunk information, or dividing the learning task. Furthermore, the amount of studies suggested that working memory maintenance is a critical step for long term encoding.
As Baddeley once said, his attitude on this issue is that working memory activate many areas of the brain that include long term memory. It could be days, weeks, months and years.
Examples of long term memory include remembering the graduation day, or the experience of your first day at working.
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Theoretically, long term memory has unlimited capacity of storage, but people still lose memory due to unsuccessful long term encoding. Generally, long term memory is divided into 2 components: Explicit memory is known as memories that are available in our heads, the past events pop out in our mind sometimes. It usually refers to the facts and declarative knowledge.
The example would be that Vancouver is a city in Canada. While implicit memory is an unawareness memory that influence our actions and performance in daily life. This unconscious memory is about procedural knowledge, which is not just knowing about the facts, but knowing the process of performing the task.
For instance, you are driving a car. Since we prior learned about the skill, we knew how to perform but we were not consciousness remembering it. Development refers to certain changes that occur in different stages over the lifespan, here we are going to take a deep look of cognitive development. Cognitive development refers to our mental processes are gradually changing and becoming more and more advanced over the lifespan.
People do not become mature once they reached a certain age, development takes time and happens gradually.
Learning vs Memory - Difference Between
Inside our brain, there are billions of neurons. Neurons are grey colour nerve cells that function in accumulating and transmitting information in the brain. These neuron cells are so tiny, they are about fit on the head of a pin.
Neurons transmit and share information by releasing chemical substances through these synapses. The numbers of neurons will be decreased if some neurons not serve as main function. Magically, if a child are deaf from birth, the auditory processing brain area will expect to process visual information rather than the auditory stimulation.
The cerebral cortex allows us to do the abstract thinking and complex problem solving. Every part of the cortex also has different function and different mature periods. The region of the cortex that control our physical movement usually matures first, then comes with our vision and auditory cortex. The Frontal lobe which takes charge of the high order abstract thinking processes always mature at last.
Cognition and Instruction/Learning and Memory
Moreover, the temporal lobes which is responsible for the emotion development, language acquisitions and judgement will not completely mature until human body become physically mature . Although each part of the brain has its own function, they have to work collaboratively in order to complete complex functions, for example, Alice is reading a story. Her vision cortex is the first part to be stimulated and then sends the visual information to the other cortexes in her brain, finally, she is able to memorize and retell the story.
Memorization is a key cognitive process of brain at the metacognitive, as well as the cognitive process reveals how memory is created in long-term memory LTM . The logical model of the cognitive process of memorization can be described as shown in the diagram: Encoding Process[ edit ] Encoding allows information stored in the brain to be converted into a construction, which can be recall from long-term memory.
The process of encoding begins with the identification, organization of any sensory information in order to understand it. Stimuli are perceived by the senses, and related signals travel to the thalamus of the human brain, where they are synthesized into one experience . There are four types of encoding: