SUSS PSY 207 STUDY UNIT 4 ( Memory and problem solving: The Adolescence…
SUSS PSY 207 STUDY UNIT 4
Memory and problem solving: The Infant
Uncovering Evidence of Memory
Several methods have been used to uncover infants’ memory capabilities including:
Rovee-Collier's study involving operant conditiong of a positive reinforcement (invovling a mobile) shows that babies are able to positively ecall and engage the positive reinformcent (making the mobile jinggle).
her research showed that 2-month-olds can retain information for up to 2 days.
looking behaviour of infants from 'A-not-B' Errors is indicative of memory.
is the tendency for Infants to search for the object in the place they last found it, and not where they most recently saw it being hidden
Habituation—learning not to respond to a repeated stimulus— might be thought of as learning to be bored by familiar stimulus.
Newborn prefer a new stimulus to something they have to experience many times
infants as young as 6 months display
, the ability to imitate a novel act after a delay, which clearly requires memory ability and represents an early form of explicit or declarative memory
Problem solving involves using our information-processing system to reach a goal or make a decision.
In Willat’s study, infants had to pull on a cloth in order to drag an interesting object towards them
6-month-olds could not perform the task, but 9-month-olds were able to
By 14 months, infants recognise that adults are useful sources of information and assistance in problem solving
They increasingly solicit help from adults (think about Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development)
Memory and problem solving: The Child
four major hypotheses
as to why learning and memory improve
Changes in memory strategies
Through experience, older children have learnt and applied more effective methods for storing information into long-term memory and retrieving it accurately when they need it.
4 phases to successful memory strategy
Children then transition to
– children can use strategies they are taught but cannot produce them on their own.
The third phase is the
; children can produce a
strategy, but its use does not benefit task performance (i.e.their mental capacity is fully engaged in memory and cannot actively engage in task-switching which may also be a requirement to complete certain tasks)
Initially, children experience
– cannot spontaneously use or benefit from strategies, even if taught how to use them
In the final stage, children can produce and benefit from using a memory
Memory strategies used and errors inhibited
decline by age 4
Perseveration error is the continued use of a strategy that was successful in the past despite the strategy’s current lack of success
E.g. If a favourite toy was found under the sofa previously, the child looks under the sofa again the next time the toy goes missing
Children increase their use of
—the repeating of items they are trying to learn and remember
from around 9-10 years of age. That is, the classifying of items into meaningful groups
Finally, the child adopts
strategy which involves actively creating
meaningful links between items
to be remembered.
Elaboration is achieved by adding something to the items, in the form of either words or images
Increased knowledge about memory
Older children have a better understanding of their Mental and memory capacity (Meta-cognition and metamemory); can judge how long they must study to learn something well
knowledge of the human mind and of the range of cognitive processes.
E.g. Knowing that it is hard to pay attention when there are distracting noises in the background
Knowledge of memory and understanding how to monitor, engage and regulate memory processes.
metamemory is one
aspect of metacognition.
E.g. Knowing one’s own memory limits, which memory strategies are more or less effective, what type of memory tasks are more or less difficult
Changes in basic capacities
Advances in brain development allow for improved working memory capacity and processing speeds.
Encoding of information improves
over the first several years of life as the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobes mature.
Speed of mental processes improves
with age, as neurons become myelinated. This allows older children and adults to simultaneously perform more mental operations in working memory than young
The basic capacities of the sensory register and longterm memory do not change much with age. There are, however,
improvements in operating speed and efficiency of working memory
, which includes improvements in the encoding and consolidation processes through which memories are processed for long-term storage
Increased knowledge about the world
Older children know more about the world in general and have more expertise/familiarity with things around them
During childhood, children’s
, or their knowledge content develops and expands:
can be accelerated through
allows children to form more and larger mental chunks, which allows them to remember more.
refers to episodic memories of personal events.
Older children and adults show
; have few autobiographical memories from about 2 years of age and below.
several reasons for this loss of early memories may include:
Space in working memory
Lack of language
Level of sociocultural support
Sense of self
Verbatim versus gist storage
Script or (GERs)general event representations
Scripts or GERs represent the
typical, general sequence of actions
related to an event and guide future behaviours in similar settings.
Constructed out of daily routine.
Scripts affect how children form memories of new experiences as well as how they recall past events.
For example, when presented with information inconsistent with their scripts, preschoolers may
misremember the information so that it better fits their script
Research suggests that children do not simply progress from one way of thinking to another as they age. They use multiple problem-solving strategies rather than just one.
Rule assessment approach
According to Siegler's rule assessment approach, children
the given problem and
to tackle problems.
In this perspective, children fail to solve problems because they fail to encode all the critical aspects of the problem and are guided by faulty rules.
Overlapping waves theory
Rather than picturing development as a series of stages resembling stair steps, Siegler argues, we should picture it as overlapping waves.
Children’s selection and use of problem-solving strategies become more efficient with experience.
They reduce the use of less-adaptive strategies, increase the use of more-adaptive strategies and New strategies may also emerge
Memory and problem solving: The Adolescence and adult
It is during adolescence that the memory strategy of
elaboration is mastered
In terms of problem-solving strategies:
Cognitive control and inhibition
i.e. able to focus on relevant information and block out task-irrelevant
information than children.
Strategies are used more deliberately
and selectively than in childhood.
Refined use of strategies
i.e. Strategies relevant to school learning emerge, e.g. note-taking and highlighting key information
Basic capacities continue to
; adolescents perform cognitive operations faster than children do
Maturational changes in the brain allow for:
Greater functional use of
more chunks of information
Autobiographical memories continue to form.
Recall may be influenced by 4 factors
i.e. events of great importance to the self will be remembered better than less important events.
Distinctiveness or uniqueness
i.e. The more unique an event is, the more likely it is to be recalled later on, and to be recalled as a distinct event with relevant details.
Affective or emotional intensity
i.e. Events associated with either highly negative or highly positive emotions are recalled better than events that were experienced in the context of more neutral emotions.
Adolescent life phase
i.e. memories recalled from about ages 15–25 was higher than the number recalled from other points of the life span. This memory or
occur because memories from adolescence and early adulthood are more easily accessible because they are
marked by distinctive
or a series of distinctive
and major life events.
Metamemory and Knowledge Base
Knowledge base of adolescents continues to expand
Metamemory and metacognition also improve and becomes refined:
i.e. Can tailor reading strategies for different purposes; e.g. skimming versus studying
that the strategy of
elaboration is more effective
than rote repetition
Depth in understanding of cognitive ability
i.e. Better able to realise when they do not understand something
Fairly accurate in monitoring whether they have spent enough time to learn new material
Expertise and the Adult
Training and experience in specific field results in domain expertise
: Reflects extreme depth in domain knowledge, better memory recall efficient processing of domain related information.
Process of honing domain expertise takes 10 years.
Memory and Aging
Decline in memory not usually
noticeable until 70 years
Not all older adults experience these declines
Not all kinds of memory tasks cause difficulties in older adults.
While some researchers suggested that older adults learn new material more slowly and sometimes less accurately, those studies are not conclusive and are
subjected to other factors including education, healthcare, etc
Specific Weaknesses and Strengths of Older Adults
Older adults have
tasks—that require speed
the learning of
the use of
rather than recognition, or
and effortful rather than implicit and automatic memory
semantic and procedural memory is fairly good
memory declines steadily
Problem Solving and Ageing
Selective optimization with compensation (SOC)
This framework illustrates how older adults cope with diminishing cognitive capacities.
i.e. focus on a limited set of goals and the skills most needed to achieve them.
i.e. practice those skills to keep them sharp.
i.e. develop ways around the need for other skills
skills for “real-life”
rather than artificial, abstract problems
from young adulthood to middle-age
can sometimes do better and sometimes do worse than younger adults but
show smaller deficits in real-life tasks than in artificial tasks
in everyday problem-solving gained through
experience explains this pattern of results
Explaining Declines in Old Age
base and Metamemory
The decline in memory
Not caused by deficiencies in their knowledge base or metamemory
older adults at least as knowledgeable as young adults. Like wise for their metamemory integrity.
use memory strategies
– e.g. organisation or elaboration In general,
problems with effective retrieval
, not with the original encoding of an event
Basic processing capacities
Changes in basic processing capacities that occur with age are perhaps the
diminishes with age
, which may explain why older adults fail to use effective memory and retrieval strategies.
Decline in WM capacity also
affects simultaneous information processing
(May have more trouble ignoring irrelevant task information)
Ailing memory and cognitive performance are not strictly a natural phenomenon it is also dependent on the characteristics of the.
task or situation
including the cultural context in which a task is performed.