danie680: October 2011 Archives

Long-term Memory

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Long-term memory is our relatively enduring store of information, meaning that it outlasts the event that has occurred. It is the store of information that includes the facts, experiences and skills we have acquired over our lifetimes. In short, long-term memory ties together the past with the present, and its capacity is essentially unlimited. It lasts a very long time as well. There are also different varieties of long-term memory, including explicit and implicit. Explicit long-term memory, which is the intentional use of memory, is broken down into to subcategories. Episodic is knowing or remembering specific instances in one's life, and semantic is when one just knows certain information, but one does not remember learning it. Implicit long-term memory, what one may not know, is broken down into two subcategories as well. Procedural is our memory for how to do things, and an example is tying one's shoes or driving a car. Priming is our ability to identify a stimulus more easily or quickly after we have encountered similar stimuli.
A good example of long-term memory is the primacy effect. This is if one is given a list of words or letters to memorize, one would remember the first items on the list. This YouTube clip demonstrates the primacy effect.


One girl does several different motions with her arms, followed by another girl who attempts to imitate the first girl. She goes through the first 5 or 6 motions and then does not remember the rest. This is a good example of the primacy effect because the girl remembers the arm motions from the beginning, but she does not remember the second half. If she were to remember the second half better than the first half, then she would have demonstrated the recency effect, which is linked to short-term memory.

Inattentional Blindness

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Inattentional blindness is defined as the failure to detect stimuli that are in plain sight when our attention is focused elsewhere. It when one's mental representation of the outside world is limited to only a few elements, and one attends to only the "interesting" parts of the environment. The remarkable thing about this phenomenon is that things that may seem so clear and obvious in a normal situation may be hidden or oblivious to people who are distracted by something else. I find this quite fascinating. There are many experiments and studies that have been done on this concept, and there are several articles and videos to show it. One example that I find very interesting is the youtube video of the two young men who change roles when the innocent, oblivious person is distracted. The video shows one of the two men standing behind a counter in an office, when a customer walks in. The man hands the customer a consent sheet to fill out, and as the customer finishes the sheet and hands it to the man, the man ducks down to put it away underneath the counter. Instead of the same man standing up after the consent sheet is put away, the other man stands up instead. The phenomenon in the study is that every customer that was finished filling out the sheet never noticed the change in the man behind the counter. This is a great example of inattentional blindness, because it shows that although we may seem to always know what is going on in the environment around us, we may be distracted when our attention is focused somewhere else and miss things that are in plain sight. I can think of several examples in my life when I have had inattentional blindness happen to me.


Nature vs. Nurture

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The idea of nature versus nurture has been an ongoing debate for quite some time. It basically implies the question of are we born with certain characteristics that lead us to act a certain way? Or are we influenced by outside factors? If one were to take the nature side, they would be suggesting that our behavioral characteristics are from genetics or biological factors. This would mean that our thoughts and actions would resemble those of our parents. However, the nurture idea is more environmentally associated. Things like religion, culture, language, and relationships seem to be the root of how and why we behave a certain way.

This debate is important because it brings up a good question: why do we act the way we do? This question is usually brought up in the early years of one's life because little children tend to be full of questions. However, there is no direct answer. The nature versus nurture debate is continuing to cross the minds of most individuals, usually starting early on in one's life. I personally think that our behaviors are affected by both aspects of the debate. I believe that we do inherit some characteristics from our parents, but we also learn our behaviors from our surrounding environment.

An example from my life that I have is my athletic characteristic. I have always been very intrigued by sports, and most of my life consists of participating in different sporting events. I find it interesting to note that most of my relatives are not very active, so this example makes believe that we get our characteristics and behaviors from the nurture side of the debate. However, I am a very organized person, and I would call myself a perfectionist. This definitely runs in the family because both of my parents are the same way. This makes me think that my characteristics and behaviors are more on the nature side.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by danie680 in October 2011.

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