The Relationship Between Psychology And Memory

Memory is one of the most fascinating aspects of human psychology that can be studied and analyzed, and our experts have done just that to give you a better idea about memory.

Memory is a part of the psychology which is often undermined when considering the role of psychology in people’s lives. It is our memory that ensures that all the time, we are aware of our identity, the identity of those around us, what we learn in theory and from practical experiences, etc. After an elaborate experiment conducted by news psychology, the acute relationship between memory and psychology has come to the fore.  This is our website so you can get various informations from our website. Memory begins to fade with age because of various reasons, one of them being mental fatigue and the inability to think too much. In some cases, certain people, events, or other stimuli might trigger a memory that you thought was inconsequential and ‘forgotten’ whereas in actuality, it resided in the deep recesses of your mind.

Difference Between Real And Constructed Memory

Memory is a very complex thing, which is completely dependent on the mind of the thinker. People may experience a phenomenon and choose to remember it because of various reasons. Someone who is afraid of fire may associate fireworks with a ‘bad’ memory while those who are excited by it, will choose to relive it as frequently as possible. Hence, the psychology of an individual largely determines the mental processes associated with memory. In addition o that, sometimes it may so happen that people are unable to differentiate whether what hey remember is an actual memory or a dream or an idea that they chose to retain over time. This confusion is also the product of the subjective psychology of individuals, which makes the study of memory highly interesting. 

The Different Stages Of Memory

Although everyone is aware of what memory actually is, it is important to understand what it actually means, and how it can be affected, in psychological terms.

Memory is a very subjective term. A person is said to have a good memory when they are able to retain and recall and event or an object from the distant past. However, it is not yet determined how distance the past has to be in order to call the person an individual with ‘excellent’ memory powers. Our studies have shown that the psychology of the human mind is intimately connected with the memory of an individual, and our experts have tried to prove that through their observations and discoveries. Based on our studies at newspsychology we have come to the conclusion that there are essentially three stages which can determine memory.  

The Three Stages

Psychologists assess memory based on three main staged, which is evaluated. They are:

  1. Encoding and Understanding information is the first stage, where, by means of the senses, you will be able to perceive a situation, and then prepare your mind to retain it. this can be either visual, auditory, semantic or even olfactory (remembering a smell, or associating it with something)
  2. Storing the information that you thus, perceive is the next stage. In this stage, you actually retain the information which you have decided to come across. This is usually easier when you do so with associating it with something else from your memory (such as a phone number, a smell, a face, a place, etc.)
  3. The final stage is retrieving the information that you have decided to retain. Memory is essential of two types- long term and short term. Long term memory is when you can recall things from your childhood. However, if you have psychological problems, you may not be able to remember what you were doing 15 minutes ago. 

Improve your memory

 

Your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a good diet and other healthy habits.  Physical exercise increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise may also enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.

When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at full capacity. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, with the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep.

Research shows that having meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.

 

Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Research has found that chronic and acute stress have adverse effects on memory processing systems. Therefore, it is important to find mechanisms in which one can reduce the amount of stress in their lives when seeking to improve memory.

Research suggests that what food we eat can influence memory processing. Glucose, flavonoids, fat and calories all affect memory areas of the brain. Human and animal research using flavonoids such as grapes, tea, cocoa, blueberries, as well as ginkgo biloba extracts, have all shown beneficial effects on mental performance.

There’s evidence that light to moderate alcohol consumption can improve memory and cognition. some studies have found that moderate drinkers do better on certain tests of memory and cognition than nondrinkers and heavy drinkers, A French study that followed almost 4,000 people over the age of 65 found that light drinkers, who consumed up to two glasses of wine a day, were 45 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than nondrinkers.

Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. Do crossword puzzles. Read a section of the newspaper that you normally skip. Learn to play a musical instrument.

Take care of your memory because it is the only thing that keeps you alive and makes you to feel alive.

Fear can be erased from the brain, new research shows

Newly formed emotional memories can be erased from the human brain.

 This is shown by researchers from Uppsala University in a new study now being published by the academic journal Science. The findings may represent a breakthrough in research on memory and fear.

Thomas Ågren, a doctoral candidate at the Department of Psychology under the supervision of Professors Mats Fredrikson and Tomas Furmark, has shown, that it is possible to erase newly formed emotional memories from the human brain.

When a person learns something, a lasting long-term memory is created with the aid of a process of consolidation, which is based on the formation of proteins. When we remember something, the memory becomes unstable for a while and is then restabilized by another consolidation process. In other words, it can be said that we are not remembering what originally happened, but rather what we remembered the last time we thought about what happened. By disrupting the reconsolidation process that follows upon remembering, we can affect the content of memory.

In the study the researchers showed subjects a neutral picture and simultaneously administered an electric shock. In this way the picture came to elicit fear in the subjects which meant a fear memory had been formed. In order to activate this fear memory, the picture was then shown without any accompanying shock. For one experimental group the reconsolidation process was disrupted with the aid of repeated presentations of the picture. For a control group, the reconsolidation process was allowed to complete before the subjects were shown the same repeated presentations of the picture.

In that the experimental group was not allowed to reconsolidate the fear memory, the fear they previously associated with the picture dissipated. In other words, by disrupting the reconsolidation process, the memory was rendered neutral and no longer incited fear. At the same time, using a MR-scanner, the researchers were able to show that the traces of that memory also disappeared from the part of the brain that normally stores fearful memories, the nuclear group of amygdala in the temporal lobe.

'These findings may be a breakthrough in research on memory and fear. Ultimately the new findings may lead to improved treatment methods for the millions of people in the world who suffer from anxiety issues like phobias, post-traumatic stress, and panic attacks,' says Thomas Ågren.

 

Journal Reference:

  1. T. Agren, J. Engman, A. Frick, J. Bjorkstrand, E.-M. Larsson, T. Furmark, M. Fredrikson. Disruption of Reconsolidation Erases a Fear Memory Trace in the Human Amygdala. Science, 2012; 337 (6101): 1550 DOI: 10.1126/science.1223006

Learning requires rhythmical activity of neurons

Filmstrip of an activity wave through the hippocampus. The activity wave is triggered by stimulating the input region with a microelectrode (black arrow) and recorded using voltage-sensitive dyes. Warmer colors represent stronger neuronal activity. (Credit: MPI of Psychiatry)

The hippocampus represents an important brain structure for learning. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich discovered how it filters electrical neuronal signals through an input and output control, thus regulating learning and memory processes.

Accordingly, effective signal transmission needs so-called theta-frequency impulses of the cerebral cortex. With a frequency of three to eight hertz, these impulses generate waves of electrical activity that propagate through the hippocampus. Impulses of a different frequency evoke no transmission, or only a much weaker one. Moreover, signal transmission in other areas of the brain through long-term potentiation (LTP), which is essential for learning, occurs only when the activity waves take place for a certain while. The scientists even have an explanation for why we are mentally more productive after drinking a cup of coffee or in an acute stress situation: in their experiments, caffeine and the stress hormone corticosterone boosted the activity flow.

When we learn and recall something, we have to concentrate on the relevant information and experience it again and again. Electrophysiological experiments in mice now show why this is the case. Scientists belonging to Matthias Eder´s Research Group measured the transmission of electrical impulses between neurons in the mouse hippocampus. Under the fluorescence microscope, they were able to observe in real time how the neurons forward signals.

Jens Stepan, a junior scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, stimulated the input region of the hippocampus the first time that specifically theta-frequency stimulations produce an effective impulse transmission across the hippocampal CA3/CA1 region. This finding is very important, as it is known from previous studies that theta-rhythmical neuronal activity in the entorhinal cortex always occurs when new information is taken up in a focused manner. With this finding, the researchers demonstrate that the hippocampus highly selectively reacts to the entorhinal signals. Obviously, it can distinguish important and, thus, potentially recollection-worth information from unimportant one and process it in a physiologically specific manner.

One possible reaction is the formation of the so-called long-term potentiation (LTP) of signal transmission at CA3-CA1 synapses, which is often essential for learning and memory. The present study documents that this CA1-LTP occurs only when the activity waves through the hippocampus take place for a certain time. Translating this to our learning behavior, to commit for instance an image to memory, we should intently view it for a while, as only then we produce the activity waves described long enough to store the image in our brain.

With this study, Matthias Eder and colleagues succeeded in closing a knowledge gap. "Our investigation on neuronal communication via the hippocampal trisynaptic circuit provides us with a new understanding of learning in the living organism. We are the first to show that long-term potentiation depends on the frequency and persistency of incoming sensory signals in the hippocampus," says Matthias Eder.

 

Journal Reference:

  1. Jens Stepan, Julien Dine, Thomas Fenzl, Stephanie A. Polta, Gregor von Wolff, Carsten T. Wotjak, Matthias Eder. Entorhinal theta-frequency input to the dentate gyrus trisynaptically evokes hippocampal CA1 LTP. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 2012; 6 DOI: 10.3389/fncir.2012.00064

Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation

Multiple synaptic contacts between nerve cells facilitate the creation of a new contact, as neuroscientists from the Bernstein Center Freiburg and the Forschungszentrum Jülich report in the latest issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology. An integral mechanism of memory foundation is the formation of additional contacts between neurons in the brain. However, until now it was not known what conditions lead to the development of such synapses and how they are stabilized once created. By studying mathematical models, the scientists found a simple explanation for how and when synapses form — or disappear — in the brain.

The scientists investigated the hypothesis that synapses between nerve cells strengthen if they are active in quick succession. This consolidates memory. The team used theoretical computer models to determine what conditions need to be present for synapses to form — or disappear. Until now it was not known how it is decided on the level of individual nerve cells whether a connection with another neuron will be formed or not. The problem is that a single cell has no access to information concerning whether a synapse will contribute to the establishment of a particular memory.

Dr. Moritz Deger from the Bernstein Center Freiburg and his colleagues have found a simple mechanism which allows them to explain the formation of synapses: If one nerve cell is already connected to a second cell by several synaptic contacts, all of the contacts work together to stimulate the latter cell. This means that under these conditions the individual contacts cooperate to form synapses. But synapses will form and remain only if the neurons become active in the right order; otherwise they will disappear again. This order in cell activity must be measurable for the synaptic contacts, and indeed, physiologists have already found chemical compounds within the brain that might play this role.

As the scientists from Freiburg and Jülich report, their mathematical model can explain the frequency of synaptic connections observed in experiments. This is a strong indication that they have discovered a long-sought mechanism for memory formation.


Journal Reference:

  1. Moritz Deger, Moritz Helias, Stefan Rotter, Markus Diesmann. Spike-Timing Dependence of Structural Plasticity Explains Cooperative Synapse Formation in the Neocortex. PLoS Computational Biology, 2012; 8 (9): e1002689 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002689

Cogmed working memory training: Does it actually work? The debate continues…

— A target article in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition concludes that evidence does not support the claims of Cogmed Working Memory Training. Additional experts weigh in with commentary papers in response.

Helping children achieve their full potential in school is of great concern to everyone, and a number of commercial products have been developed to try and achieve this goal. The Cogmed Working Memory Training program is such an example and is marketed to schools and parents of children with attention problems caused by poor working memory. But, does the program actually work? The target article in the September issue of Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (JARMAC) calls into question Cogmed's claims of improving working memory and addressing underachievement due to working memory constraints.

The target article authors Zach Shipstead, Kenny L. Hicks, Randall W. Engle, all from the Georgia Institute of Technology, review the research that is used to back up the claims of Cogmed. They argue that many of the problem-solving or training tasks are not related to working memory, many of the attention tasks are unrelated to problems such as ADHD, and that there is limited transfer to real-life manifestations of inattentive behavior. They conclude succinctly: "The only unequivocal statement that can be made is that Cogmed will improve performance on tasks that resemble Cogmed training."

"People deserve to hear both sides of the story before they invest money in products like Cogmed," says lead author Zach Shipstead.

Not all researchers agree with the arguments of Shipstead et al. For instance, in one of the commentaries in reply, Torkel Klingberg of the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden states that "Shipstead et al criticizes these studies with three different arguments: […] None of these arguments holds."

Two commentary authors, Charles Hulme and Monica Melby-Lervåg, who have previously questioned the evidence for Cogmed in a 2012 meta-analysis, and whose claims Cogmed directly address on their website, are firmly in support of the target article, and provide further meta-analysis in support of their shared conclusions with Shipstead et al.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zach Shipstead, Kenny L. Hicks, Randall W. Engle. Cogmed working memory training: Does the evidence support the claims? Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2012; 1 (3): 185 DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2012.06.003

What makes self-directed learning effective?

— In recent years, educators have come to focus more and more on the importance of lab-based experimentation, hands-on participation, student-led inquiry, and the use of "manipulables" in the classroom. The underlying rationale seems to be that students are better able to learn when they can control the flow of their experience, or when their learning is "self-directed."

While the benefits of self-directed learning are widely acknowledged, the reasons why a sense of control leads to better acquisition of material are poorly understood.

Some researchers have highlighted the motivational component of self-directed learning, arguing that this kind of learning is effective because it makes students more willing and more motivated to learn. But few researchers have examined how self-directed learning might influence cognitive processes, such as those involved in attention and memory.

In an article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers Todd Gureckis and Douglas Markant of New York University address this gap in understanding by examining the issue of self-directed learning from a cognitive and a computational perspective.

According to Gureckis and Markant, research from cognition offers several explanations that help to account for the advantages of self-directed learning. For example, self-directed learning helps us optimize our educational experience, allowing us to focus effort on useful information that we don't already possess and exposing us to information that we don't have access to through passive observation. The active nature of self-directed learning also helps us in encoding information and retaining it over time.

But we're not always optimal self-directed learners. The many cognitive biases and heuristics that we rely on to help us make decisions can also influence what information we pay attention to and, ultimately, learn.

Gureckis and Markant note that computational models commonly used in machine learning research can provide a framework for studying how people evaluate different sources of information and decide about the information they seek out and attend to. Work in machine learning can also help identify the benefits — and weaknesses — of independent exploration and the situations in which such exploration will confer the greatest benefit for learners.

Drawing together research from cognitive and computational perspectives will provide researchers with a better understanding of the processes that underlie self-directed learning and can help bridge the gap between basic cognitive research and applied educational research. Gureckis and Markant hope that this integration will help researchers to develop assistive training methods that can be used to tailor learning experiences that account for the specific demands of the situation and characteristics of the individual learner.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. M. Gureckis, D. B. Markant. Self-Directed Learning: A Cognitive and Computational Perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2012; 7 (5): 464 DOI: 10.1177/1745691612454304

Testing can be useful for students and teachers

Pop quiz! Tests are good for: (a) Assessing what you've learned; (b) Learning new information; (c) a & b; (d) None of the above.

The correct answer?

According to research from psychological science, it's both (a) and (b) — while testing can be useful as an assessment tool, the actual process of taking a test can also help us to learn and retain new information over the long term and apply it across different contexts.

New research published in journals of the Association for Psychological Science explores the nuanced interactions between testing, memory, and learning and suggests possible applications for testing in educational settings.

Appropriate Multiple-Choice Tests Can Foster Test-Induced Learning

One of the criticisms of multiple-choice tests is that they expose test takers to the correct answer among the available options. This means that you only have to recognize the correct answer, you don't have to rely on retrieval processes that are known to enhance later recall. Psychological scientist Jeri Little and her colleagues investigated whether multiple-choice tests could actually be designed to call upon these retrieval processes. If the alternative answers are all plausible enough, they hypothesized, test takers would have to retrieve information about why correct alternatives are correct and also about why incorrect alternatives are incorrect in order to be able to distinguish between the two. In two experiments, the researchers found that properly constructed multiple-choice tests can, in fact, trigger productive retrieval processes. They also found that multiple-choice tests had one potentially important advantage over tests in which only the question is presented. Both kinds of tests helped test takers remember the information they been tested on, but only the multiple-choice tests helped them recall information related to incorrect alternatives. These findings suggest that multiple-choice tests can be constructed in ways that exercise the very retrieval processes they have been accused of bypassing.

Jeri L. Little of Washington University in St. Louis was one of the authors. Published online October 3, 2012 in Psychological Science.

Testing Enhances the Transfer of Learning

Many studies have shown that having to retrieve information during a test helps you remember that information later on. But most research on this "testing effect" has measured the ability to recall information in the form of a final test that's similar to the initial test. Much less is known about the whether testing might also promote the application — or transfer — of learning. In this article, psychological scientist Shana Carpenter reviews recent studies that have begun to address this issue, especially as it relates to the benefits of testing on our ability to transfer information across multiple contexts, test formats, and knowledge domains. The few studies on this topic have, so far, reported robust benefits of testing on the transfer of learning. Carpenter highlights the need for research that explores the potential of tests to promote not just the direct retention of information, but also the application of knowledge to new situations.

Shana K. Carpenter of Iowa State University was one of the authors. Published in the October 2012 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Testing Can Strengthen Short-Term Memory for Cross-Language Information

Researchers know that repeated testing leads to better long-term memory for information than does repeated study, but they're unsure of why this is the case. Psychological scientist Peter Verkoeijen and his colleagues hypothesized that studying may strengthen the aspects of a memory trace that pertain to the way words look and sound, while testing may strengthen the aspects of a memory trace that have to do with the meaning of words. The researchers had Dutch-English bilingual participants learn several lists of words in Dutch. In some instances they were tested after an initial study period (test condition), and in others they were told to study the list again (restudy condition). Participants' memory for the words was then tested in Dutch or English. The main finding shows that participants in the test condition were better at recognizing the words they had been told to learn when they took the final test in English (across-language) but not when they took the final test in Dutch (within-language). These results suggests that using a test as a method of learning — strengthening the meaning of words — was useful for the participants when they weren't able to rely on the visual or phonological familiarity of words because the words were presented in different languages. The results lend support to the researchers' hypothesis that restudying and testing strengthen memory in different ways.

Peter Verkoeijen of Erasmus University Rotterdam was among the authors. Published in the June 2012 issue of Psychological Science.

Active Retrieval Promotes Meaningful Learning

When researchers think about the retrieval of information from memory, they often focus on retrieval as a way to figure out what people have already learned. But psychological scientist Jeffrey Karpicke argues that retrieval processes play a central role in the active process of learning as it happens. Karpicke outlines the retrieval-based learning perspective and discusses the role of retrieval in learning, the means by which it can enhance learning over the long-term, and the ways in which it can help to promote meaningful learning.

Jeffrey D. Karpicke of Purdue University published the article in the June 2012 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science.


Journal References:

  1. J. L. Little, E. L. Bjork, R. A. Bjork, G. Angello. Multiple-Choice Tests Exonerated, at Least of Some Charges: Fostering Test-Induced Learning and Avoiding Test-Induced Forgetting. Psychological Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612443370
  2. S. K. Carpenter. Testing Enhances the Transfer of Learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2012; 21 (5): 279 DOI: 10.1177/0963721412452728
  3. P. P. J. L. Verkoeijen, S. Bouwmeester, G. Camp. A Short-Term Testing Effect in Cross-Language Recognition. Psychological Science, 2012; 23 (6): 567 DOI: 10.1177/0956797611435132
  4. J. D. Karpicke. Retrieval-Based Learning: Active Retrieval Promotes Meaningful Learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2012; 21 (3): 157 DOI: 10.1177/0963721412443552

Discovery of gatekeeper nerve cells explains the effect of nicotine on learning and memory

Researchers at Uppsala University have, together with Brazilian collaborators, discovered a new group of nerve cells that regulate processes of learning and memory. These cells act as gatekeepers and carry a receptor for nicotine, which can explain our ability to remember and sort information. The discovery of the gatekeeper cells, which are part of a memory network together with several other nerve cells in the hippocampus, reveal new fundamental knowledge about learning and memory.

The study is published today in Nature Neuroscience.

The hippocampus is an area of the brain that is important for consolidation of information into memories and helps us to learn new things. The newly discovered gatekeeper nerve cells, also called OLM-alpha2 cells, provide an explanation to how the flow of information is controlled in the hippocampus.

"It is known that nicotine improves cognitive processes including learning and memory, but this is the first time that an identified nerve cell population is linked to the effects of nicotine," says Professor Klas Kullander at Uppsala University.

Humans think, learn and memorize with the help of nerve cells sending signals between each other. Some nerve cells send signals far away to other areas of the brain, while other neurons send signals within the same area. Local nerve circuits in the hippocampus process impressions and turn some of them into memories. But how does this work? And how can nicotine improve this mechanism?

The new research study literally sheds new light on this intriguing mechanism.

"We have used a new technology called optogenetics, in which light is used to stimulate selected nerve cells. We were amazed when we discovered that light activation of the gatekeeper cells alters the flow of information in the hippocampus in the same way as nicotine does," explains coauthor Richardson Leão.

Through research on mice, the scientists showed that the gatekeeper cells connect to the principal cell of the hippocampus. Active gatekeeper cells prioritize local circuit signals arriving to the principal cell, while inactive gatekeeper cells allow inputs from long-distance targets. Nicotine activates the gatekeeper cell, thereby prioritizing the formation of memories via local inputs.

Next, the scientists want to test which types of memory and learning may be selected for by the activation of gatekeeper cells. With such knowledge, it may be possible to stimulate these nerve cells by artificial means, for example by selective nicotine-like drugs, to improve memory and learning in humans.

"Ideally, one would like to access the positive effects of nicotine on the hippocampus's ability to process information, but without creating the strong nicotine dependence that keep smokers addicted to inhaling dangerous tobacco smoke," says Klas Kullander.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richardson N Leão, Sanja Mikulovic, Katarina E Leão, Hermany Munguba, Henrik Gezelius, Anders Enjin, Kalicharan Patra, Anders Eriksson, Leslie M Loew, Adriano B L Tort, Klas Kullander. OLM interneurons differentially modulate CA3 and entorhinal inputs to hippocampal CA1 neurons. Nature Neuroscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3235