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C. As you read the text, fill in the graph (after the text) which presents the information – processing model of memory

Unit 4


Chapter 1




What comes to your mind when you hear the word “memory”?

In small groups complete the ‘memory’ mind-map, and then share your results with the rest of the class.


· What is the basic difference between the words mind and brain?

· How do you understand the words and expressions in the box below?

mindless; brainless; a brainwave; brainwashing; to have something on the brain; to have a good brain; to be out of one’s mind; to rack one’s brain; to be in two mind s about something.  



· In the following sentences replace the words in italics with a word or expression given above:

- I’ve just had a brilliant idea!

- We aren’t sure whether we should buy that house or not.

- You must be mad to give up such a well-paid job.

- I’ve thought and thought about it and I still can’t remember where I put it.



A. Match the words on the left with their translations on the right. The first one is done for you.

1 to rehearse(h) a. cырой, необработанный

2 to recall b. выбрасывать, сбрасывать

3 to process c. вспоминать

4 ability d. возвращать

5 to retrieve e.приобретать

6 raw f. хранить

7 to fade away g. обрабатывать

8 to discard h. репетировать

9 sequence (n) i. способность

10 to store j. исчезать, стереться (в памяти)

11 to acquire k. последовательность


B. Which five of these things in the list below do you think will be mentioned in the text?

1. Scientists have been trying to find answers to the questions about how memory works since the 19th century.

2. In one experiment, participants were given a 3-digit number and asked to count backwards.

3. Memory is a series of steps in which we process information.

4. Inaccuracies in eyewitness testimony present a challenge to both cognitive and forensic psychologists.

5. We sometimes find remembering easy and oftentimes very difficult.

6. Short-time memory stores and processes selected information.

7. After returning from the grocery store, you realize that you have forgotten to buy two of the things on your list.

8. There are things you intend to remember, but you also receive a lot of information that you never intended to remember.

While – reading

A. Scan the text to see if you were right.

B. Which major topics does the text deal with?

C. As you read the text, fill in the graph (after the text) which presents the information – processing model of memory.


Accounts of people with extraordinary memories raise many questions about the nature of memory. Why are some people so much better at remembering things than others? Are they simply born with this ability, or could any of us learn to remember as much as these people do? And why is it that remembering may sometimes be so simple and other times so difficult? Why do we find it so hard to remember something that happened only a few months back, yet we can recall in vivid detail some other event that happened 10, 20, even 30 years ago? How does memory work, and what makes it fail? Among the first to seek scientific answers to these questions was the nineteenth century German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. He composed lists of “nonsense syllables,” meaningless combinations of letters, such as PIB, WOL, or TEB. He memorized lists of 13 syllables each. Then, after varying amounts of time, he tried to relearn each list of syllables. He found that the longer he waited after first learning a list, the longer it took to learn the list again. Most of the information was lost in the first few hours.


Today many psychologists find it useful to think about memory as a series of steps in which we process information, much like a computer stores and retrieves data. These steps form what is known as the information-processing model of memory. What is the sequence of information processing? Raw information flows from the senses into the sensory registers, where it fades away or is processed in terms of existing knowledge and information. Information that is determined to be meaningful is passed on for further processing in short-term memory (STM); the rest is discarded. In STM, information is either forgotten or transferred into long-term memory (LTM), where it can be stored and retrieved when necessary.


STM is also called primary or working memory. It briefly stores and processes selected information. STM has its limits. Researchers have found that it can hold only as much information as can be repeated or rehearsed in 1.5 to 2 seconds, which is usually 5 to 10 separate bits of information. We can process more information by grouping it into larger meaningful units, a process called chunking.


LTM is more or less permanent and stores everything we “know.” Semantic memory is the portion of LTM that stores general facts and information in dictionary or encyclopedia form. Another facet of LTM, episodic memory,stores information rich with personal meaning.


The memories we have just considered are things you intended to remember. Psychologists call such memories explicit memory. But you also acquire a great deal of information that you never intended to remember. Perhaps you have had the experience of recalling exactly where on a page a particular piece of information appeared, even though you did not to remember the item or its placement. Psychologists call such unintentional memories implicit memory.




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