Sensory Memory

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The most elementary memory processes are those that constitute our sensory memory. The term sensory is used because the memory processes resemble sensation and perception through which stimulus is recognized. It is high capacity but short-lived sensory trace that is not itself considered to be available to conscious awareness. Sensory memory has two forms: iconic (visual) and echoic (auditory) memory. Visual sensory memory, called Iconic memory, is a form of sensory memory that briefly holds a visual representation of a scene that has just been perceived. Auditory sensory memory, called Echoic memory, is a form of sensory memory for sounds that have just been perceived. It is necessary for comprehending many sounds, particularly those that constitute speech (Tulving & Craik, 2000).

Short-Term Memory (STM) and Working Memory (WM). Previously, Short-term memory was considered as unitary system that is severely limited in capacity, has a time course counted in seconds to minutes, and is readily available to our conscious awareness. However, Shah & Miyake (1999) identified that theories of short term memory (STM) could not adequately describe the kind of temporary memory that complex cognitive tasks require. Currently, memory research gave rise to theories in which short term memory was considered as one component of a larger system known as working memory (Tulving & Craik, 2000). According to Baddley (2002), short-term memory is better thought of as a four-part working memory; central executive, phonological loop, visuospatial sketch pad and an episodic buffer

Long -Term Memory (LTM)

Learning can be represented as the transfer of information from STM to LTM. Information maintained for a significant time is referred to as long-term memory. Theorists have tended to split long-term memory into two major divisions; declarative memory and non-declarative memory. Declarative memory refers to knowledge that we have conscious access to, including personal and world knowledge. Declarative memory can be broken down further into parts: episodic memory and semantic memory. Episodic memory involves conscious awareness of past events; it is personal, autobiographical memory.

Semantic Memory is a type of long-term memory that contains data, facts, and other information, including vocabulary Nondeclarative Memory is revealed when previous experiences facilitate performance on a task that does not require intentional recollection of the experiences. Nondeclarative memory includes forms of memory that are learned and retained even when explicit memory for that knowledge does not exist; therefore it is called implicit memory. Procedural Memory is one form of nondeclarative memory that involves the learning of a variety of motor skills.

Perceptual Representation System (PRS) is another form of nondeclarative memory that acts within the perceptual system. Third type of nondeclarative memory is Classical Conditioning, also referred to as Pavlovian conditioning, occurs when a conditioned stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus. Fourth type is Nonassociative learning, it does not involve the association of two stimuli to elicit a behavioral change. Rather it involves forms of simple learning such as habituation and sensitization (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). Evidence from the cognitive neuroscience suggests that there are different types of memory localized in different areas of brain. Explicit or declarative memory is localized in the hippocampal formation in the medial temporal lobe, whereas, procedural memory is located in striatum, priming in ne cortex, classical conditioning in Amygdala and cerebellum and non-associative learning is found in reflex pathways (Squire & Knowlton, 1994).

Gender Differences in Memory

Several studies found that females have an advantage in processing speed (Burns & Nettelbeck, 2005; Meinz & Salthouse, 1998. Meinz and Salthouse’s meta-analysis (1998) found that males scored higher than females in working memory. However, Goldstein, Jerram, Poldrack, Kennedy, Seidman and Markis (2005) have found no sex difference. In contrast, some studies identified that female performed better on short term memory (e.g., Van der Elst, Van Boxtel, Van Breukelen, & Jolles, 2008). Studies have shown male advantage on short term memory and visuospatial tasks (De Frias, Nilsson, & Herlitz, 2006). Some studies reported that females have advantage on processing speed and verbal episodic memory (Herlitz & Rehnman, 2008). Methods of memorizing.

Bellezza (1980) described three ways in which information can be learned or committed to memory:

  1. by assimilation,
  2. by using a mnemonic device.

Memorizing by Assimilation

Information is learned by assimilation when the structure or substance of the information fits into already existing schema possessed by the learner. The new information is assimilated to or linked to the existing schema and can be retrieved readily by first accessing the existing schema and then reconstructing the new information. Assimilation involves learning by comprehension. Therefore, it is a desirable method, but it can only be used to learn information that is somehow related to our previous experience.

Memorizing by Using a Mnemonic Device

A mnemonic device is any means of organizing or encoding information for the purpose of making it easier to remember. A high school student cramming for a geography test might use the acronym ‘HOMES’ as a device for remembering the first letter of each of the Great Lakes in Ontario, etc.

Memorizing by rote. Biggs (1997) defined Rote learning as a learning in ‘a mechanical way without thought of meaning’ and Moore (2000) described it as a method involving repetition and memorization. Material to be learned is repeated verbally with sufficient frequency that it can later be repeated from memory without use of any memory aids. When information is learned by rote, it forms a separate schema not closely interwoven with previously held knowledge. That is, the mental processing adds little by way of elaboration to the new information, and the new information adds little to the elaboration of existing schemata. Learning by rote is a brute force technique. It seems to be the least efficient way of remembering.

Verbal rehearsal is usually considered a form of rote learning because it involves simply repeating information over and over until we think we have learned it. For abstract material, verbal rehearsal can be used effectively. Atkinson-Shiffrin stage model emphasized verbal rehearsal as a means of transferring information from short term memory to long term memory. Since most of us have used this method to learn material, the role of rehearsal in learning seems intuitively attractive. AtkinsonShiffrin model support link between verbal rehearsal and serial position effect but Craik and Lockhart (1972) argued that recalling a word is not a function of time it was maintained in STM therefore rehearsal does not automatically result in learning, The effectiveness of rehearsal, like that other method of study, depends on the level at which material is been processed.

There are three levels of processing such as Structural coding: memory codes that emphasized the physical structure of stimulus Phonemic coding: memory codes that emphasized the pronunciation of stimulus; Semantic coding: memory codes that emphasizes the meaning of stimulus. The reason rehearsal often results in learning is that people usually attend to the meaning of the material during rehearsal. In contrast, Level of processing approach argued that rehearsal is not used for learning. Sometimes it is used to maintain information in short term memory named as maintenance rehearsal.

Experiments of Craik and Watkins (1973) found that probability of recalling a word at the end of experiment was not a function of the length of time it was maintained in short term memory. Therefore they argued that maintenance rehearsal did not result in learning. Rote memorization is a form of learning, which avoids grasping the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard. The major practice involved in rote learning techniques is learning by repetition, based on the idea that one will be able to recall the meaning of the material the more they repeat it.

Rote learning is helpful when learning the Latin alphabet, the vocabulary of a foreign language or the conjugation of foreign irregular verbs, one must simply memorize because there is little or no inner complexity that can be grasped (as cited in Anzar, 2003). Since the present research also deals with intelligence and personality traits of Hafiz and non-Hafiz adolescents, we’ll address these concepts in the following sections


The word intelligence comes from the Latin verb ‘intellegere’, which means ‘to understand’. Scientists have attempted to define intelligence in various ways. Some consider it as a problem solving skills and the ability of human beings to learn from their environment and adapt themselves to their every day’s life experiences (Santrock, 2006). Others view it as intellectual skills, attitudes, and values practiced in life and community, which are learned through social participation and appropriation (Resnick & Nelson-Legall, 1998).

Theories of intelligence have gone through various phases (Binet, 1916; Cattell, 1987: Guilford, 1961; Spearman, 1927; Terman, 1916; Wechsler; 1958), and stages of developments. Spearman’s Two Factor Theory (1927), deals with intelligence within the Information Processing Approach. Gardener’s Eight Frames of Mind (2000) and Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory (2002) have major focus on Multiple Intelligence Perspective but it also has elements of Information Processing Approach. A report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association (1996), stated that individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, and to overcome obstacles by active thinking.

According to this report, although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal agreement. Generally we can say that intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe a property of mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn (Plucker, 2002).

Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence

Spearman having a strong statistical background, proposed two-factor theory of intelligence in 1927. His theory of intelligence states that performance of any intellectual act is a combination of “general factors” “g” and “specific factors” “s”. General factors available to the same individual to the same degree for all intellectual acts, and specific factors are specific to that act and which varies in strength from one act to another. Therefore, most important information to have about a person’s intellectual ability is an estimate of their “g”. Stanford-Binet Scale is based on spearman’s “g” factor (McNemar,1942).

Raymond Cattell, another theorist of psychometric approach proposed that human intellectual competence can be divided into three dimensions named as fluid intelligence (Gf), crystallized intelligence (Gc), and visual-spatial reasoning (Gv). Fluid intelligence is defined as ability to develop new problem solving techniques. Crystallized intelligence is described as the ability to apply previously acquired knowledge with cultural relevance to solve current problems. Visual-spatial reasoning is defined as a specialized ability to use visual images and visual relationships in solution of a problem.

To understand mathematics, Visual-spatial reasoning is used (Cattell, 1971). Fluid intelligence also known as Gf, refers to the reasoning ability, information processing capabilities and memory. It is interpreted as the using operations such as inductive and deductive reasoning, capacity to solve novel, complex problems, concept formation and classification. (Feldman, 2006; Kane &Engle, 2002). Whereas crystallized intelligence, also known as Gc, refers to the skills, information, and strategies that are learned through experience and are applied in problem solving situations (Feldman, 2006). Crystallized intelligence represents individual differences in breadth and depth of knowledge of the language, information and concepts of a culture.

It is acquired through education and experience and it primarily reflects verbal knowledge and skills, as well as declarative knowledge in wide areas. Crystallized and fluid intelligence can be traced to two separate brain systems (Geary, 2005). Fluid intelligence found in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and other systems related to attention and short-term memory. Crystallized intelligence involves those brain regions that characterized for storage and usage of long-term memories, such as the hippocampus.

Working Memory (WM) and Fluid Intelligence

Martinez (2000) described fluid intelligence as the ability to understand complex relationships and solve novel problems. Studies conducted to observe the relationship between working memory and fluid intelligence could not come up with conclusive evidence on the precise relationship between working memory and fluid intelligence. Some have argued that working memory is highly correlated with fluid intelligence that they could be considered isomorphic (Engle, 2002; Jensen, 1998; Kyllonen, 2002; Stauffer, Ree, & Carretta, 1996).

Others opined that these two constructs are barely linked to each other (Deary, 2000; Kline, 2000). However, most of the researchers claimed that working memory and fluid intelligence are closely related, but not identical (Ackerman, Beier, & Boyle, 2005; Beier & Ackerman, 2005; Kane, Hambrick, & Conway, 2005) Intelligence in Adolescents. Intellectual growth continues its rapid pace in early adolescence and then slows down and levels off in later adolescence. A spurt in brain development, some studies suggest, occurs at roughly the age of 11 or 12. Brain development may give children the information processing speed and working memory capacity. Adolescents are in formal operation stage according to Piaget’s developmental stages theory. Its most salient feature is the ability to think abstractly. This gives them a new, more flexible way to manipulate information.

They can now understand historical time and extraterrestrial space. They can use symbols for symbols (letting X stand for a number). They can think in terms of what might be, not just what is. They can imagine possibilities and can form and test hypotheses (hypothetical deductive reasoning). The shift to formal reasoning, Piaget thought was brought about by a combination of brain maturation and expanding environmental opportunities. Both are essential. During late adolescence, fluid intelligence undergoes sharp decline while crystallized intelligence increases rapidly.


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