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PSH 351: Cognitive Processes

Exam 2 Study Guide


Exam 2 is worth 40 points and will consist of 30 multiple-choice questions [1 point each], and 1 essay question [10 points]. There will be a choice of [most likely] two options for answering the essay question. As usual, handouts and your notes from class will be important sources for studying, in addition to the assigned readings. The reading guides will be useful as well, but onlyfor the topics on this study guide. The tutorsare also be helpful resources for exam preparation.


Potential essay question topics, denoted by * below, represent topics that are central for the unit. You should be sure to pay extra attention to these. Since there is no way you can choose which essays will appear on the exam, your best strategy is to prepare all the potential essays. Essay questions need to be answered thoroughly and specifically. I recommend you prepare for the essays by writing them out ahead of time. You can request feedback from the tutors or myself on essays that you have prepared ahead of time, but you must provide adequate time for the feedback to be provided. I.e., please don’t email last-minute essays and expect immediate response– keep in mind the student-instructor ratio. Also,it might not be feasible for the tutors of me to provide responses late evenings, so please plan accordingly.


Each of the major topics covered in unit 2 are in bold below. Reading Guide items that need to be studied are listed first, followed by more integrative concepts and/or potential essay questions that you should prepare for, based on both the readings and class discussions. For your review of the Reading Guide items, you may want to consult the original Reading Guide to view additional tips relevant to the items listed here [and only for the ones listed here].


Note that * -indicating a potential essay question – is for topics that may also be tested with multiple choice questions.





Reading Guide items:

What is implicit processing?

What is habituation?

What is hemineglect? In what part of the brain does damage often lead to hemineglect?

What are controlled attention and selective attention?

What is the dual task procedure, and what is its purpose?

Be able to explain what shadowing is, along with the results of Cherry’s classic shadowing experiments

What were the basic ideas behind Broadbent’s Early Selection Model?  What were the “serious problems”?

What did Treisman find? [i.e., why was hers called a “late selection” model? Take note of the idea that unattended information is “attenuated.” [What does this mean?]

What is automatic processing? What are the characteristics of automatic processes?

What is the Stroop effect? What causes it? [Make sure you understand the use of the term “priming” in this context]

What is conscious or controlled processing? What are the characteristics?

Be sure to read the section on the role of practice.

What is the route to automaticity [i.e.,. how does a formerly conscious/controlled process become automatic]?

What is an “action slip”?

What are the disadvantages of automaticity?


Integrative item:

*What is the Stroop effect, and what does it tell us about automatic & conscious processes? Describe [from class discussion of Norman’s proposal] “slips” and “mistakes,” and be able to identify examples of each



Short-term, working memory


Reading Guide items:

Regarding how information is lost from STM: Be able to explain the Brown-Peterson task and the results that led to their conclusion that decay was the cause.

Be able to explain how Waugh & Norman proved Brown/Peterson & Peterson wrong. I.e., what is the evidence from their experiment that it is interference, not decay, that causes loss of info from STM?

Be able to explain what proactive interference is and recognize examples.

How did Wickens demonstrate release from proactive interference?

What is a serial position curve?

What is the recency effect?

Regarding Baddeley’s model of working memory: What are the major functions of the Central Executive?

What are the main functions of the phonological loop?

Three “effects” [consistent findings from experiments] shed light on the phonological loop: word length effect, articulatory suppression, and phonological similarity. How does Baddeley’s model explain these three effects?

What are the main functions of the visuo-spatial sketchpad [VSSP]?

The evidence for the VSSP that we will focus on comes from studies of mental rotation. What are the results of mental rotation studies? What do the results tell us about the VSSP?

How did Logie, Zucco, & Baddeley [1990] use the dual-task method in their experiment? What were their results and conclusions?


Integrative/potential essay items:


*Is forgetting from short-term memory caused by decay or interference?  Thoroughly discuss the Brown-Peterson and Waugh & Norman studies, along with their results and implications.


*Describe Baddeley’s Working Memory system, including the components of the system, their function, and their interactions; then discuss the Logie, Zucco& Baddeley experiment and results and how they provide evidence for the model.




Overview of Long-term memory

Make sure you understand the distinctions among the various forms of long-term memory. Be able to define or recognize definitions and examples of implicit [non-declarative], explicit [declarative], procedural, episodic and semantic memory.


Episodic Long-term memory

  1. What is a mnemonic device, and how is it used? What are the three “principles” of mnemonic techniques that strengthen memory?
  2. Revisiting the three principles again, describe how/why mnemonic devices are effective. Note the connection with the three-step sequence of learning/memory: encoding, retention and retrieval.
  3. Be sure you can explain Ebbinghaus’s relearning task. Also know what “savings scores” are as used in his research.
  4. What doEbbinghaus’s results tell us? When does most forgetting occur?
  5. What did Ebbinghaus learn about the effects of repetition/overlearning?
  6. Some researchers bemoaned Ebbinghaus’s contributions to memory research because of his use of meaningless [nonsense] materials.Radvansky& Ashcraft emphasize the Ebbinghaus influence by pointing out that he was the first to apply rigorous scientific methods and procedures to an objective examination of human memory.
  7. What is metamemory?
  8. What are maintenance and elaborative rehearsal?
  9. What are the effects of shallow and deep processing on memory?
  10. What is the organization effect?
  1. Note the concept of encoding specificity as described in your text.
  2. What is a retrieval cue? How are retrieval cues related to encoding specificity?
  3. Note the variants of encoding specificity known as mood congruent learning [from class] and state-dependent learning [class and text].
  4. Note the importance of overlap between study and test “contexts.”



* Discuss encoding and retrieval from episodic long-term memory.  Include answers to the following:

  1. Discuss two factors that enhance encoding and storage in episodic memory [and how/why do they do so]. Provide evidence and/or examples of these factors.
  2. What is encoding specificity? Describe two experiments that demonstrate encoding specificity.

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