So let’s take a look at another really
interesting thing which is networks
and what they play in terms of
memory recall and memory storage.
So information stored in a long-term
memory is done in an organized network
and this is really cool.
And what we’re saying is that things aren’t
just arbitrarily thrown in your brain,
in long-term memory, and the analogy
I like to use is a computer again
or you can go to a library, is
that books are stored long-term
in areas that are quite
organized and that makes sense.
So there’s a network, right?
So you have sort of all the
periodicals in a certain spot
and you have all the reference
books and the maps analysis
and it’s organized and so that there’s some
consistency, but they’re all linked, right?
So you can have different types
of maps, you can have atlases.
They’re all in that area of
maps, but there’s a network.
If you think of a computer, you’re going to
have things organized in certain folders
and subfolders and subfolders
of the subfolders,
and that organization allows you to
improve and understand your access.
So, individual ideas or
hubs are called nodes.
And so as you can see from this diagram,
we have the first node,
which is animal. Okay?
So you also have a bird and so,
how are those two connected?
Well, a bird is an animal.
And then you have another term or a
thing that you can have in your memory,
which is plumage or a canary and Tweety,
and you could see how they’re all linked.
So Tweety is an instance of a canary,
and the canary is a type of bird,
and a bird has plumage or feathers,
and then you might have another
one that says “Seeds".
Birds eat seeds,” so
there’s a linkage.
Okay, that’s the point that
I want you to understand,
is there’s a linkage
or a network.
nodes are connected
That’s what we’re
going to call --
that’s what we call the lines in between
each of these nodes, is association.
The strength of the association
is related to how frequently
and deeply the
connection is made.
So, you know, for us, bird and
say seeds or canary, that --
that connection is going
to be fairly relevant.
It’s going to be
commonly used because --
you know, or bird,
feather, and flight.
Those are three words
that are highly connected
and when you think of
bird, a lot of times you
do think of flying or
you think of feathers.
So there’s a deep connection, as
opposed to bird and maybe flu.
Like, well, how does
bird and flu connect?
There is a connection, but you
got to work through that.
Well, years ago we had an
epidemic of avian flu,
and avian means bird, it was
bird-derived, and that’s a type of bird.
So bird and flu,
there’s a connection,
but it’s fairly weak
and it’s not as deep and so therefore,
it’s going to be harder to recall.
Now, why do we even care about this
and what impact does this have?
Well, it’s going to lead to --
leads to increased recall
and the more you recall something,
the stronger it is in your memory.
So like I was saying to you before,
you might have things in your memory
that you don’t access very often.
The less you access something,
the less it’s activated,
the easier it is for you to lose it.
So let’s take a look at some examples here.
So nodes are only activated once
they reach a certain threshold.
So if I say to you right now,
The word “banana” kicks in,
you hear what I say, that gets processed
and you’re activating parts of your memory
and you’re going to say, “Banana.”
And now you’ve actually
activated that network.
There are words associated with banana
that I have just activated in private.
But have I activated every
word associated with banana?
The answer is no,
because I need to achieve a certain
threshold or limit of activation.
Now, the words that are
really tight with banana
like maybe yellow, monkey, bread.
Who knows? It’s kind of individual.
But all the words that are really tightly
associated with banana get activated
and there’s other
words that are --
can be linked to banana, but really,
I didn’t reach the threshold,
I didn’t activate them, and so, they’re
really not brought to the forefront.
response threshold is reached by the summation
of input signals from multiple nodes.
So the more connections
a word has
and the more that word gets
activated via those networks,
the more likely that you
will remember those words.
So there are words that
we say all the time.
It recalls us of stories, times.
It makes it very easy to
remember those words.
And there are words that we barely ever use
or concepts that don’t come up very often.
So activation of a node leads to stimulation
of neighboring connected nodes.
So I say bird,
and that by me saying bird, I have activated
plumage, canary, Tweety, and animal,
and I have to have achieved a
certain response threshold
for me to actually
Now, bird might also be connected
to something else which,
I don’t know, is connected
to the word “farm”
and it’s also connected to the word “zoo.”
So if I’m saying zoo a lot and farm a
lot, those are also activating bird.
So collectively, you
add all that up,
and the word “bird” in my mind
gets activated a whole lot,
and therefore, memory of
that word is quite high.
So there’s another example
of that spreading network.
So the activation of a few nodes can lead to
a pattern of activation within the network
that spreads onward activation
known as spreading activation.
So in this example I
have the word “beer,”
one of my favorite words.
You say the word “beer” and
all of a sudden what happens?
Different words start getting activated --
good times, party, friends,
success, sex, women.
If you’re a woman saying it,
could be -- it could be men,
and these are all words that
are somehow related to beer
and, again, this can
be very individual.
For some people beer might mean,
you know, like I hate it,
vomiting, sick, you know, jail, or it can
mean a whole bunch of things, divorce.
So the words themselves and the
connectivity is quite individual,
but the process that I’m talking about of
spreading activation is a consistent theme.
So it also explains contextual
cues, priming, and associations.
So if I say --
if I say the word “beer”
and all of a sudden I’m asking you,
what is one of your favorite beverages?
I said the word “beer” and I’ve activated
the system so I’ve kind of primed you.
And you might say, “Well, geez. You just
said beer, I’ve been thinking about beer,
so, yeah, I love beer. I also love
milk and I love juice.” Okay.
Well, a lot of times they’ll
have this phenomenon
where they’ll flash a word and this is --
this is still for debate, but
they have this subconscious word
where they’ll prime you
with a flash of a word
and I had done this
in another lecture.
If I were to say red and I keep
talking about something else,
and you heard the word “red,” we discuss
something else, and then I now ask you,
“Okay, can you name
your favorite fruit?”
Now, I said fruit but I had
primed you with the word “red.”
Red activated all the things
that you know that are red --
red lips, red liquorice,
red food which is strawberries,
cherries, and so on, and so on.
And so now when I’m asking you a
completely unrelated question
or you’ve had another interaction
and somebody’s saying,
“What is your favorite fruit?”
You might not say banana
because a banana is yellow.
Because I primed you with the word
“red,” I’ve activated the words
“apple,” which are red,
and so your recall might be --
actually, if I’m naming a fruit that I
love, strawberries. I love strawberries.
That priming or a contextual cue can
pre-activate the system for you
or it can lower the threshold
required to fire a certain word
because of that spreading activation.