History And Memory Essay Introduction

Our case studies are global in reach, with a particular interest in dealing with the past.

As well as seminar- and library-based research, you will be expected to visit sites in London including: St Clement Danes Church (the ‘RAF Church’); Brick Lane; the Foundling Museum; St Paul’s Cathedral; the Old Operating Theatre at Guy’s Hospital; Postman’s Park; the Enlightenment Galleries at the British Museum, and the various locations featured in ‘Imperial Images’ podcast.

Modern estimates of the capacity of short-term memory are lower, typically of the order of 4–5 items; For example, in recalling a ten-digit telephone number, a person could chunk the digits into three groups: first, the area code (such as 123), then a three-digit chunk (456) and lastly a four-digit chunk (7890).

This method of remembering telephone numbers is far more effective than attempting to remember a string of 10 digits; this is because we are able to chunk the information into meaningful groups of numbers.

Conrad (1964) found that test subjects had more difficulty recalling collections of letters that were acoustically similar (e.g. Confusion with recalling acoustically similar letters rather than visually similar letters implies that the letters were encoded acoustically.

Conrad's (1964) study, however, deals with the encoding of written text; thus, while memory of written language may rely on acoustic components, generalisations to all forms of memory cannot be made.

Subjects were presented with a grid of 12 letters, arranged into three rows of four.

After a brief presentation, subjects were then played either a high, medium or low tone, cuing them which of the rows to report.

The ability to look at an item and remember what it looked like with just a split second of observation, or memorization, is the example of sensory memory.

It is out of cognitive control and is an automatic response.


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