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Chapter 2: Cognitive Memory and Learning
2.1 Characteristics of Human Memory and Learning
2.2 Organization of Human Memory
2.3 Theories of Human Learning
2.4 Principles of Cognitive Learning and Memory
Lecture 2 (9/3)
2.1 Characteristics of Human Memory and Learning
Experiment 1: Memorizing 10 words
Experiment 2: Recalling 20 words given a cue word
Word recall experiment
Fact: Cognitive information processing is influenced by memory. Information processing (pprocessor,
algorithm) and memory processes (memory, representation) are closely related. Eg.: Priming effect
Fact: Information processing in the brain is context dependent (context-sensitive). Eg.: temporal context
in priming effect
Fact: Brain anatomy shows evidence for specialization of cognitive faculties. Different areas are more
responsible for different functions. (support for localists’ arguments).
Faxt: A large part of brain is used and interacts for performing specific tasks. (support for globalists’
Observation: The interval of neural firing is of milliseconds. Assuming the visual response time to be 0.1
second, 100 neurons are fired. If the average number of connections of neurons is 10000, a maximum of
10010000 = 10200000 neurons are fired. Assuming 0.1% of these are fired (i.e. 1/1000 * 10000), the total
number of neurons active in 0.1 sec is 10010 = 1020. The total number of neurons in the brain is 1011, so
this suggests that the whole neural network in the brain be used (in multiple times).
Evidence for glocality in memory (globally distributed + localized)
Lecture 3 (Monday, 9/8)
2.2 Organization of Human Memory
Human memory consists of long-term and short-term memories.
Note: Computer memory consists also of long-term memory (disks) and short-term memory
(main memory).
Sensory memory
Short-term memory
Long-term memory
Cf. working memory
According to objects to store, there are many different types of memory.
“What is the capital of Rumania?” Semantic memory (explicit memory)
“Children tends to remember well who bought them the toys when and where”
Episodic memory (explicit)
“It is easy to learn playing pingpong, but it’s not easy to explain how to play it”
memory (implicit)
“A taste of coffee reminds me of cheese cake. Classical conditioning (implicit)
- Learning in humans and machines
People learn immediately (one-shot learning) and from a single example. Semantic memory.
Non-associative learning, a type of classical conditioning, requires several repetitions.
Behavioral learning.
Comparison: Most machine learning algorithms learn from observing data repeatedly. In this
sense, current machine learning methods attempt to build more like implicit memory
(conditioning) than explicit memory (semantic memory).
Characteristics of human learning and memory: compositionality, sparse data, sparse coding,
population coding
Structure of the Memory System
Some important questions about memory:
How memory traces are physically represented in the brain?
What is the molecular biological mechanism of the short-term memory?
How a short-term memory is transferred to a long-term memory?
Some other questions
1. What are the elementary units of memory? Engram?
2. Related question: What are the elements of matter?
We use the term memon as a functional unit of memory. It is contrasted to the neuron as the unit of
structure of the nervous system.
Memons at the molecular biological level are neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and neuropeptides.
Memons are realized at the cellular level in cell assemblies or brain circuits.
As we shall see later, the hyperedges in the hypernework model can be viewed as instances of
Lecture (Mon, 9/17)
Excursion 1: Seminar on Human Memory:
Neath and Surprenant, Human Memory, 2nd Ed., Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.
10/1 (Wed)
10/6 (Mon)
10/8 (Wed)
10/13 (Mon)
10/15 (Wed)
10/20 (Mon)
Ch.1: Introduction and Historical Overview
Ch. 2: Sensory Memory
Ch. 3: The Modal Model
Ch. 4: Working Memory
Ch. 5: Perspectives on Processing
Ch. 6: Forgetting
Ch. 7: Implicit Memory
Ch. 8: Memory, Brain, Amnesia
Ch. 9: Recognition
Ch. 10: Knowledge
Ch. 11: Imagery
Ch. 12: Reconstructive Processing in Memory
Ch. 13: Memory for When
Ch. 14: Memory Development
Ch. 15: Mnemonics
2.3 Theories of Human Learning
- Learning Theory
- Bahavioristic Theories
- Cognitive Theories
- Social Cognitive Theories
Excursion 2: Seminar on Human Learning
Guy R. Lefrancois, Theories of Human Learning, Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.
10/22 (Wed), 10/27 (Mon), 10/29 (Wed), 11/3 (Mon), 11/5 (Wed), 11/10 (Mon)
Excursion 2: Seminar on Human Learning
10/22 (Wed),
Part 1: Science and Theory
Ch. 1: Human Learning: Science and Theory
Part 2: Mostly Behavioristic Theories
Ch. 2: Early Behaviorism: Pavlov, Watson, and Guthrie
10/27 (Mon),
Ch. 3: The Effects of Behavior: Thorndike and Hull
Ch. 4: Operant Conditioning: Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism
Ch. 5: Evolutionary Psychology: Learning, Biology, and the Brain
10/29 (Wed),
Part 3: The Beginnings of Modern Cognitivism
Ch. 6: A Transition to Modern Cognitivism: Hebb, Tolman, and the Gestaltists
Part 4: Mostly Cognitive Theories
Ch. 7: Three Cognitive Theories: Brunner, Piaget, and Vygotsky
11/3 (Mon),
Ch. 8: Neural Networks: The New Connectionism
Ch. 9: Learning and Remembering
11/5 (Wed),
Ch. 10: Motivation
Ch. 11: Social Learning: Badura’s Social Cognitive Theory
11/10 (Mon)
Part 5: Summary
Ch. 12: Analysis, Synthesis, and Integration
2.4 Principles of Cognitive Learning
Three Fundamental Principles of Cognitive
Learning: Our Proposal
Continuity. Learning is a continuous,
lifelong process. “The experiences of
each immediately past moment are
memories that merge with current
momentary experiences to create the
impression of seamless continuity in
our lives” [McGaugh, 2003]
Glocality. “Perception is dependent
on context” and it is important to
maintain both global and local, i.e.
glocal, representations [Peterson and
Rhodes, 2003]
Compositionality. “The brain
activates existing metaphorical
structures to form a conceptual blend,
consisting of all the metaphors linked
together” [Feldman, 2006]
© 2008, SNU Biointelligence Lab,