Chapter 9: Memory

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memory

the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information.

flashbulb memory

a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event.

encoding

the processing of information into the memory system - for example, by extracting meaning.

storage

the retention of encoded information over time.

retrieval

the process of getting information out of memory storage.

sensory memory

the immediate, initial recording of sensory information in the memory system.

Example: When listening to a song, the sound will be stored in our sensory memory.

short-term memory

activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing, before the information is stored or forgotten. Working memory is a similar concept that focuses more on the processing of briefly stored information.

Example: When listening to the same song for the first time, some words of the refrain will be stored in our short-term memory.

long-term memory

the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system.

Example: After listening to the song a couple of times, we memorize the whole lyrics, which are stored in the long-term memory due to constant rehearsal.

automatic processing

unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings.

Example: Typing on a computer keyboard without looking at the keys exhibits our ability to learn to automatically process previously effortful processed information.

rehearsal

the conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage.

Example: Repeating the vocabulary words that I need to study for the quiz in order to learn them.

spacing effect

the tendency for distributed study or practice to yield better long-term retention than is achieved through massed study or practice.

Example: I will remember the vocabulary better if I study them in time intervals.

serial position effect

our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list.

Example: When given fifteen numbers, we will recall the first and last numbers better than the ones in-between.

visual encoding

the encoding of picture images.

acoustic encoding

the encoding of sound, especially the sound of words.

semantic encoding

the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words.

imagery

mental pictures; a powerful aid to effortful processing, especially when combined with semantic encoding.

mnemonics

memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices.

chunking

organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically.

iconic memory

a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second.

echoic memory

a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds.

long-term potentiation

an increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory.

amnesia

the loss of memory.

implicit memory

retention independent of conscious recollection. Also called procedural memory.

explicit memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and 'declare'.

hippocampus

a neural center located in the limbic system that helps process explicit memories for storage.

recall

a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test.

recognition

a measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on a multiple-choice test.

relearning

a memory measure that assesses the amount of time saved when learning material for a second time.

priming

the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory.

déjà vu

that eerie sense that "I've experienced this before." Cues from the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience.

mood-congruent memory

the tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with ones current good or bad mood.

proactive interference

the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information.

retroactive interference

the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information.

repression

in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes from consciousness anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories.

misinformation effect

incorporating misleading information into one's memory of an event.

source amnesia

attributing to the wrong source an event that we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined.

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