Psychology Vocab Ch 6

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Psychology: Saundra Ciccarelli 2nd Edition

Anterograde amnesia

loss of memory from the point of injury or trauma forward, or the inability to form new long-term memories.

Autobiographical memory

the memory for events and facts related to one's personal life story.

Automatic encoding

tendency of certain kinds of information to enter long-term memory with little or no effortful encoding.


the changes that take place in the structure and functioning of neurons when an engram is formed.

Constructive processing

referring to the retrieval of memories in which those memories are altered, revised, or influenced by newer information.

Curve of forgetting

a graph showing a distinct pattern in which forgetting is very fast within the first hour after learning a list and then tapers off gradually.


loss of memory due to the passage of time, during which the memory trace is not used.

Declarative memory

type of long-term memory containing information that is conscious and known.

Distributed practice

spacing the study of material to be remembered by including breaks between study periods.


another name for decay, assuming that memories that are not used will eventually decay and disappear.

Echoic memory

the brief memory of something a person has just heard.

Eidetic imagery

the ability to access a visual memory for 30 seconds or more.

Elaborative rehearsal

a method of transferring information from STM into LTM by making that information meaningful in some way.


the set of mental operations that people perform on sensory information to convert that information into a form that is usable in the is storage systems.

Encoding failure

failure to process information into memory.

Encoding specificity

the tendency for memory information to be improved if related information (such as surroundings or physiological state) available when the memory is first formed is also available when the memory is being retrieved.

Episodic memory

type of declarative memory containing personal information not readily available to others, such as daily activities and events.


memory that is consciously known, such as declarative memory.

False positive

error of recognition in which people think that they recognize some stimulus that is not actually in memory.

Flashbulb memories

type of automatic encoding that occurs because an unexpected event has strong emotional associations for the person remembering it.

Hindsight bias

the tendency to falsely believe, through revision of older memories to include newer information, that one could have correctly predicted the outcome of an event.

Iconic memory

visual sensory memory, lasting only a fraction of a second.

Implicit memory

memory that is not easily brought into conscious awareness, such as procedural memory.

Infantile amnesia

the inability to remember memories from much before age 3.

Information-processing model

model of memory that assumes the processing of information for memory storage is similar to the way a computer processes memory in a series of three steps.

Levels-of-processing model

model of memory that assumes information that is more "deeply processed," or processed according to its meaning rather than just the sound or physical characteristics of the word or words, will be remembered more efficiently and for a longer period of time.

Long-term memory (LTM)

the system of memory into which all the information is placed to be kept more or less permanently.

Maintenance rehearsal

practice of saying some information to be remembered over and over in one's head in order to maintain it in short-term memory.


an active system that receives information from the senses, puts that information into a usable form, and organizes it as it stores it away, and then retrieves the information from storage.

Memory trace

physical change in the brain that occurs when a memory is formed.

Misinformation effect

the tendency of misleading information presented after an event to alter the memories of the event itself.

Parallel distributed processing (PDP) model

a model of memory in which memory processes are proposed to take place at the same time over a large network of neural connections.

Primacy effect

tendency to remember information at the beginning of a body of information better than the information that follows.

Proactive interference

memory retrieval problem that occurs when older information prevents or interferes with the retrieval of newer information.

Procedural (nondeclarative) memory

type of long-term memory including memory for skills, procedures, habits, and conditioned responses. These memories are not conscious but are implied to exist because they affect conscious behavior.


type of memory retrieval in which the information to be retrieved must be "pulled" from memory with very few external cues.

Recency effect

tendency to remember information at the end of a body of information better than the information at the beginning of it.


the ability to match a piece of information or a stimulus to a stored image or fact.


getting information that is in storage into a form that can be used.

Retrieval cue

a stimulus for remembering.

Retroactive interference

memory retrieval problem that occurs when newer information prevents or interferes with the retrieval of older information.

Retrograde amnesia

loss of memory from the point of some injury or trauma backwards, or loss of memory for the past.

Selective attention

the ability to focus on only one stimulus from among all sensory input.

Semantic memory

type of declarative memory containing general knowledge, such as knowledge of language and information learned in formal education.

Semantic network model

model of memory organization that assumes information is stored in the brain in a connected fashion, with concepts that are related stored physically closer to each other than concepts that are not highly related.

Sensory memory

the very first stage of memory, the point at which information enters the nervous system through the sensory systems.

Serial position effect

tendency of information at the beginning and end of a body of information to be remembered more accurately than information in the middle of the body of information.

Short-term memory (STM)

the memory system in which information is held for brief periods of time while being used.


holding onto information for some period of time.

Working memory

an active system that processes the information in short-term memory.

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