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For exam 2

The psychological terms for taking in info, retaining it, and later getting it back are:

encoding, storage, and retrieval

Short-term memory is an intermediate memory stage where info in held before it is stored or forgotten. The newer concept of working memory.....

clarifies the idea of short-term memory by focusing on the active processing that occurs in this stage.

Rehearsal, the conscious repetition of information a person wants to remember, is part of:

effortful processing

When tested immediately after viewing a list of words people tend to recall the 1st and last items more readily than those in the middle. When retested after a delay, they are more likely to recall:

the 1st items on the list

Memory aids that use visual imagery, peg-words, or other organizational devices are called:


Organizing info into broad categories, which are then divided into subcategories, is known as:

hierarchical organization

Sensory information is initially recorded in our sensory memory. This memory may be visual (______ memory) or auditory (______ memory)

iconic; echoic

Our short-term memory for new info is limited; its capacity is about:

7 items

Long-term potentiation (LTP) seems to provide a neural basis for learning and memory. LTP refers to:

An increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid, stimulation.

Amnesia following hippocampus damage typically leaves people unable to learn new facts or recall recent events. However, they may be able to learn new skills, such as riding a bicycle, which is an _______ memory.


The hippocampus seems to function as a:

temporary processing site for explicit memories

A psychologist who asks you to write down as many objects as you can remember having seen a few minutes earlier is testing your:


Specific odors, visual images, emotions, or other associations that help us access a memory are examples of:

retrieval cues

When retrieval cues trigger the feeling that "I've been here before," you are experiencing:

Deja vu

Our tendency to recall experiences consistent w/ our current emotions is called:

mood-congruent memory


The persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of info.


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


The retention of encoded information over time.


The process of getting information out of memory storage.

Sensory memory

The immediate, very brief recording of sensory info in the memory system.

Short-term Memory

Activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone # while dialing, before the info is stored or forgotten.

Long-term Memory

The relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system. Includes knowledge, skills, and experiences.

Working Memory

A newer understanding of short-term memory that focuses on conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information, and of information retrieved from long-term memory.

Automatic Processing

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

Effortful Processing

encoding that requires attention and conscious effort.


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

Spacing Effect

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

Serial Position Effect

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


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


[nih-MON-iks] memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices.


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 (LTP)

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

Flashbulb Memory

a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event.


the loss of memory.

Implicit Memory

retention independent of conscious recollection. (Also called nondeclarative memory.)

Explicit Memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare." (Also called declarative memory.)


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


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


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


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


the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response.

Deja 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 one's current good or bad mood.

What would be the most effective strategy to learn and retain a list of names of key historical figures for a week? For a year?

For a week: Make the names personally meaningful. For a year: Overlearn the list and space out rehearsals over the course of several weeks.

Maria has always loved to wear winter clothing. The sensation of being bundled up makes her feel safe and secure. How might her preference be related to her January birth in Chicago?

Maria's first few months of life were spent wrapped in warm clothing in the bitter cold of a Chicago winter. As an infant, she may have learned to associate winter clothing with her parents' sensitive caregiving (feeling safe and secure). Maria could not form explicit memories of these experiences because of her immature hippocampus and verbal skills. Instead, an implicit memory retrieved from her cerebellum may be triggering this vague sense of comfort.

When you feel sad, why might it help to look at pictures that reawaken some of your best memories?

Memories are stored within a web of many associations, one of which is mood. When you recall fond moments from your past, you stimulate the "happy-memories" associations. By deliberately activating these threads of the web, you may experience moodcongruent memory and recall other happy moments, which will likely improve your mood and positively influence your interpretation of current events.

When forgetting is due to encoding failure, meaningless information has not been transferred from

short-term memory into long-term memory.

Ebbinghaus' "forgetting curve" shows that after an initial decline, memory for novel information tends to

level out.

The hour before sleep is a good time to memorize information because going to sleep after learning new material minimizes

retroactive interference.

Freud proposed that painful or unacceptable memories are self-censored, or blocked from consciousness, through a mechanism called


One reason false memories form is our tendency to fill in memory gaps with our assumptions about events. This tendency is an example of

the misinformation effect.

We may recognize a face in the crowd but be unable to recall where we know the person from. This is an example of

source amnesia.

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.


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

Misinformation Effect

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

Source Amnesia

attributing to the wrong source an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined. (Also called source misattribution.) Source amnesia, along with the misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories.

What you know today seems to be what you have always known. Explain what this means.

Our memories are often modified by our subsequent experiences, thoughts, and expectations. We tend to fill in gaps with reasonable guesses that eventually feel like real memories. Misinformation may color the construction of retrieved memories. If you have a vivid imagination, you may be especially susceptible to incorporating imagined events into your memories. In addition, motivated forgetting may lead you to revise memories to align them with your current self-concept. We are largely unaware of this memory revision process, which is why "what we remember today" seems to be "what we have always remembered."

Eliza's family loves to tell the story of how she "stole the show" as a 2-year-old, dancing at her aunt's wedding reception. Infantile amnesia should have prevented her from forming a memory, yet Eliza can recall the event clearly. How is this possible?

Eliza's immature hippocampus and lack of verbal skills prevented her from encoding an explicit memory of her aunt's wedding reception at the age of two. Instead, it's likely that Eliza learned information (from hearing the story repeatedly) that she eventually constructed into a very convincing (yet false) explicit memory.

What—given the commonality of source amnesia—might life be like if we remembered all our waking experiences and all our dreams?

Real experiences would be confused with those we dreamed. When meeting someone, we might therefore be unsure whether we were reacting to something they previously had done or to something we dreamed they had done. William Dement (1999, pg. 298) noted that this "would put a great burden on your sanity. . . . I truly believe that the wall of memory is a blessed protection."

Sensation is to _______ as perception is to ______.

bottom-up processing; top-down processing

To construct meaning from our external environment, we organize and interpret sensory information. This is the process of


Subliminal stimuli, such as undetectably faint sights or sounds, are

below the absolute threshold for conscious awareness.

Another term for the difference threshold is

just noticeable difference.

Weber's law states that for a difference to be perceived, two stimuli must differ by

a constant minimum percentage.

Sensory adaptation has survival benefits because it helps us focus on

important changes in the environment.

The physical characteristic of light that determines the color we experience, such as blue or green, is


The blind spot in your retina is located in an area where

the optic nerve leaves the eye.

Cones are the eye's receptor cells that are especially sensitive to _______ light and are responsible for our ________ vision.

bright; color

The brain cells that respond maximally to certain bars, edges, and angles are called

feature detectors.

The brain's ability to process many aspects of an object or problem simultaneously is called

parallel processing.

Two theories together account for color vision. The Young-Helmholtz theory shows that the eye contains ________, and the Hering theory accounts for the nervous system's having ________.

three types of color receptors; opponent-process cells


the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment.


the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events.

Bottom-Up Processing

analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.

Top-Down Processing

information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations.


the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them.

Absolute Threshold

the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time.


below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.


the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response.

Difference Threshold

the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference (or jnd).

Weber's Law

the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount).

Sensory Adaptation

diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.


the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.


the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth.


the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude.


the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information.


the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.


retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.


retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.

Optic Nerve

the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain.

Blind Spot

the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a "blind" spot because no receptor cells are located there.


the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster.

Feature Detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of a stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement.

Parallel Processing

the processing of many aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision. Contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving.

Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory

the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors—one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue—which, when stimulated in combination, can produce the perception of any color.

Opponent-Process Theory

the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green.

Before reading this question, you probably didn't notice the sensation of your shoes touching your feet. Yet it's likely you notice them now. Why?

Before this question brought the touch of your shoes into your conscious awareness, you were experiencing sensory adaptation. The shoes provide constant stimulation, which triggers fewer and fewer neurons to fire, until the sensation recedes into the background, unnoticed. Sensory adaptation allows us to focus on changing stimuli, which are typically most important for survival. Without this adaptive reaction, we would be bombarded with incoming information and would have difficulty functioning.

What mental processes allow you to perceive a lemon as yellow?

The lemon itself has no color; your brain constructs this perception of color in two stages. First, the lemon reflects light energy into your eyes, where it is transformed into neural messages. Three sets of cones, each sensitive to a different light frequency (red, blue, and green) process color. In this case, the light energy stimulates both red-sensitive and greensensitive cones. In the second stage, a network of opponent-process cells sensitive to paired opposites of color (red/green, black/white, and yellow/blue) evaluates the incoming neural messages as they pass through your optic nerve to the thalamus and visual cortex. When the yellow-sensitive opponent-process cells are stimulated, you identify the lemon as yellow.

The amplitude of a sound wave determines our perception of


The frequency of sound waves determines their pitch. The _______ the waves are, the lower their frequency is and the _______ their pitch.

longer; lower

The snail-shaped tube in the inner ear, where sound waves are converted into neural activity, is called the


The vestibular sense monitors the body's position and movement. Vestibular sense receptors are located in the

inner ear

Of all the skin senses, only _______ has its own identifiable receptor cells.


The gate-control theory of pain proposes that

small spinal cord nerve fibers conduct most pain signals.

A food's smell or aroma can greatly enhance its taste. This is an example of

sensory interaction


the sense or act of hearing.


the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second).


a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency.

Middle Ear

the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window.


[KOHK-lee-uh] a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses.

Inner Ear

the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.

Vestibular Sense

the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance.


[kin-ehs-THEE-sehs] the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts.

Gate-Control Theory

the theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain.

Sensory Interaction

the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste.

Why do you feel a little dizzy immediately after a roller coaster ride?

The same sensory features that allow you to perceive the world accurately can also, on occasion, generate false perceptions. Your vestibular sense regulates balance and body positioning through kinesthetic receptors triggered by fluid in your inner ear. Wobbly legs and a spinning world are signs that these receptors are still responding to the ride's turbulence. As your vestibular sense adjusts to solid ground, your balance will be restored.

Why might it be helpful for people with chronic pain to meditate or exercise?

Because we feel pain in our brain, we may diminish the experience of pain by changing the messages sent to the brain. Gate-control theory proposes that our pain sensory receptors send signals to the spinal cord, which relays messages to the brain. Small fibers in the spinal cord open the gate to pain; large fibers close the gate, blocking those signals. Meditation triggers large-fiber activity by shifting our attention elsewhere (toward breathing or a repeated word); exercise triggers that activity by generating competing stimulation and endorphin release.

In listening to a concert, you follow the lead singer and perceive the other musicians as accompaniment; this illustrates the organizing principle of


Our tendencies to fill in the gaps and to perceive a pattern as continuous are two different examples of the organizing principle called


Visual cliff experiments on depth perception suggest that

crawling infants perceive depth.

Depth perception underlies our ability to

judge distances.

Examples of monocular cues, which are available to either eye alone, include interposition and

linear perspective.

Perceiving tomatoes as consistently red, despite shifting illumination, is an example of

perceptual constancy.

After surgery to restore vision, patients who had been blind from birth had difficulty

recognizing objects by sight.

Experiments in which volunteers wear glasses that displace or invert their visual fields show that, after a period of disorientation, people learn to function quite well. This ability is called

perceptual adaptation.

Our perceptual set influences what we perceive. This mental predisposition reflects our

experiences, assumptions, and expectations.


an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes.


the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground).


the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups.

Depth Perception

the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance.

Visual Cliff

a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals.

Binocular Cues

depth cues, such as retinal disparity, that depend on the use of two eyes.

Retinal Disparity

a binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the retinas in the two eyes, the brain computes distance—the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object.

Monocular Cues

depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone.

Perceptual Constancy

perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent shapes, size, lightness, and color) even as illumination and retinal images change.

Color Constancy

perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.

Perceptual Adaptation

in vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field.

Perceptual Set

a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another.

Extrasensory Perception (ESP)

the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input, includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.


the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis.

Why do you perceive a lemon as the same shade of yellow whether you view it in sunlight or in dim lighting?

The sunlit lemon reflects more light than the dimly-lit lemon. Nevertheless, thanks to color constancy, you experience both lemons as yellow because you integrate sensations of light reflecting off all other objects surrounding the lemon into your perception of its color.

Learning is defined as "a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to


Two forms of associative learning are classical conditioning, in which the organism associates ________, and operant conditioning, in which the organism associates ________________.

two stimuli; a response and a consequence.

In Pavlov's experiments, dogs learned to salivate in response to a tone. The tone is therefore a(an)

conditioned stimulus.

Dogs can learn to respond (by salivating, for example) to one kind of stimulus (a circle, for example) and not to another (a square). This process is an example of


Early behaviorists believed that for conditioning to occur, the unconditioned stimulus (US) must immediately follow the neutral stimulus (NS). demonstrated this was not always so.

Garcia and Koelling's taste-aversion studies.

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