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Process of coding information so that it can b e placed in sensory, short-term, or long-term memory. Three types are acoustic, visual, and semantic.

Acoustic Encoding

Represents the sounds we hear in memory

Visual Encoding

Represents the images we see in memory

Semantic Encoding

Represents the general meaning of experiences

Episodic Memory

Any memory of a specific event that happened while you were present

Semantic memory

contains factual knowledge. Its contents are not associated with a specific event. Ex: knowing that a red light means "stop."

Procedural memory

holds "how-to" methods or processes that usually require some motor movement. Ex: knowing a specific dance or how to shoot a basketball or how to tie a tie

Explicit memory

Purposely trying to remember something

Implicit memory

Subconscious recall or influence of past experiences

Information-processing model

Says that memory has three stages: sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory.

Levels-of-Processing model

Says that differences in how well something is remembered reflect the degree or depth to which incoming information is mentally processed.

Maintenance Rehearsal

Repeating information over and over, keeping information in short term memory. Ex: saying a phone number over and over.

Elaborative Rehearsal

Involves thinking about how new material is linked or related in some way to information already stored in long-term memory.

Transfer-Appropriate Processing model

Suggests that memory retrieval will be improved if the encoding method matches the retrieval method.

Parallel distributed processing models

Suggest that the connections between units of knowledge are strengthened with experience. Tapping into any connection provides us with access to all the other connections in the network. What we experience is blended into what we already know

Multiple Memory Systems models

Suggests that the brain contains several memory systems, each of which resides in a different area and each of which serves somewhat different purposes

Short Term Memory

Receives information that was perceived in sensory memory. It's quite fragile and will be lost within seconds if not further processed

working memory

part of the memory system that allows us to mentally manipulate information being held in short term memory

immediate memory span

the largest number of items or chunks of information that you can recall perfectly from short term memory after one presentation of the stimuli

long term memory

stage of memory in which the capacity to store new information is believed to be unlimited

primacy effect

occurs when we remember words at the beginning a list better than words in the middle of the list

recency effect

occurs when we remember words at the end of a list better than others on a list

retroactive interference

occurs when information in memory is displaced by new information

proactive interference

occurs when old information in long-term memory interferes with the remembering of new information

anterograde amnesia

loss of memory for events that occur after a brain injury. Memory for experiences prior to the trauma remains intact

retrograde amnesia

loss of memory of events prior to a brain injury. Memories encoded days or years before the injury or trauma can be lost. usually most memories return


encoding methods that increase the efficiency of your memory

Fixed Interval Schedule

when reinforcement is applied within a set period of time

Classical conditioning

Procedure in which a neutral stimulus is paired with a stimulus that elicits a response until the neutral stimulus alone elicits a similar response

Latent learning

learning that was not demonstrated at the time that the learning occurred.


The period of the learning experience where the probability of learning increases and where it is measurable and observable

Operant conditioning

learning that occurs when an active learner performs certain behaviors and the consequences of the behavior determine the likelihood of its recurrence

Observational learning

Occurs when people learn by watching others responses and takes place even if others' responses are not rewarded.


any even that strengthens the behavior that it follows

Secondary reinforcers

Rewards that have acquired meaning by their association with primary reinforcers

Stimulus generalization

When an organism displays a conditioned response to a stimulus that is similar but not identical to the conditioned stimulus


an aversive consequence that follows a voluntary behavior, thereby decreasing the probability that the behavior will be repeated

Positive reinforcement

Rewards presented after a behavior with the hope of having the behavior repeated


a sudden grasp of new relationships that are necessary to solve a problem and was not learned in the past

learned helplessness

The feeling of futility and passive resignation that results from the inability to avoid repeated aversive events because the organism believes that behavior is NOT related to the consequences

Variable ratio schedule

reinforcement given after a variable number of behaviors are exhibited

Conditioned stimulus

the stimulus that, after repeated pairings with an UCS, causes a CR that is similar to the UCR.

method of loci

The mnemonic that uses visualization of a path in a familiar location as a means to remember information

serial position effect

Describes the fact that we may remember the FIRST or LAST few words in a list.

Encoding specificity model

this theory says that if the way memory is encoded and the way it is retrieved are similar, remembering the information will be easier. AKA the transfer-appropriate model


Mechanism whereby information not used in long term memory gradually fades until lost

Peg word

mnemonic process that uses a memorized scheme to associate with new words in a list. (Ex: one is a bun, two is a shoe, etc.)


Those attributes that center around reasoning skills, knowledge of one's culture, and the ability to arrive at innovative solutions to problems.

Stanford-Binet test

a test for determining a person's intelligence quotient, or I.Q.

Intelligence quotient

an index of intelligence that reflects the degree to which a person's score on an intelligence test deviates from the average score of others in the samge age group.

aptitude test

a test designed to measure a person's capacity to learn certain things or perform certain tasks. tests READINESS to learn certain things. Ex: ACT, SAT

Achievement tests

measure what a person has accomplished or learned in a particular area


a description of the frequency at which particular scores occur, allowing scores to be compared statistically


the degree to which a test can be repeated with the same results


the degree to which test scores are interpreted correctly and used appropriately

General intelligence (g)

Factor that Spearman postulated as accounting for positive correlations between people's scores on all sorts of cognitive ability tests

Special intelligence (s)

A group of special abilities that Spearman saw as ACCOMPANYING g

fluid intelligence

Basic power of reasoning and problem solving

crystallized intelligence

specific knowledge gained as a result of applying fluid intelligence

information processing approach

Approach to the study of intelligence that focuses on mental PROCESSES involved in behavior, not traits--what the psychometric approach uses

triarchic of intelligence

Robert Sternberg's theory that describes intelligence as having ANALYTIC, CREATIVE, and PRACTICAL dimensions

multiple intelligences

Eight semi-independent kinds of intelligence postulate by Howard Gardner

divergent thinking

the ability to think along many alternative paths to generate many different solutions to a problem

convergent thinking

the ability to apply logic and knowledge to narrow down the number of possible solutions to a problem or perform some other complex cognitive task


a systematic procedure that cannot fail to produce a correct solution to a problem, if a solution exists


mental shortcuts or rules of thumb to solve problems

semantics content

rules governing the meaning of words and sentences


smallest units of sound that affect the meaning of a word


the smallest units of language that have meaning. Ex: un- means "not" and -s means a plural tense


rules governing how words are combined to make phrases and sentences

Mental Chronometry

timing of mental events

Evoked Brain Potentials

Small, temporary change in EEG voltage that's evoked by a stimulus


Using PET scans and fMRI, neuroscientists can now image the brain and see what happens during information processing using this.


Category of objects, events, or ideas with common properties, such as the way they look or the subjects they contain.

Formal Concepts

set of characteristics that all members have and no nonmembers have

natural concepts

have at least some of the characteristics that define the concept


Smallest units of knowledge that can stand as separate assertations


process by which we generate arguments, evaluate them, and reach conclusions

Anchoring Heuristic

estimating probability of an event by adjusting and earlier estimate

Representativeness heuristic

deciding whether a certain example belongs in a class

Availability heuristic

judging the likelihood of an event based on how easily the examples come to mind

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