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Loss of memory that occurs as a result of physical or psychological trauma

anterograde amnesia

loss of memory for events immediately following a trauma


(psychology) the configuration of smaller units of information into large coordinated units


A hypothetical process involving the gradual conversion of information into durable memory codes stored in long-term memory

consolidation failure

any disruption in the consolidation process that prevents a long term memory from forming.

decay theory

Theory stating that when we learn something new, a neurochemical memory trace forms, but over time this trace disintegrates; suggests that the passage of time always increases forgetting.

declarative memory

Memory of knowledge that can be called forth consciously as needed,
the cognitive information retrieved from explicit memory; knowledge that can be declared


(psychiatry) a defense mechanism that transfers affect or reaction from the original object to some more acceptable one

eidetic imagery

A form of memory, often called photographic memory, which consists of especially vivid visual recollections of material.

elaborative rehearsal

a memorization method that involves thinking about how new information relates to information already stored in long-term memory


First stage of the memory process; in it information is transformed or coded (a transduction process) into a form that can be processed further and stored

encoding failure

the inability to recall specific information because of insufficient encoding of the information for storage in long-term memory

episodic memory

the collection of past personal experiences that occurred at a particular time and place

flashbulb memory

a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event

hippocampal region

A part of the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus itself and the underlying cortical areas, involved in the formation of semantic memories.

infantile amnesia

the inability to remember events that occurred during one's early years (before age three)

information processing theory

a perspective that compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, including sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output


loss of information from memory because of competition from additional incoming information

long-term memory

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

long-term potentiation

a possible source of the formation of memories; improvement in a neuron's ability to transmit caused by repeated stimulations

maintenance rehearsal

A system for remembering involving repeating information to oneself without attempting to find meaning in it

massed practice

cramming the memorization of information or the learning of skills into one session


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

motivated forgetting

occurs when frightening, traumatic events are forgotten because people want to forget them

nondeclarative memory

less conscious or even unconscious learning; categories include procedural (skills) memory (piano playing), motor memory (riding a bike), and emotional memory (your pounding heart when you hear a rattle snake); acquired through experience and repetition; do not have to think through how to do something you just do it; once learned hard to unlearn

nonsense syllable

A consonant-vowel-consonant combination that does not spell a word and is used in memory research.


A technique used to improve memory where information is learned to the point that it can be repeated without mistake more than one time.

primacy effect

in free recall, the tendency to recall the first items on the list more readily than those in the middle

prospective forgetting

Forgetting to carry out some intended action-IE. Not going to the dentist appointment.


recall knowledge from memory

regency effect

Tendency to recall last things in a list.
- recalled easiest: short term


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


recall that is hypothesized to work by storing abstract features which are then used to construct the memory during recall


conscious repetition of information in order to fix it in memory, such as practicing a list of terms to memorize

relearning method

A method for measuring retention that compares the time required to relearn material with the time used in the initial learning of the material


(psychiatry) the classical defense mechanism that protects you from impulses or ideas that would cause anxiety by preventing them from becoming conscious


the cognitive operation of accessing information in memory

retrieval cue

a clue, prompt, or hint that helps trigger recall of a given piece of information stored in long-term memory

retrieval failure

memories stored in LTM are momentarily inaccessible (tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon).

retrograde amnesia

loss of memory for events that occurred before the onset of amnesia; eg a soldier's forgetting events immediately before a shell burst nearby, injuring him

savings score

Difference between the time or trials originally required to learn material and the time or trials required to relearn the material; also known as relearning score


concepts or mental frameworks that organize and interpret information

semantic memory

The part of declarative memory that stores general information such as names and facts.

sensory memory

the immediate, very brief recording of sensory information in the memory system

serial position effect

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

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

spaced practice

learning in short practice sessions with rest periods in between

state-dependent memory

The theory that information learned in a particular state of mind (e.g., depressed, happy, somber) is more easily recalled when in that same state of mind.


the retention of encoded information over time

working memory

a newer understanding of short-term memory that involves conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information, and of information retrieved from long-term memory

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