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

flashbulb memory

clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event


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


retention of encoded information over time


process of getting information out of memory storage

sensory memory

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

short-term memory

activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing

long-term memory

relatively permanant and limitedless storehouse of the memory system

working memory

newer understanding of short-term memory that involves conscious, active processing of incomine auditory and visual-spatial information

automatic processing

unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequence

effortful processing

encoding that requires attention conscious effort


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

spacing effect

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

visual encoding

encoding of picture images

acoustic encoding

encoding of sound, especially the sound of words

semantic encoding

encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words


mental pictures; powerful aid to effortful processing


memory aids; like vivid imagery


organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically

iconic memory

momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli

echoic memory

momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; sounds can be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds

long-term potentiation (LTP)

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


loss of memory

implicit memory

retention independent of conscious recollection

explicit memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare"


neural center that is located in limbic system and helps process explicit memories for storage


measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier


measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned


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


activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory

deja vu

that eerie sense that "I've experienced this before"

mood-congruent memory

tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one's current good or bad mood

proactive interference

disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information

retroactive interference

disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information


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 we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined

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