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spacing effect

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

absent mindedness

inattention of details produces encoding failure (mind is elsewhere)


storage decay overtime


inaccessibility of stored info


confusing source of info


imagering effects of misinformation


belief-colored recollections


unwanted memories (haunted images of sexual assault)

improving memory

-study repeatedly to boost long-term recall
-more time rehearsing
-material personality meaningful
-mnemonic devices
-refresh by retrieval cues
-recall events
-minimize interference

Sigmund Froid

found subconscious, believed all people are sexual animals


process of getting info out of memory storage


retention of encoded info over time

short-term memory

activated memory holds a few items briefly

long term memory

relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of memory system

automatic processing

unconscious encoding of incidental info, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned info (word meaning)

sensory memory

immediate initial recording of sensory info in memory system


processing of info into memory system (extracting meaning)

flashbulb memory

clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event


persistence of learning overtime through the storage and retrieval information

misinformation effect

incorporating misleading info into one's memory of an event

source amnesia

attributing to the wrong source of an event that they have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined

implicit memory

retention independent of conscious recollection. also called procedural memory

mood-congruent memory

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

retroactive interference

disruptive effect of new learning on recall of old info


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

proactive interference

disruptive effect of prior learning on recall of new information

example of memory construction

when people who saw film of a car accident and were asked a leading question they recalled a more accident than they had witnessed

serial position effect

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 pics; a powerful aid to effortful processing, especially when combined with semantic encoding


memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices

explicit memory

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

iconic memory

a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli, a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few 10ths of a second

echoic memory

a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere sounds and words can still be recalled with in 3 or 4 seconds


organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically


loss of memory

long-term potentiation (LTP)

increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation, believed to be a neutral basis for learning and memory

deja vu

eerie sense that "I've experienced this before." cues from current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience


activation, often unconsciously of particular associations in memory


memory measure assesses amount of time saved when learning material again


measure of memory in which person need only identify items previously learned (multiple choice tests)


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


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


a measure of memory when person must retrieve information learned earlier (fill in the blank)

effortful processing

encoding that requires attention and conscious effort (doing this)

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