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Ch 7: Memory


A visual image that persists after a stimulus is removed.


A significant memory loss that is too extensive to be due to normal forgetting. See also Anterograde amnesia, Retrograde amnesia.

Anterograde amnesia

Loss of memories for events that occur after a head injury.


Focusing awareness on a narrowed range of stimuli or events.


A group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit.


The tendency to remember similar or related items in groups.


The mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge.

Conceptual hierarchy

A multilevel classification system based on common properties among items.

Connectionist models

See parallel distributed processing (PDP) models.


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

Decay theory

The idea that forgetting occurs because memory traces fade with time.

Declarative memory system

Memory for factual information.

Dual-coding theory

Paivio's theory that memory is enhanced by forming semantic and visual codes, since either can lead to recall.


Linking a stimulus to other information at the time of encoding.

Electrical stimulation of the brain (ESB)

Sending a weak electric current into a brain structure to stimulate (activate) it.


Forming a memory code.

Encoding specificity principle

The idea that the value of a retrieval cue depends on how well it corresponds to the memory code.

Episodic memory system

Chronological, or temporally dated, recollections of personal experiences.

Explicit memory

Intentional recollection of previous experiences.

Flashbulb memories

Unusually vivid and detailed recollections of momentous events.

Forgetting curve

A graph showing retention and forgetting over time.


The part of the brain that includes the cerebellum and two structures found in the lower part of the brainstem: the medulla and the pons.

Hindsight bias

The tendency to mold one's interpretation of the past to fit how events actually turned out.

Implicit memory

Type of memory apparent when retention is exhibited on a task that does not require intentional remembering.

Interference theory

The idea that people forget information because of competition from other material.


Careful, systematic observation of one's own conscious experience.

Keyword method

A mnemonic technique in which one associates a concrete word with an abstract word and generates an image to represent the concrete word.

Levels-of-processing theory

The theory holding that deeper levels of mental processing result in longer-lasting memory codes.

Link method

Forming a mental image of items to be remembered in a way that links them together.

Long-term memory (LTM)

An unlimited capacity store that can hold information over lengthy periods of time.

Long-term potentiation (LTP)

A long-lasting increase in neural excitability in synapses along a specific neural pathway.

Method of loci

A mnemonic device that involves taking an imaginary walk along a familiar path where images of items to be remembered are associated with certain locations.

Mnemonic devices

Strategies for enhancing memory.

Motivated forgetting

Purposeful suppression of memories.

Nondeclarative memory system

Memory for actions, skills, and operations.


Continued rehearsal of material after one first appears to have mastered it.

Parallel distributed processing (PDP) models

Models of memory that assume cognitive processes depend on patterns of activation in highly interconnected computational networks that resemble neural networks. Also called connectionist models.

Parallel processing

Simultaneously extracting different kinds of information from the same input.

Proactive interference

A memory problem that occurs when previously learned information interferes with the retention of new information.

Procedural memory system

The repository of memories for actions, skills, and operations.

Prospective memory

The ability to remember to perform actions in the future.

Reality monitoring

The process of deciding whether memories are based on external sources (our perceptions of actual events) or internal sources (our thoughts and imaginations).


A memory test that requires subjects to reproduce information on their own without any cues.


A memory test that requires subjects to select previously learned information from an array of options.


A memory test that requires a subject to memorize information a second time to determine how much time or effort is saved by having learned it before.


Keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious.


The proportion of material retained (remembered).


Recovering information from memory stores.

Retroactive interference

A memory problem that occurs when new information impairs the retention of previously learned information.

Retrograde amnesia

Loss of memories for events that occurred prior to a head injury.

Retrospective memory

The ability to remember events from the past or previously learned information.


An organized cluster of knowledge about a particular object or sequence of events.


A type of schema that organizes what people know about common activities.

Self-referent encoding

Deciding how or whether information is personally relevant.

Semantic memory system

General knowledge that is not tied to the time when the information was learned.

Semantic network

Concepts joined together by links that show how the concepts are related.

Sensory memory

The preservation of information in its original sensory form for a brief time, usually only a fraction of a second.

Serial-position effect

In memory tests, the fact that subjects show better recall for items at the beginning and end of a list than for items in the middle.

Short-term memory (STM)

A limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information for about 20 to 30 seconds.

Source monitoring

The process of making attributions about the origins of memories.

Source-monitoring error

An error that occurs when a memory derived from one source is misattributed to another source.


Maintaining encoded information in memory over time.

Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

A temporary inability to remember something accompanied by a feeling that it's just out of reach.

Transfer-appropriate processing

The situation that occurs when the initial processing of information is similar to the type of processing required by the subsequent measures of attention.

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