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7th edition


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

Flashbulb memory

a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event


the processing of information into the memory system eg by extracting meaning


the retention of encoded information over time


the process of getting information out of memory storage

Sensory information

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

Short-term memory

activated memory that holds a few items briefly before the information is stored or forgotten; Working memory is a similar concept

Long-term memory

the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system

Automatic processing

unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings

Effortful processing

encoding that requires attention and conscious effort


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

Spacing effect

the 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


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


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


organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically

Iconic memory

a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second

Echoic memory

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

Long-term potentiation

an increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory


loss of memory

Implicit memory

retention independent of conscious recollection; also called procedural memory

Explicit memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare"; also called declarative memory


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


A measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test.


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


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


the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory

Deja vu

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

Mood-congruent memory

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

Proactive interference

the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information

Retroactive interference

the 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. (Also called source misattribution.) Source amnesia, along with the misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories.

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