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any indication that learning has persisted over time through our ability to store and retrieve info


getting info into memory; the transference of memory into permanent storage, always in STM


retaining encoded info over time


getting info out of memory storage


modern info-processing model of memory; views memories as emerging from interconnected neural networks; certain memories arise from certain activation patterns within these networks

Sensory memory

1st stage of forming memories; the immediate, initial recording of sensory info in memory system; it's stored for an instant, and most gets unprocessed; briefly preserves info gathered by senses, and allows senses to linger briefly

Short-Term Memory

2nd stage; activated memory that holds a few items briefly before the info is stored or forgotten; holds plus or minus 7 items; rehearsal stores memories from STM to LTM

Working Memory

a newer understanding of STM that focuses on conscious, active-processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial info, and of info retrieved from LTM; visual, audio, integration; the conscious activated memory that you are aware of at any given time

Long-Term Memory

3rd stage; relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system

Information-Processing Model

(Atkinson & Shiffrin); includes 3 stages; sensory memory registers the image, STM focuses on 1 thing that sticks out in the image, LTM determines whether its important or not; some info skips 1st and 2nd stage


alert focusing on material, is the crucial factor in determining amount and kind of info retained; likened to a filter in an info-processing model of memory; occurs early and later in info-processing sequence


organized clusters of knowledge about particular subjects/events from previous experiences

Implicit/ Nondeclarative LTM

actions, skills, operations, and conditioned responses; involves learning an action while the individual doesn't know or declare what she knows; processed in party by cerebellum; skills and classical/operant conditioning

Procedural LTM

our knowledge about how to do things/ how to perform physical tasks

Explicit/ Declarative LTM

factual info, facts, and experiences that one can consciously know and declare; processed in hippocampus; semantic and episodic memory

Episodic/ Autobiographical LTM

memories composed of particular events that happen to someone personally

Semantic LTM

general knowledge of the world
Ex: Columbus discovered American in 1492

Retrospective Memories

focuses on recollection from the past

Prospective Memories

remembering stuff for the future

Rosy Retrospection

recalling the high points while forgetting the low points

Automatic Processing

unconscious encoding of incidental info; space, time, frequency, well-learned info (word meanings); things can be automatic with practice
Ex: route to school

Effortful Processing

encoding that requires attention and conscious effort; commiting novel info to memory; produces durable and accessible memories


Ebbinghaus; the conscious repitition of info to maintain it in consciousness or encode it for storage; what was effortful becomes automatic

Spacing Effect (Distributed)

distributed study yields better long-term retention than massed study would do

Testing Effect

(Roediger and Karpicke); repeated quizzing of previously studied material

Serial Position Effect

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

Primacy Effect

ability to remember first items after shifting our attention from the last items

Recency Effect

ability to remember last items because they're stilll in working memory

Von Restorff Effect

middle spike; a unique item embedded in an otherwise homogeneous list is recalled better than the normal homogeneous items; items around distinctive one are remembered better

Visual Encoding

the encoding of picture images

Acoustic Encoding

the encoding of sound, especially sounds of words

Semantic Encoding

the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words; yields better memory

Deep and Shallow Processing

(Craik and Lockhart); incoming info is processed at different levels; memory depends on how deeply processed; the deeper equals the longer lasting memory codes;
visual= shallow, acoustic= intermediate, semantic= deep


mental pictures; powerful aid to effortful processing, esp. when combined with semantic encoding


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

Method of Loci

Simonides; use our imagination to place items you want to remember in locations we're familiar with

Peg-Word System

type of mnemonic requiring memorization of a jingle


organizing items into familiar, meaningful, manageable units, such as words, sentences, or groups of numbers; occurs automatically; acronyms


organizing info into major concepts, minor related ideas, and the relationships among all these items

Iconic Memory

a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli/ photographic memory lasting less than a few 10ths of a second

Echoic Memory

a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli lasting 3-4 systems

Hepatic Memory

memory of touch, lasts 1 second

Self-Reference Effect

we can recall info better if we can meaningfully relate it to ourselves


tendency to remember similar or related items in groups

Conceptual Hierarchies

mutlilevel classification system based on common properties among items


type of schema, organizing what a person knows about common activities

Sematnic Networks

consists of nodes representing concepts, joined together by pathways tha tlink related concepts
Ex: bread and butter

Connectionist networks and PDP models

uses inspiration the way neurons appear to handle info through connections; specific memories= specific network patterns

Capacity of LTM

is no limit; billions bits of info, with capacity for 1000 to million times that amount

Duration of LTM

permanence of storage


more is released when learning occurs at some synapses, which then become more efficient at transmittin signals

Stress and Memory

stress hormones make more glucose, which fuels brain activity; heightened emotions= stronger memories; stress can lead to release of hormones that were shown toa ssist in LTM; explains flashbulb memory; prolonged stress erodes memories

Flashbulb Memory

special kind of long-term, clear memory where we form vivid detailed memories of emotionally significant moments of events; don't last longer than any other memories

Long-term Potential

an increase in a synapse's firing potential after a short, rapid stimulation; believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory; the mor eyou think about a memory the stronger the neural pathway becomes; it's rehearsal fo your neurons


switches genes on and off; used by boosting it's production to retrieve lost memory; it would lead to increased production of proteins that help reshape synapses and consolidate STM to LTM


neuro-t that enhances synaptic communication (LTP)


a neural center that is located in limbic system; processes LTM declarative memories; STM are encoded into LTM here; responsible for making new memories; prolonged stress shrinks it
left side= verbal info, right side= visual designs and location


brain region extending out from rear of brainstem; neural center in hindbrain; processes LTM implicit memories; formation and retention of simple classicaly conditioned responses (implicit)


processes emotion and boosts activity in brain's memory areas; hippocampus's neural neighbor; strengthens memories that have strong emotion ties

Cerebral Cortex

storage of LTM, possibly in areas involved in the originial perception of the info


the loss of memory; can learn despite not being able to remember; episodic memories

Retrograde Amnesia

loss of memory from past memories that were already stored; period may be brief; only erases certain portions of life

Anterograde Amnesia

can't form new memories, but can remember past memories


the ability to retrieve info not in conscious awareness from previously being learned
Ex: fill in the blank


a measure of memory where the person need only identiy items previously learned
Ex: mutliple choice test


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

Retrieval Cues

anchor points used to access the target info when you want to later retrieve it; the more the better; the best come from associations formed when encoded


the unconscious activation of particular associations in memory
Ex: rabbit primes association with hare

Repitition Priming

it's easier to recognize face/word if you have recenlty seen that same face/word

Semantic Priming

it's easier to recognize someone/word if you have seen another person or word closely associated (connected by general meaning)

Context Effects

it helps to put yourself back in the same context you encoded info because you retrieve memories more easily in the environement in which you formed them

Deja Vu

the eerie sense that "I've done this/been here before."; cues from urrent situations may subconsciously trigger retrieval from previous experience

State-Dependent Memory

what we learn in 1 state/mood may be more easily recalled when we are in that same state again

Mood_Congruent Memory

tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one's current mood
Ex: remembering other sad memories when depressed

3 Sins of Forgetting

1. Absentmindedness- inattention to details lead to encoding failure
2. Transcience- storage decay over time
3. Blocking- inaccessibility of stored info( tip of tongue)

3 Sins of Distortion

1. Misattribution- confusing the source of info
2. Suggestibility- the lingering effects of misinfo
3. Bias- belief-colored recollections

1 Sin of Intrusion

1. Persistence- unwanted memories

Proactive Interference

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

Retroactive Interference

disruptive effect of new learning on recall of old info; info from hour before sleep is protected from this b/c opporunitity for interfering events is limited

Positive Transfer

when previous learning helps new learning


Freud, psychoanalytical theory; the basic defense mechancism that banishes from consciousness anxiety, arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories to protect our self-concept and decrease anxiety; mems aren't repressed b/c the to-be-forgotten info is emotional

Misinformation Effect

(Loftus); incorporating misleading info into one's memory of an event

Imaginiation Effect

when on imagines doing something they are more likely to think they actually done it; visualizing and perceiving activate similar brain areas

Source Amnesia/ Misattribution

attributing an event to the wrong source that we heard about, read, or imagined; explains false memories


associated meanings and feelings
Ex: remembering candy, sugar, honey, and taste by the gist sweet

Phonological Rehearsal Loop

Baddeley; represented all of STM, active when no one uses recitation to temporarily hold on to info; verbal labels

Visuospatial Sketchpad

allows temporarily holding and manipulation of visual images

Executive Control System

handles limited amount of info juggled at 1 type as people engage in decision making

Episodic Buffer

temporary, limited capacity store that allows various components of working memory to integrate info, interface between WM and LTM


an inability to retrieve info due to poor encoding, storage, or retrieval


the proportion of material remembered or retained

Failure to Encode

don't pay attention to information we don't consider important; with age the parts of the brain that are active during encoding respond more slowly; can'tt remember what we do not encode because it never has a chance to enter our LTM.

Next-in-Line Effect

Our tendency to forget (through failure to encode) what the person ahead of us in line has just said because we are focusing on what we will say in our upcoming turn.

Change Blindness


Storage Decay

Ebbinghaus studied forgetting using retention; retention and forgetting occur over time; storage failure occurs in a predictable pattern: We lose most of the info. we are going to lose shortly after we learn it. After this initial period the loss tends to level off. Some memories lodge in permastore memory, where they remain for decades

Retrieval Failure

Most instances of forgetting result from this; The memory was encoded and stored, but sometimes you just cannot access the memory.

Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon

The sensation that we are certain we know the word for which we are searching, yet we cannot recall it; shows that recall is often guided by partial information about a word...retrieval cues.


The negative impact of competing information on retention; people forget information because of competition from other material;

Proactive Interference

old memories of information interfere with something you learned recently

Retroactive Interference

a new memory blocks your ability to retrieve an older memory


Freud; A defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness.

Expectancy Bias

an unconscious tendency to remember events as being congruent with our expectations.

Self-Consistency Bias

The commonly held idea that we are more consistent in our attitudes, opinions, and beliefs than we actually are.

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