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An initial record or representation of some prior event or experiences


Processing information into the memory system


Retaining information over time


Recovering information from memory storage

sensory memory

This first memory stage holds sensory information. It has a relatively large capacity, but duration is only a few seconds

short-term memory

This second memory stage temporarily stores sensory information and decides whether to send it on to long-term. Its capacity is limited to five to nine items, and its duration is about 30 seconds


The act of grouping seperate pieces of informatino into a significant unit (or chunk)

maintenance rehearsal

Repeating information to maintain it in short-term memory

long-term memory

This third memory stage stores information for long periods. Its capacity is limitless; its duration is relativly permanent

explicit/declarative memory

The subsystem within long-term memory that consciously stores facts, information, and personal life experiences

implicit/nondeclarative memory

The subsystem within long-term memory that consists of unconscious procdural skills, simple classically conditioned responses and priming

elaborative rehearsal

The process of linking new information to previously stored material, the immediate goal is to understand not memorize

retrieval cue

A clue or prompt that helps stimulate recall and retrieval of a stored piece of information from long-term memory

encoding specificity principle

Retrieval of information is improved when the conditions of recovery are similar to the conditions that existed when the information was encoded

long-term potentiation

Long-lasting increase in neural excitability believed to be a biological mechanism for learning and memory

Alsheimer's disease

Progressive mental deterioration characterized by severe memory loss

misinformation effect

Distortion of a memory by misleading post- event information

information-processing model

the barrage of information that we encounter every

traditional three-stage memory model

the model that has three different storage boxes or memory stages that hold and process information (sensory, short, and long term memory)

working memory

another name for short-term memory

retrograde amnesia

Is a temporary memory loss, old memories are lost and new memories are ok

anterograde amnesia

Is most often permanent memory loss, but patients have implicit/nondeclarative tasks. old memerioes are ok, and can't form new memories

retroactive interference

Occurs when new information (such as one's new phone number) interferes with the old information (such as one's former number)

proactive interference

Occurs when old information interferes with new information (calling a new partner by an old partner's name)

tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

The feeling that at any second, a word or event you are trying to remember and perhaps can almost remember will pop out from the "- - - -."

serial position effect

When one remebers a list of words to learn and recalls the words at the beginning (primary) and the end of the list (recency)

source amnesia

Forgetting the true source of a memory

sleeper effect

When you dismiss unreliable information for reliable information, then forget that reliable information and then you go back to the unreliable information and is no longer discounted

distributed practice

Spacing learning periods, with rest periods between sessions

massed practice

When you cramm for a test, time spent learning is massed into long, unbroken intervals


The supposed unconscious coping mechanism by which we prevent anxiety-provoking thoughts form reaching consciousness

mnemonic devices

A trick to help give your memory a boost, and encoding the items in a special way
Ex: acronyms

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