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mental processes that enable you to retain and retrieve information over time


process of transforming information into a form that can be remembered


process of retaining information in memory to be used later


process of recovering information (that has been encoded and stored) for conscious use; information is remembered the same way it was encoded

stage model of memory

model of memory with three stages: sensory, short-term, and long-term memory; ex: environmental stimuli triggers sensory memory to pay attention which triggers the STM to start encoding and transferring the information LTM for retrieval at a later date

sensory memory

stage of memory that registers information from the enviornment and holds it for a very brief period of time (~1/2 sec. snapshots); allows us to perceive the world as continuous rather than seperate/disconnected images and sounds

short-term memory

active/working stage of memory in which information is encoded and stored; duration: ~20 sec. capacity: ~7

long-term memory

stage of memory where stored information can be recalled when needed; duration: anything over ~20 sec., capacity: unlimited

George Sperling

demonstrated the duration of sensory memory (~1/2 sec.), which is just long enough for us to pay attention to specific elements that are significant to us at that moment

visual sensory memory

also called iconic memory because it's the brief memory of an image or icon (visual snapshot that lasts ~1/2 sec.); these sensory impressions slightly overlap so that we see continuous motions

auditory sensory memory

also called echoic memory because it's a brief memory of sound, like an echo (auditory snapshots lasts up to 4 sec.) which explains why we can hear a question after it was asked even if you weren't paying attention

maintenance rehearsal

mental or verbal repetition of information in order to remember it beyond the ~20 sec. of short-term memory


grouping of related items together into a single unit for easier remembering; ex: DVDFBIUSA

working memory

the active, conscious manipulation/encoding of temporarily stored information; necessary for reasoning, problem solving, learning, etc.

Alan Baddeley

developed a model of working memory; three main components: the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, and the central executive

phonological loop

a component of working memory that is specialized for verbal material such as a list of numbers or words

visuospatial sketchpad

a component of working memory that is specialized for spatial or visual material such as the layout of a room or city

central executive

a component of working memory that controls attention, integrates information, and manages the activities of the phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad

elaborative rehearsal

rehearsal that involves focusing on the meaning of information to help encode and transfer it to LTM

factors that enhance encoding

rehearsal, applying information to yourself (self-reference effect), and use of visual imagery, mnemonics, distribution of practice (study in two short sessions rather than one long session)

types of information in LTM

procedural memory, episodic memory, and semantic memory

procedural memory

category of LTM that includes memories of different skills, operations, or actions; ex: buttoning your shirt, tying your shoes, driving

episodic memory

category of LTM that includes memories of events/experiences in your life (or events that you witnessed); ex: what you did on your 21st birthday, your graduation, taking your driving test, etc.

semantic memory

category of LTM that includes memories of general knowledge, concepts, facts, and names; ex: who brings you gifts if you've been good at Christmas? (isn't something you do or something you have experienced or witnessed)

subdivisions of LTM

explicit memory and implicit memory

explicit memory

information or knowledge (episodic or semantic) that can be consciously recalled and explained; memory with awareness (also called declarative); ex: your wedding (episodic) or who teaches your Gen. Psych. class at FV (semantic)

implicit memory

information or knowledge (procedural) that cannot be consciously recalled but is easy to imply or demonstrate; memory without awareness (also called non-declarative); ex: being able to type without looking at the keyboard but not being able to recall the letters on the bottom row of your keyboard


organizing information into related groups during recall from LTM

semantic network model

model that describes units of information in LTM as being organized in a complex network of associations (not individual neurons)

retrieval cues

any trigger (a clue, prompt, hint, smell, song, etc..) that helps you recall information in LTM

retrieval cue failure

inability to recall information in LTM because of inadequate or missing retrieval cues

tip-of-the-tongue experience

a memory phenomenon that involves the sensation of knowing that specific information is stored in LTM but being temporarily unable to retrieve it

free recall

a measurement of memory that involves producing information using no retrieval cues; ex: essay questions on a test

cued recall

a measurement of memory that involves remembering information in response to a retrieval cue; ex: matching or fill-in-the-blank questions on a test


a measurement of memory that involves identifying correct information out of several possible choices; ex: multiple choice questions on a test

serial position effect

tendency to remember information at the beginning and end of a list better than items in the middle

primacy effect

tendency to recall the first items in a list

recency effect

tendency to recall the final items in a list

serial recall

when you need to remember a list of items in a perticular order; ex: phone numbers

encoding specificity principle

when the conditions for retrieval are the same or similar to the conditions of encoding, recall is easier; if you re-create the (encoding)situation, it's easier to retrieve the information stored in LTM; ex: role playing an event

context effect

tendency to recover information more easily when the retrieval occurs in the same setting; ex: walking through the house to remember where you put your keys

mood congruence

a given mood tends to evoke memories that are consistent with that mood; ex: if you're sad, you're more likely to remember your dog's death

flashbulb memory

a vivid, emotionally chared memory with very specific details (may be inaccurate); ex: where you were during 9-11 or your wedding day

brain structures involved in memory

prefrontal cortex - sequence of events, amygdala - memories with an emotional charge, hippocampus and medial temporal lobe - new explicit memories for LTM storage, and cerebellum - encodes memories with movements (procedural)


any learning strategy that helps memory

method of loci

mnemonic trick of associating information with a place; ex: using the cognitive map of your house to learn a timeline

mnemonic mediation

linking something you already know with new information; ex: all cows eat grass = the musical notes in spaces of the left cleft

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