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ability to retain information over time through three process: encoding, storing, and retrieving.


refers to making mental representations of information so that it can be placed into memory.


Process of placing encoded information into relatively permanent mental storage for later recall


Process of getting or recalling information that has been placed into short- or long-term storage.

Sensory memory

Initial Process that receives and holds environmental information in its raw form for a brief period of time, from an instant to several seconds.

Short-term memory

Also called working memory; refers to another process that can hold only a limited amount of information an average of seven items, from 2 to 30 seconds.

Long term memory

Process of storing almost unlimited amounts of information over long periods of time.

Iconic memory

Form of sensory memory that automatically holds visual information for about a quarter of a second or more

Echoic memory

Form of sensory memory that holds auditory information for 1 to 2 seconds


Results when new information enters short-term memory and overwrites or pushes out information that's already there.


Combining separate items of information into a larger unit, or chuck, and then remembering these chunks rather than individual items.


Selectively attend to relevant information and disregard everything else.


allows you to hold information for a short period of time until you decide what to do with it.

Primacy effect

better recall or retention of information presented at the beginning of a task.

Recency effect

better recall or retention of information presented at the end of a task.

Primary-recency effect

better recall of information presented at the beginning and end of a task.

Declarative memory

involves memories for facts or events, such as scenes, stories, words, conversations, faces, or daily events.

Semantic memory

type of declarative memory that involves knowledge of facts, concepts, words, definitions, and language rules.

Episodic memory

type of declarative memory that involves knowledge of specific events, personal experiences (episodes), or activities, such as naming or describing favorite restaurants, movies, songs, habits, or hobbies.

Non-declarative(Procedural) Memory

involves memories for motor skills (playing tennis), some cognitive skills (learning to read), and emotional behaviors learned through classical conditioning.

Automatic encoding

transfer of information from short- to long-term memory without effort or awareness (personal events, interesting facts, skills/habits)

Effortful encoding

transfer of information from short- to long-term memory by working hard to rehearse the information or by making associations.

Maintenance rehearsal (cramming)

simply repeating or rehearsing information rather than forming any new associations.

Elaborative rehearsal (studying)

Using effort to actively make meaningful associations between new information that you wish to remember and old or familiar information already stored in long-term memory.

Implanting false memories

studies show that a false suggestion can grow into a vivid, detailed, and believable personal memory.

Photographic memory

occurs in adults; ability to form sharp, detailed visual images after examining a picture or page for a short period of time and to recall the entire image at a later date.

Eidetic imagery

Form of photographic memory that occurs in children; the ability to examine a picture or page for 10 to 30 seconds and then for several minutes hold in one's mind a detailed visual image of the material.

Flashbulb memories

vivid recollections, usually in great detail, of dramatic or emotionally charged incidents that are of interest to the person.


retrieving previously learned information without the aid of, or with very few, external cues.


Identifying previously learned information with the help of more external cues.

Network theory of memory organization

We store related ideas in separate categories, or files, called nodes and create links among them.


Linking of nodes or categories together by making associations between new and old, previously stored information.


Thousands of interconnected nodes form a huge cognitive network for arranging and storing files.


memory files that contain related information organized around a specific topic or category.

Early memories

Earliest that people in different cultures can recall personal memories averages 3.5 years old.

Unfamiliar and uninteresting

forgetting curve measures the amount of previously learned information that subjects can recall or recognize.


inability to retrieve, recall, or recognize information that was stored or is still stored in long-term memory.


a mental process that automatically hides emotionally threatening or anxiety-producing information in the unconscious (from which repressed memories can't be recalled voluntarily, but something may cause them to enter consciousness at a later time).

Retrieval cues

mental reminders that we create by forming vivid mental or associations between new information and information we already know.

Proactive interference

occurs when old information (learned earlier) blocks or disrupts the remembering of related new information (learned later)

Retroactive interference

occurs when new information (learned later) blocks or disrupts the retrieval of related old information (learned earlier).


may be temporary or permanent loss of memory that may occur after a blow or damage to the brain or after disease, general anesthesia, certain drugs, or severe psychological trauma.


misremembering something due to memory distortions caused by bias or suggestibility.

Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

having a strong feeling that a particular word can be recalled, but despite making a great effort, being temporily unable to recall it.

State-dependent learning

Finding it easier to recall information when in the same emotional state as when originally encoding it(environment).


location of memories in the brain


(emotional memories) the amygdala, located in the tip of the temporal lobe, receives input from all the senses and is associated with emotional memory


(transferring memories) transfers words, facts, and personal events from short-term memory into permanent long-term memory.

Neural assemblies

groups of interconnected neurons whose activation allows information or stimuli to be recognized and held briefly and temporarily in short-term memory.

Long-term potentiation (LTP)

refers to change in the structure and function of neurons after they've been repeatedly stimulated.

Mnemonic methods

improve encoding and create better retrieval cues by forming vivid assocations/images to improve recall.

Method of loci

create visual assocations between already memorized places and new items to be memorized.

Peg method

create associations between number-word rhymes and items to be memorized

Eyewitness testimony

refers to recalling or recognizing a suspect observed during a potentially very disruptive and distracting emotional situation that may have interfered with accurate remembering.

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