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Chapter 6 - Memory of David Myer's Psychology text, 7th edition


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

flashbulb memory

a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event (ex. 9/11)


1st step of information processing/memory storage; how we get information into our brain; input is translated into something meaningful to be remembered; encoded meaning


2nd step of information processing/memory storage; retaining and storing info for long periods of time


3rd step of information processing/memory storage; getting the memory back out; retrieving the memory

three-stage processing

Atkinson and Shiffrin's 3-stage memory model; 1. info is recorded as sensory memory, 2. processed into short-term memory, 3. encoded for long-term memory

sensory memory

the immediate, initial recording of sensory info; includes most immediate thoughts

short-term memory

memory that holds a few items briefly before they are stored or forgotten; includes some important thoughts; can remember up to 7 things (ex. phone numbers)

long-term memory

the permanent and limitless storehouse of memory; includes a few very important, enduring thoughts

working memory

how we rehearse and manipulate info in temporary storage; integrates long and short term memory

automatic processing

unconscious, automatic encoding of space, time, and frequency; (ex. remembering where you ate yesterday)

effortful processing

encoding that requires attention and conscious effort; (ex. studying - what you're doing right now)


the conscious repetition of information; used to encode for storage; as it increases, re-learning time decreases

spacing effect

the tendency for study that is SPACED over longer periods of time to yield better results than studying the night before

serial position effect

tendency to remember the first and last items better than the rest; remember things because of their POSITION

visual encoding

remembering images and visuals

acoustic encoding

remembering sounds, especially word sounds (ex. it's easier to remember rhymes)

semantic encoding

remembering meaning (ex. word meaning)


mental pictures; powerful aid to effortful processing

mnemonic devices

memory aids; includes method of loci, peg-word system, acronyms

method of loci

Greek mnemonic device; scholars would imagine themselves in different LOCations and associated each place with an image of the to-be-remembered topic

peg-word system

associating an idea with a peg word; (ex. one is a bun, two is a shoe, three is a tree...I want to remember to buy carrots at the store, so I image a carrot-flavored bun.)


organizing items into meaningful, familiar categories; occurs automatically; (it's easier to remember 1492 and 1812 instead of 1,4,9,2,1,8,1,2,)


creating words or setences from the first letters of words to be remembered (ex. ROY G. BIV)

iconic memory

a photographIC memory lasting for a few tenths of a second; everyone has it; discovered by Sperling

echoic memory

a momentary audio memory of a sound; sounds, words, and ECHOES can be remembered within 3 to 4 seconds, even if attention is elsewhere

long-term potentiation

LTP; proLONGed strengthening of POTENTIAL neuron firing; by stimulating certain neural connections repeated, they become more efficient at releasing neurotransmitters; neural basis for learning and memory


the loss of memory

implicit memory

learning still occurs, but the person doesn't remember what they have learned; implied memories; also called procedural memory (ex. amnesia patient plays golf a lot and gets good at it, but can't remember ever playing golf)

explicit memory

memory of facts that one can consciously known and declare; also known as declarative memory; one can EXPLICITLY declare that they remember the experience or fact


the neural center in the limbic system that processes explicit memories for storage; (ex. We don't remember our first 3 years because the hippocampus is the last brain structure to develop, yet we still remember how to crawl and eat and breathe)


processing site for implicit memories; memories for skills and conditioned associations are kept here


stores implicit emotional memories; damage to this brain area prevents one from learning to fear

sensory memory

how information enters the memory system; SENSORS identify info as iconic or echoic


ability to retrieve information not in conscious awareness (ex. fill-in-the-blank test)


ability to identify items previously learned (ex. multiple-choice test)


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


identifying the strands that lead to a specific memory held in storage; prime the mind to get the specific details out

deja vu

"I've seen this before"; cues from your current situation my subconsciously trigger retrieval of past memories

mood-congruent memory

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


storage decay over time; unused info fades


inaccessibility of stored info; may be on the tip of the tongue


confusing the source of info (ex. remembering a movie scene as a real life event)


lingering effects of misinformation (ex. a leading question)

proactive interference

when stuff you learned in the past interferes with what you're learning now (ex. Grandma can never be a computer PRO because she thinks the computer is an old typewriter.)

retroactive interference

when new information makes it harder to remember old information; (ex. There are so many new styles out nowadays that I can't remember the old RETRO clothing styles!)


in Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the idea that our memory systems self-censor painful memories; most people believe it, but it's not true; instead, motivated forgetting is what really occurs

misinformation effect

incorporating misleading information into one's memory of an event (ex. How fast were the cars going when they SMASHED into eachother?)

source amnesia

also called misattribution; attributing the wrong source to an event we have experienced (ex. remembering a movie scene as something the really happened)

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