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Levels of Processing Theory

1. shallow processing (structural encoding)
2. intermediate processing (phonetic encoding)
3. deep processing (semantic encoding - meaning)

self-referent encoding

deciding how or whether information is personally relevant


organizing items into familiar, manageable units


the conscious repetition of information

spacing effect

evenly spaced study yields better long-term retention than last-minute studying


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

serial effects

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

primacy effect

long-term memory; involved in serial-position effect

recency effect

short-term memory; involved in serial-position effect

sensory memory

the preservation of memory in its original sensory form for a fraction of a second

iconic memory

visual memory (sensory)

echoic memory

auditory memory (sensory)

short-term memory

the 20-second storage center through which a memory passes to reach the LTM. goes from this stage to LTM through rehearsal

long-term memory

unlimited capacity storage that can hold information over lengthy periods of time. there is a substantial amount of evidence demonstrating LTM permanence: recall vs. recognition, flashbulb memories

memory trace

physical basis of memory

long-term potentiation (LTP)

activating a neural connection increases synaptic efficiency (neural basis for learning)


Eric Kandel's sea slug study

parallel distributed processing theory

specific memories correspond to particular pattern of activation in a network of nodes. there are categories that have connections

tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

temporary inability to remember something that you know, with a feeling that it is just out of reach

context dependency

memory is good when learn and recall setting are the same

mood dependency

memory is good when the mood during learn and recall are the same

recall v. recognition

fill in the blank v. multiple choice

explicit (declarative) memory

without conscious recall (cerebellum), skills (motor and cognition) classical conditioning, retention
-episodic (things that happen)
-semantic (facts)

implicit (non-declarative) memory

procedural memory "how to's"


an organized cluster of knowledge about a particular object or event abstracted from previous experience

emotion and memory

memory of a violent event is stronger than would be for a neutral event, although memory for associated detail is less

weapon focus

eyewitness memory for detail is worse when a weapon is present

leading questions

elizabeth loftus, "how fast were the cars going when they hit/smashed/collided/bumped?"

decay theory

memory is lost with the passage of time (forgetting curve)

retroactive interference

the old is forgotten, pushed out by new information

proactive interference

the new is forgotten, pushed out by old information

retrograde amnesia

losing memory from before the event

anterograde amnesia

even since the event, you have difficulty forming new memories


thinking about thinking (memory, logic, reasoning)


your mental image of what something is


organization of broad concepts into narrower subdivisions


broadest division of a concept (vehicles)


narrowest division of a concept (vans, sportscars)


interpreting new experiences in terms of existing schemas (horse = big doggy)


adapting current schemas to incorporate new information

convergent thinking

taking logical steps to find a single solution (math problem)

divergent thinking

generating creative ideas by exploring multiple solutions

confirmation bias

people are more likely to remember things that are consistence with their schemas or expectations


inability to see a problem from a new perspective (mental set)

functional fixedness

the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions


step-by-step procedure that leads to a solution


a sudden and often novel realization of a solution

availability heuristic

information more readily in our memory is more important that information that is not as easily accessible (we think planes are more dangerous than cars)

representativeness heuristc

a rule of thumb where similarity to a prototype or similar situation dictates a decision


the tendency to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs


the rules of grammar used in sentence structure

receptive language

ability to comprehend speech (4 months)

productive language

ability to produce words

stages of language

1. babbling stage (4 mo.)
2. one-word stage (10 mo.)
3. two-word stage (24 mo.)
4. telegraphic stage (24+ mo.)

linguistic determinism

Benjamin Whorf's hypothesis that language determines the way we think

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