Ch. 7: Memory
Sec. 1: Memory Classifications and Processes
Memory is the process of encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Memory includes factual and general information, experiences of events, and skills.
Three kinds of memory
• Memory is the process
• There are three different kinds of memory.
• Episodic memory is
• A flashbulb memory is a memory of an important and intense event.
• Examples of flashbulb memory: the memory of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
• Semantic memory is
• Episodic and semantic memories are both examples of explicit memory, which is
• Implicit memory is
• Implicit memory includes practiced skills and learned habits.
• Skills learned often stay with people for a lifetime, even if they do not use them very often.
• The translation of information into a form in which it can be used is called encoding.
• Encoding is
• One type of code is visual.
• People use visual codes
• Another type of code is acoustic.
• People use acoustic codes
• Another type of code is semantic.
• A semantic code represents
• Storage is the
• It is the second process of memory.
• Mechanical or rote repetition of information in order to keep from forgetting it is called
• The more time spent on it,
• It does not connect information to past learning and is therefore
• A more effective way to remember new information is to relate it to information you already know.
• This method is called elaborative rehearsal.
• It is widely used
• Stored memories become
• In some ways, the mind is like a storehouse of files and file cabinets in which you store what you learn and what you need to remember.
• Your memory organizes information into classes according to common features.
• Our ability to remember
• Errors can occur because
• Retrieval consists of
• Retrieval is the third stage of processing information.
• Context-dependent memories are
• Such memories are dependent on
• Memories that are retrieved because the mood in which they were originally encoded is recreated are called state-dependent memories.
• Memory is better when people
On the Tip of the Tongue
• Trying to retrieve memories that are not very well organized or are incomplete can be highly frustrating.
• Sometimes we are so close to retrieving the information
• Psychologists call this phenomenon the feeling-of-knowing experience.
Current Research in Psychology
Unreliable Memories, Unreliable Witnesses
“Misleading details can be planted into a person’s memory for an event that actually occurred. It is also possible to plant entirely false memories,” according to Elizabeth
Loftus and Daniel Bernstein (Bernstein et al., 2005).
• Loftus has shown that false memories exist and also that feeling sure about a memory does not prove the memory is a reliable one.
• One factor in false memory is source confusion.
• If a person has a “gist trace” of a memory rather than a “verbatim” trace, the memory is likely to be false or inaccurate.
• Psychological research is helping train police investigators to avoid using interviewing techniques that can mislead witnesses.
• One example is pressing for more additional details when a witness has already expressed uncertainty.
Sec. 2: Three Stages of Memory
The three stages of memory storage are sensory input, short-term or working memory, and long-term memory.
• Sensory memory is
• It consists of the immediate, initial recording of data that enter through the senses.
• Psychologists believe that each of the five senses has a register.
• Mental pictures we form of visual stimuli are called icons, which are held in a sensory register called iconic memory.
• Iconic memories
• The rare ability to remember visual stimuli over long periods of time is called eidetic
• Mental traces of sounds are held in a mental sensory register called echoic memory.
Short Term Memory
• The primacy effect is the
• The tendency to recall the last item or items in a series is called the recency effect.
• There is no
• The organization of items into familiar or manageable units is called chunking.
• Psychologist George Miller found that
• Interference occurs when
• Short-term memory is a temporary solution to the problem of remembering information. It is the bridge between sensory memory and long-term memory
Long Term Memory
• Long-term memory is
• It is the stage of memory capable of
• Memories are not
• They are reconstructed from our experiences.
• We shape memories according to the personal and individual ways in which we view the world.
• We tend to remember things in accordance with our beliefs and needs.
• Schemas are the
• Schemas influence the ways we perceive things and the ways our memories store what we perceive.
Capacity of Memory
• Psychologists have not yet discovered
• We do not
• Our memory is limited by
• The memories we store in long-term memory are the incidents and experiences that have the greatest impact on us.
Forgetting and Memory Improvement
The three tasks of remembering are recognition, recall, and relearning. Failure of any of these results in forgetting.
• Forgetting can occur
• Information encoded in sensory memory decays
• Short-term memory will disappear after
• Information stored in short-term memory is lost when it is displaced by new information.
• The most familiar and significant cases of forgetting involve the inability to use information in long-term memory.
Basic Memory Tasks
• Recognition is
• It is the easiest of the memory tasks.
• Recall is
• In recall, you do not immediately recognize something you have come across before.
• You have to “search” for it and possibly reconstruct it in your mind.
• The third basic memory task is relearning.
• Relearning involves
Different Kinds of Forgetting
• Much forgetting is due to
• Interference occurs
• Decay is
• Both are part of normal forgetting.
• There are more extreme kinds of forgetting.
• Freud says we sometimes forget things on purpose without knowing it because some memories are painful and unpleasant.
• He called this kind of forgetting repression.
• Amnesia is severe memory loss, which is often caused by trauma to the brain.
• People with retrograde amnesia forget the period leading up to a traumatic event.
• Memory loss of events after trauma is called anterograde amnesia.
• Retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia are extreme and rare.
• One type of amnesia that everyone experiences is infantile amnesia,
• Infantile amnesia is based on biological and cognitive factors.
Drill and Practice
• Drill and practice,
• It is an effective way to transfer information from sensory memory to short-term memory and from short-term memory to long-term memory.
Relate to Existing Knowledge
• Elaborative rehearsal—
Form Unusual Associations
• Memory can be enhanced by forming unusual associations.
Use Mnemonic Devices
• Mnemonic devices combine chunks of information into a catchy or easily recognizable format.