1. Distinguish among sensory memory, short term memory and long term memory.

  2. Distinguish between automatic and effortful processing, and discuss the importance of rehearsal.

  3. Explain the importance of meaning, imagery and organization in the encoding process.

  4. Describe the limited nature of sensory memory and short term memory.

  5. Describe the capacity and duration of long-term memory.

  6. Discuss the biological changes that may underlie memory formation and storage.

  7. Contrast recall, recognition and relearning measures of memory.

  8. Describe the importance of retrieval cues.

  9. Discuss the impact of environmental contexts and internal emotional state on retrieval.

  10. Explain why forgetting can be beneficial.

  11. Discuss the role of encoding failure and storage decay in forgetting.

  12. What is retrieval failure and how does interference play a part in it.

  13. Describe the difficulty in discerning true memories from false ones and how that may play a role in eyewitness testimony.

  14. Discuss the controversy over repressed and recovered memories for childhood sexual abuse.

Key Vocabulary:

Text Box:                        


Memory – The persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information

Flashbulb Memory – a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event

Encoding – the processing of information into the memory system – for example, by extracting meaning

Storage – the retention of encoded information over time

Retrieval – the process of getting information out of memory storage

Sensory Memory – the immediate, initial recording of sensory information in the memory system

Short-term Memory – activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing, before the information is stored or forgotten

Long-term Memory – the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system

Working Memory – like short-term memory in that it is quite limited.  The separate mental subsystems allow us to process images and words simultaneously enroute to storage.

Automatic Processing – unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings

Effortful Processing – encoding that requires attention and conscious effort

Rehearsal – the conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage

Spacing Effect – the tendency for distributed study or practice to yield better long-term retention than is achieved through massed study or practice

Serial Position Effect – our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list

Semantic Encoding – the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words

Acoustic Encoding – the encoding of sound, especially the sound of words

Imagery – mental pictures; a powerful aid to effortful processing, especially when combined with semantic encoding

Mnemonics – memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices.

Chunking – organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically

Iconic Memory – a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second

Echoic Memory – a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds.

Long-term Potentiation (LTP) – an increase in a synapse’s firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation.  Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory.

Amnesia – the loss of memory

Implicit Memory – retention without conscious recollection ( of skills and dispositions).  (Also called procedural memory.)

Explicit Memory – memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and “Declare”.  (Also called declarative memory.)

Recall – a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test

Priming – the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory

Mood-congruent – the tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one’s current good or bad mood

Proactive Interference – the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information

Retroactive Interference – the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information.

Repression – in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-rousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness

Misinformation Effect – incorporating misleading information into one’s memory of an event

Source Amnesia – attributing to the wrong source and event that we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined.  Source amnesia, along with the misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories.  (Also called source misattribution)