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.
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Encoding
The process 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, very brief 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 and forgotten.
Long-term Memory
The relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system. Includes knowledge, skills, and experiences.
Working Memory
A newer understanding of short-term memory that involves conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information, and of information retrieved from long-term memory.
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 on a list.
Visual Encoding
The encoding of picture images.
Acoustic Encoding
The encoding of sound, especially the sound of words.
Semantic Encoding
The encoding of meaning, including the meaning 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 independent of conscious recollection.
Explicit Memory
Memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare."
Hippocampus
A neural center located in the limbic system that helps process explicit memories for storage.
Recall
A measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test.
Recognition
A measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on a multiple-choice test.
Relearning
A memory measure that assesses the amount of time saved when learning a material for a second time.
Priming
The activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response.
Deja Vu
That eerie sense that "I've experienced this before." Cues from the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience.
Mood-congruent Memory
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-arousing 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 an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined. Source amnesia, along with the misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories.