Basic Memory Processes

How Researchers Study Memory:

·  Explicit Memory Task - Directly ask the person if they remember something

·  Implicit Memory Task - A person could have encoded the information but may not be able to retrieve - Learning may show up in other tasks. Unconscious memory

·  Word Stem Completion , fill in blank, word fragments

·  Give some of the letters of a word and asked to fill in with first word that comes to mind.

·  Priming

·  May be able to recognize a word faster if have seen it previously, earlier encounter with stimuli increases the speed or accuracy with which that stimuli can be named, etc. at a later time


See difference between 2 in Amnesic patients – suggest retrieval not encoding problem


Information Processing Model of Memory

How is information stored in LTM?

            Concepts – categories of objects, events, etc. that have common features, formed through everyday experience

            Prototype – best or most representative example of a concept

·        Procedural memory – a form of memory that involves a sequence of movements or actions and enables us to perform various acts or skills. Motor memory. Swim, drive car, etc. I know how to…

·        Episodic memory – a form of memory that represents our knowledge of personally experienced events and the order in which they occurred. Summer camp in childhood, first week at college. I remember when…

·        Semantic memory – a form of memory that represents knowledge of words, symbols, and concepts including the meaning and rules for using them. Carry on conversation, understand math and history, text, I know…

Forgetting of Long Term Memories

Why do we forget? Theories of Forgetting


·  How Overcome?

Encoding Long Term Memories

Factors that impact retreival

Metamemory - Knowledge about your storage and retrieval process

Improving Memory

·  Mnemonic Devices


Flashbulb memories – vivid, emotional, short duration

·        Consequentiality, arousal, distinctiveness, narrative

·        See changes in memory – wrong time, tv bias, stereotypical reactions (Challenger space shuttle)


Reconstruction approach to memory

·        Look at quality not quantity – what added or changed, why certain items more likely to be forgotten or changed

·        Memory not exact replica of event but pieced together, influenced by past experience, context

·        Distortions – grades (remember A’s 89% of time, F’s 28% of time, tended to raise GPA), raising children (easier than it was, more like book than actually was)

Eyewitness Testimony