Psychology - Memory Key Terms

Key terms from the AS Psychology AQA A specification. 

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Phil
  • Created on: 29-12-12 21:37


  • A measure of how much information can be held in memory.
  • Measured in terms of bits of information, such as numer of digits.
1 of 20


  • A measure of how long a memory lasts before it is no longer available. 
2 of 20


  • The way information is changed so it can be stored in memory.
  • Information enters the brain via the senses (e,g. eyes and ears) and is then stored in various forms, such as visual codes (like a picture), acoustic forms (sounds), or a semantic form (the meaning of the experience). 
3 of 20

Long Term Memory (LTM)

  • Memory for events that have happened in the past.
  • Lasts anywhere from 2 minutes to 100 years.
  • Potentially unlimited capactity.
  • Semantically encoded. 
4 of 20

Short Term Memory (STM)

  • Memory for immediate events.
  • Lasts for a very short time and disappears unless it is rehearsed.
  • Sometimes refered to as the working memory.
  • Encoding - Acoustic.
  • Capacity - 7 +/- 2 chunks.
  • Duration - up to 18 seconds.
5 of 20


  • Miller proposed that the capacity of STM can be enhanced by grouping sets of digits or letters into meaningful units or 'chunks'.
  • For example, it is easier to remember 100 1000 10 10000 than 10010001010000.
  • Miller suggested that we can remember 7 +/- 2 chunks at a time. 
  • The size of a chunk may affect how many other chunks can be processed. 
6 of 20

Digit Span Technique

  • A technique to assess the span of immediate (short-term) memory.
  • Participants are given progressively more digits in a list to see how many can be recalled. 
7 of 20

Multi-Store Model (MSM)

  • An explanation of memory.
  • Based on three seperate memory stores. 
  • Shows how information is transferred between these stores. 
8 of 20

Sensory Memory Store (SMS)

  • Information at the senses - informatin collected by your eyes, ears, nose, fingers and so on.
  • Information is reatined for a very brief period by the sensory registers (less than half a second)
  • Capacity of sensory memory is very large.
  • Method of encoding depends on the sense organ involved, i.e. visual for the eyes, acoustic for the ears.  
9 of 20

Central Executive

  • Monitors and coordinates all other mental function in WM. 
10 of 20

Episodic Buffer

  • Recieves input from many sources.
  • Temporarily stores this information.
  • Integrates it in order to construct a mental episode of what is being experience right now.
11 of 20

Phonological Loop

  • Encodes speech sounds.
  • Involves maintenance rehearsal (repeating the words over and over again i.e. a loop).
  • Divided into phonological store (inner ear) and articulatory process (inner voice).
12 of 20

Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad

  • Encodes visual information.
  • Divided into visual cache (stores information) and inner scribe (spatial relations). 
13 of 20

Word-Length Effect

  • People remember lists of short words better than long words. 
  • Governed by the capacity of the phonological loop. 
14 of 20

Working Memory Model (WMM)

  • An explanation of STM, called 'working memory'.
  • Based on 4 components, some with storage capacity. 
15 of 20

Eyewitness Testimony (EWT)

  • The evidence provided in court by a person who witnessed a crime, with a view to idenitfying the perpetrator of hte crime. 
  • The accuracy of eyewitness recall may be affected during intitial encoding, subsequent storage and eventual retrieval. 
16 of 20

Leading (Misleading) Questions

  • A question that, either by its form or content, suggests to the witness what answer is desired, or leads him to the desired answer.
17 of 20

Post-Event Information

  • Information given to  witness after the event.
  • Such as a leading question.
18 of 20


  • A nervous emotional state where we fear that something unpleasant is about to happen. 
  • People often become anxious when they are in stressful situations. 
  • Anxiety tends to be accompanied by physiological arousal (e.g. a pounding heart and rapid shallow breathing). Therefore research in this area is often focused on the effects of arousal. 
19 of 20

Cognitive Interview

  • A police technique for interviewing witnesses to a crime.
  • Based on what psychologists have found out about memory.
  • Because our memory is made up of a network of associations rather than of discrete events, memories are best accessed using multiple retrieval strategies. 
  • Unlike a standard interview, the CI encourages witnesses to recreate the original context so as to increase the accessibility of stored information.
20 of 20


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Memory resources »