Psychology - Memory



  • Defined as the encoding, storage and the retrieval of stored information when needed 
  • Focus is on capacity (the amount of information stored), duration (the length of time it is stored), acoustic, visual or semantic (the way information is stored)
  • Three different types of memory:
    • Episodic memory - memories of personal events or experiences you may have had in your life that are personal to you i.e. places you have visited or events that have happened like your first day at school or a birthday trip to the zoo or staying at your nan's house
    • Semantic memory - memory for facts and general knowledge i.e. knowledge about the meaning of words and things like knowing the capital city of England is London and the capital city of France is Paris 
    • Procedural memory - the memory that helps us recall information on complicated skills and is believed to be stored as a motor code rather than a verbal code, so you learn by being shown rather than it being explained i.e. riding a bike or swimming
  • Three forms of encoding used in memory:
    • Acoustic (sound) - holding of information in your memory in the form of sound i.e. we repeat the information to ourselves to maintain the memory acoustically until we can write it down or complete the task such as repeating what you groceries you need as you look at the shelves to find the item
    • Visual (picture) - processing information visually in the form of a picture in our mind i.e. if I ask you about your dog, you begin to picture your dog in your mind in an effort to answer
    • Semantic (meaning) - refers to encoding something through its meaning i.e. if I asked you to name a celebrity's spouse and children, you visually picture their family but you also need to think about what the word spouse means - when you visualise and begin to ask yourself about them, you are digging deeper to understand the meanings behind the visual image
  • Three types of retrieval systems used by memory:
    • Recall - a type of retrieval associated with remembering information as we search our memory - we recall the answer located in our memory
    • Recognition - being presented with items and being asked if we remember any of them from a previous exposure 
    • Re-learning - being exposed to something we may have learnt previously but have then forgotten - it doesn't take as long to re-learn something as it did to initially learn it

Structures of memory (Atkinson and Shiffrin's Mutli Store Model of Memory 1968)

  • The sensory memory store 
    • Our senses are bombarded however not all of them we pay attention to and most are discarded almost as soon as they are registered
    • The sensory store which stores this sensory information is the first part of the multi-store model of memory and it is not under cognitive control - it's called the sensory information store (SIS)
    • Research suggests encoding occurs in the way


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