Learning is the process leading to a relatively permanent change in behavior; it is marked by an increase in knowledge, skills, or understanding.
Memory involves the storage and retrieval of learned information and experiences.
associative, as it relates to memory
Associative refers to the understanding that new pieces of information are better remembered when associated with previously learned information.
The more meaningful the association, the more effectively both pieces of information will be remembered.
reconstructive, as it relates to memory
Reconstructive refers to the understanding that memories are scattered throughout the brain in various areas and are reconstructed whenever something must be remembered.
Memories are often altered due to the reconstructive nature of memory.
What factors influence memory?
- Degree of attentiveness
- Strength of motivation
- Emotional state
Sensory memory results from the detection of stimuli by the senses.
Sensory memory does not require any conscious attention, lasts less than one second, and is often considered to be a component of perception.
Short-term memory involves retaining and retrieving limited amounts of information for a short period of time, generally less than a minute.
The information held in short-term memory normally consists of 5 to 9 items.
What can be done to increase the amount of time that information is held in short-term memory?
Working memory is the extension of short-term memory that applies cognitive processes, such as reasoning, to the items currently held in short-term memory.
Activities such as reading, writing, and solving math problems are all considered to be components of working memory.
Long-term memory includes memories of recent facts, as well as the more consolidated memories from the distant past.
Long-term memories can last anywhere from days to years, depending on how well the information can be retrieved.
What are the main processes involved in long-term memory?
The main processes involved in long-term memory are:
Encoding refers to the process of assigning a meaning to a short-term memory and converting it to a construct that can be stored in the brain.
Encoding includes both memorizing the information, as well as giving the memory an emotional, cognitive, and environmental context.
Storage is the active process of memory consolidation that makes memories less vulnerable to being forgotten.
During storage, the brain uses the contextual information of the memory provided during encoding to organize and structure the information within the brain.
Retrieval is the recollection of memories that have been encoded and stored in our long-term memories.
The retrieval process involves copying information from long-term memory and adding it to working memory where it can actively be used.
The more a memory has been encoded, elaborated, structured, and organized, the easier it can be retrieved.
the two methods of retrieval
The two methods of retrieval are:
- Recognition: deciding whether one thing, among others, has been previously encountered.
- Recall: actively reconstructing the information of the memory.
Recall is more difficult because it requires direct activation of all components of a memory, whereas recognition provides an initial activation of part of the memory, triggering the activation of additional components.
What are the two types of long-term memory?
The two types of long-term memory are:
- Explicit memory (declarative)
- Implicit memory (non-declarative)
Explicit (declarative) memory is the sub-category of long-term memory that involves the conscious recollection of things and facts.
Explicit memory includes all those things that are described in words and you are aware of remembering.
Examples: reciting a phone number, remembering a birthday, and recalling what you ate for breakfast.
Implicit (non-declarative) memory is the sub-category of long-term memory that involves the automatic recall of a memory.
Implicit memory includes those memories that are not expressed in words and do not require conscious effort to recall.
Examples: driving a car, riding a bike, and tying your shoes.
What are the two types of implicit memory?
The two types of implicit memory are:
- Procedural memory
- Conditioned emotional response
Procedural memory is the type of implicit memory that enables people to recall and improve on cognitive and motor skills.
Procedural memories are accessed and utilized without the need for conscious control or attention.
Examples: reading a book, throwing a baseball, or flying a plane.
conditioned emotional response
Conditioned emotional response is a type of implicit memory that is involved with the conditioned connection between a memory and an emotional reflex.
Conditioned emotional responses are recalled without the need for conscious effort or attention.
Examples: seeing a dog and feeling scared, hearing the lunch bell and getting hungry, or seeing a rollercoaster and feeling sick.
What are the two types of explicit memory?
The two types of explicit memory are:
- Episodic memory
- Semantic memory
Episodic memory is a type of explicit memory that is involved with the recollection of personally experienced events specific of a time, place, and the context surrounding the event.
Episodic memory requires conscious recall in which a person views themself as an actor in the events.
Examples: remembering what you ate for dinner, what you did on your birthday, or where you went on a family vacation.
Semantic memory is the type of explicit memory that involves retaining and recalling worldly knowledge.
Although semantic memory requires conscious effort to remember, the recall occurs quickly and easily, and aids in constructing a mental representation of the world.
Examples: the meaning of words, social customs, the function of objects.
What brain structure is involved in forming long-term memories from short-term memories?
The hippocampus transfers and consolidates information from short-term memory to long-term memory.
Forgetting is the temporary or permanent inability to retrieve a memory or piece of information that had previously been stored in the brain.
What are the four major theories of forgetting?
The four major theories of forgetting are:
- Decline Theory
- Defective-Recall Theory
- Motivated-Forgetting Theory
- Interference Theory
the Decline Theory of forgetting
According to the Decline Theory, forgetting occurs when the memory is not exercised, or the information in question is not retrieved often enough.
the Defective-Recall Theory of forgetting
According to the Defective-Recall Theory, forgetting is a disturbance in the retrieval of information, in which a memory is momentarily inaccessible due to insufficient coding, lack of associations, or lack of retrieval indexes.
In the case of Defective-Recall Theory, the stored information still exists, despite temporarily forgetting, and may be recalled at a later date.
the Motivated-Forgetting Theory of forgetting
According to the Motivated-Forgetting Theory, forgetting is associated with events that have disagreeable or stressful connotations.
Motivated-Forgetting Theory states that there are unconscious mechanisms that cause people to forget unpleasent or painful memories.
the Interference Theory of forgetting
According to the Interference Theory of forgetting, a piece of information is forgotten because some other piece of information prevents it from being retrieved.
Interference Theory includes two types of interference, retroactive and proactive.
retroactive interference, in relation to forgetting
Retroactive interference is a type of forgetting in which new memories tend to erase old memories.
Example: forgetting the maiden name of a newly married female friend; you only seem to recall her new last name.
proactive interference, in relation to forgetting
Proactive interference is a type of forgetting in which old memories tend to prevent new memories from being committed to memory.
Example: the inability to remember your new phone number because you keep recalling your old number.
What two factors affect how well a memory is retrieved?
The two factors that affect how well a memory is retrieved are:
- Memory organization
What role does sleep play in the ability to retrieve a memory?
Sleep allows for the consolidation of memories stored in the brain over the course of the day.
While sleep allows for the better storage of information, conversely, a lack of sleep notably hinders the learning process.
What two strategies assist in the organization of memories?
The two strategies that assist in the organization of memories are:
- Repetition: taking a piece of information and repeating it continuously, keeping it in short-term memory for as long as possible.
- Elaboration: associating new information with information already stored in long-term memory.
Amnesia is the loss of memory for any length of time due to psychological trauma or physical injury to the brain.
Amnesia typically affects episodic memory, leaving procedural memory intact.
What are the two major categories of amnesia?
The two major categories of amnesia are:
Anterograde amnesia is the inability to remember new information or events that occurred after the onset of amnesia.
Retrograde amnesia is the inability to remember information or events that occurred before the onset of amnesia.