Memory Stages and Concepts

September 19, 2012
by Pharm Tao

Memory Stages and Concepts




Sensory memory The stage that information registers or is “held”, decided by attention.
Short-term/working memory The encoding/consolidation process to prepare for storage;

the limbic system, esp. the hippocampus is involved, the front lobes organize information

Long-term memory Procedural/implicit (nondeclarative): recognition memory
Declarative/explicit (declarative): visual, semantic, episodic
Stress Acute stress enhances memories; chronic stress is detrimental
Retrieval The process of accessing memories; priming: environmental associations of memories
Ordinary forgetting Failure to encode: not fully processed information
Failure to retain: “use it or lose it”
Failure to retrieve: “tip of the tongue” (TOT) phenomenon: not getting the right cue;

interference by similar information;

retroactive interference: old information is blocked by new information;

proactive interference: a new memory is interfered by the old memory;

serial order effect: primacy effect – only the beginning parts are remembered;

recency effect – only the last parts are remembered


Schacter’s (2001) 7 Sins of Memory





Absent-mindedness Not enough attention Encoding failure
Bias Details are distorted by attitudes and beliefs Memory distortion; confirmation bias; self-consistency bias
Blocking Not able to recall the known information interference; serial order effect; “tip of the tongue” (TOT) phenomenon
Misattribution Wrong source connections Sources amnesia; memory distortion
Persistence Recall of unpleasant memories Stress; phobic reactions; flashbacks; intrusive thoughts
Suggestibility Questions affect recalled details False memories; memory distortion
Transience Fading memories Memory decay


Amnesia, Forgetting, False Memories



Explanations/Associated concepts

Dissociative amnesia Malingering behavior; factitious disorders; repression caused by stress, emotional trauma
False memories Distorted memories; reconstructive
Organic amnesia Retrograde amnesia: loss of memories before the injury
Anterograde amnesia: not able to have new memories
Aging and memory Alzheimer’s disease: lack of acetylcholine
Aging and memory: healthy lifestyle can help reduce the loss of memory

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