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Memory as a mental process

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Memory disorders

Short-term memory. Short-term memory (or "primary" or "active memory") is the capacity for holding a small amount of information in mind in an active, readily available state for a short period of time.

Short-term memory

The duration of short-term memory (when rehearsal or active maintenance is prevented) is believed to be in the order of seconds. A commonly cited capacity is 7 ± 2 elements. In contrast, long-term memory can hold an indefinite amount of information. Short-term memory should be distinguished from working memory, which refers to structures and processes used for temporarily storing and manipulating information (see details below). Existence of a separate store[edit] The idea of the division of memory into short-term and long-term dates back to the 19th century.

Not all researchers agree that short-term and long-term memory are separate systems. Further evidence against the existence of a short-term memory store comes from experiments involving continual distractor tasks. Ovid J.L. Biological basis[edit] Semantic memory. Semantic memory is one of the two types of declarative or explicit memory (our memory of facts or events that is explicitly stored and retrieved).[1] Semantic memory refers to general world knowledge that we have accumulated throughout our lives.[2] This general knowledge (facts, ideas, meaning and concepts) is intertwined in experience and dependent on culture.

Semantic memory

Semantic memory is distinct from episodic memory, which is our memory of experiences and specific events that occur during our lives, from which we can recreate at any given point.[3] For instance, semantic memory might contain information about what a cat is, whereas episodic memory might contain a specific memory of petting a particular cat. We can learn about new concepts by applying our knowledge learned from things in the past.[4] The counterpart to declarative, or explicit memory, is procedural memory, or implicit memory.[5] History[edit] Empirical evidence[edit] Kihlstrom (1980): Experiment 1[edit] A definition of semantic memory. Procedural memory. Procedural memory is memory for the performance of particular types of action.

Procedural memory

Procedural memory guides the processes we perform and most frequently resides below the level of conscious awareness. When needed, procedural memories are automatically retrieved and utilized for the execution of the integrated procedures involved in both cognitive and motor skills, from tying shoes to flying an airplane to reading. Procedural memories are accessed and used without the need for conscious control or attention.

Subconscious. In psychology, the subconscious is the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The word subconscious is an anglicized version of the French subconscient as coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet, who argued that underneath the layers of critical thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness that he called the subconscious mind.[1] Because there is a limit to the information that can be held in conscious focal awareness, a storehouse of one's knowledge and prior experience is needed; this is the subconscious.[2] Procedural knowledge. Procedural knowledge, also known as imperative knowledge, is the knowledge exercised in the performance of some task.

Procedural knowledge

See below for the specific meaning of this term in cognitive psychology and intellectual property law. Procedural knowledge, or implicit knowledge is different from other kinds of knowledge, such as declarative knowledge, in that it can be directly applied to a task. For instance, the procedural knowledge one uses to solve problems differs from the declarative knowledge one possesses about problem solving because this knowledge is formed by doing.[1] In some legal systems, such procedural knowledge has been considered the intellectual property of a company, and can be transferred when that company is purchased. One limitation of procedural knowledge is its job-dependence; thus it tends to be less general than declarative knowledge. Stimulus–response model. The stimulus–response model is a characterization of a statistical unit (such as a neuron) as a black box model, predicting a quantitative response to a quantitative stimulus, for example one administered by a researcher.

Stimulus–response model

Fields of application[edit] Stimulus–response models are applied in international relations,[1] psychology,[2] risk assessment,[3] neuroscience,[4] neurally-inspired system design,[5] and many other fields. Working memory. Spaced repetition. In the Leitner system, correctly answered cards are advanced to the next, less frequent box, while incorrectly answered cards return to the first box for more aggressive review and repetition.

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material in order to exploit the psychological spacing effect. Alternative names include spaced rehearsal, expanding rehearsal, graduated intervals, repetition spacing, repetition scheduling, spaced retrieval and expanded retrieval.[1] Research and applications[edit] The notion that spaced repetition could be used for improving learning was first proposed in the book Psychology of Study by Prof. Memory.

Overview of the forms and functions of memory in the sciences In psychology, memory is the process in which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved.


Encoding allows information that is from the outside world to reach our senses in the forms of chemical and physical stimuli. In this first stage we must change the information so that we may put the memory into the encoding process. Memory and aging. One of the key concerns of older adults is the experience of memory loss, especially as it is one of the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Memory and aging

However, memory loss is qualitatively different in normal aging from the kind of memory loss associated with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.[1] Occasional lapses in memory are normal in aging adults and understanding the distinction between normal symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer’s is critical in maintaining cognitive health. Mild cognitive impairment[edit] Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which people face memory problems more often than that of the average person their age which is called amilinia disease.

These symptoms, however, do not prevent them from carrying out normal activities and are not as severe as the symptoms for Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms often include misplacing items, forgetting events or appointments, and having trouble finding words.[2][3] Emotion and memory. For "emotional memory" in Stanislavski's system of acting, see Affective memory.

Emotion and memory

Emotion can have a powerful impact on memory. Numerous studies have shown that the most vivid autobiographical memories tend to be of emotional events, which are likely to be recalled more often and with more clarity and detail than neutral events. The activity of emotionally enhanced memory retention can be linked to human evolution; during early development, responsive behavior to environmental events would have progressed as a process of trial and error. Survival depended on behavioral patterns that were repeated or reinforced through life and death situations. Through evolution, this process of learning became genetically embedded in humans and all animal species in what is known as flight or fight instinct. Eyewitness memory. Encoding[edit] During the Event:[edit] Challenges of Identifying Faces[edit] People struggle to identify faces in person or from photos, a difficulty arising from the encoding of faces.[6] When participants were given a basic memory test from an array of photos or a lineup, they struggled to accurately identify the images and had low recognition.

Eyewitness memory

This finding provides a starting point for estimating the accuracy of eyewitnesses' identification of others involved in a traumatic event. The other-race effect (i.e. the own-race bias, cross-race effect, other-ethnicity effect, same-race advantage) is one factor thought to impact the accuracy of facial recognition. List of memory biases. In psychology and cognitive science, a memory bias is a cognitive bias that either enhances or impairs the recall of a memory (either the chances that the memory will be recalled at all, or the amount of time it takes for it to be recalled, or both), or that alters the content of a reported memory. There are many different types of memory biases, including: See also[edit] [edit] ^ Jump up to: a b c d e Schacter, Daniel L. (1999).

Episodic memory. Semantic and episodic memory together make up the category of declarative memory, which is one of the two major divisions of memory – the other is implicit memory.[2] The term "episodic memory" was coined by Endel Tulving in 1972. He was referring to the distinction between knowing and remembering. Knowing is more factual (semantic) whereas remembering is a feeling that is located in the past (episodic).[3] Tulving has seminally defined three key properties of episodic memory recollection.

These are a subjective sense of time (or mental time travel), connection to the self, and autonoetic consciousness. Autobiographical memory. Flashbulb memory. A flashbulb memory is a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid 'snapshot' of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) news was heard.[1] The term "Flashbulb memory" suggests the surprise, indiscriminate illumination, detail, and brevity of a photograph; however flashbulb memories are only somewhat indiscriminate and are far from complete.[1] Evidence has shown that although people are highly confident in their memories, the details of the memories can be forgotten.[2]

A definition of episodic memory. Memory.