8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (2023)

learning goals

At the end of this section, you can:

  • Discuss the three basic functions of memory
  • Describe the three stages of memory storage
  • Describe and distinguish between procedural and declarative memory and semantic and episodic memory

Memory is an information processing system; For this reason, we often compare it to a computer.Storeis the set of processes used to encode, store, and retrieve information over different time periods (Figure 8.2).

8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (1)

Figure8.2 When encoding, information is entered into the memory system. Storage is the holding of encrypted information. The third function is the retrieval or extraction of information from memory and back into consciousness.

link to learn

Look at thisVideo about the neuroscience of memorylearn more.


We receive information into our brain through a process calledcodification, which is the entry of information into the memory system. As soon as we receive sensory information from the environment, our brains label or encode it. We organize information with other similar information and connect new concepts with existing concepts. Encoding of information is done through automatic processing and laborious processing.

Most likely, if someone asks you what you had for lunch today, you can easily remember this information. This is known asautomatic processing, or the encoding of details such as time, space, frequency, and meaning of words. Automatic processing usually occurs without conscious awareness. Remembering the last time you studied for an exam is another example of automatic processing. But what about the actual test material you studied? It probably required a lot of work and attention on your part to encrypt this information. This is known ascomplex processing(Figure 8.3).

(Video) Video Lecture Chapter 8 Psychology 2e

8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (2)

Figure8.3 When you learn new skills, like driving a car, you have to make an effort and pay attention to encode information about how to start the car, how to brake, how to turn, and so on. Once you learn to drive, you can automatically encode additional information about that skill. (Credit: Robert Couse-Baker)

What are the most effective ways to ensure that important memories are securely encrypted? Even a simple sentence is easier to remember when it makes sense (Anderson, 1984). Read the following sentences (Bransford & McCarrell, 1974), then turn your face and count backwards in 30s to zero, then try writing the sentences (don't look back at this page!).

  1. The notes were sour because the seam was tearing.
  2. The trip was not delayed because the bottle broke.
  3. The haystack was important because the cloth tore.

How good were you The statements you wrote were probably confusing and difficult to remember. Now try writing them again using the following prompts: bagpipes, ship name, and paratrooper. Then count backwards from 40 in fours and check how well you remembered the sentences this time. You can see that the sentences are much more memorable now because each one has been put into context. The material encodes much better if you make it meaningful.

There are three types of encoding. The encoding of words and their meaning is calledsemantic coding. It was first demonstrated by William Bousfield (1935) in an experiment in which he asked people to memorize words. The 60 words were actually grouped into 4 meaning categories, although the participants were unaware of this because the words were presented randomly. When asked to memorize the words, they tended to remember them in categories, showing that they were paying attention to the meaning of the words as they learned them.

visual codingis the encoding of images, andacoustic codingit is the codification of sounds, especially of words. To see how visual coding works, read this word list:Auto, Level, Dog, Truth, Book, Value. If you were later asked to recall the words on this list, which one do you think you would remember the most? You will probably find it easier to remember the wordscar, dog,Ebuch, and harder to remember the wordspure truth,EWert. Why is this? For you can more easily remember pictures (mental images) than words alone. when you read the wordscar, dog,Ebuchyou have created pictures of these things in your mind. These are concrete and figurative words. On the other hand, abstract words likepure truth,EWertare weak words. Words rich in images are visually and semantically encoded (Paivio, 1986), building a stronger memory.

Now let's move on to acoustic coding. You're driving your car and a song comes on the radio that you haven't heard in at least 10 years, but you sing along and remember every word. In the United States, children often learn the alphabet through songs and the number of days in each month through rhymes:Thirty days have September,/April, June and November; / Everyone has thirty-one, / except February, with twenty-eight days off, / and twenty-nine in every leap year.” These lessons are easy to remember because of acoustic coding. We encode the sounds words make. That's one of the reasons why so much of what we teach young children is done through song, rhyme, and rhythm.

Which of the three types of encoding do you think would give you the best recall of verbal information? A few years ago, psychologists Fergus Craik and Endel Tulving (1975) conducted a series of experiments to find out. Participants were given words along with questions about them. The questions asked participants to process the words at one of three levels. Visual processing issues included, among other things, the issue of letter fonts. Acoustic processing questions asked participants about the sound or rhyme of words, and semantic processing questions asked participants about the meaning of words. After participants were given the words and questions, they were given an unexpected memory or recognition task.

Semantically coded words were remembered better than visually or acoustically coded words. Semantic coding involves a deeper level of processing than shallower visual or auditory coding. Craik and Tulving concluded that we process verbal information better through semantic encoding, particularly when we apply what is known as the self-reference effect. Oself-reference effectit is an individual's tendency to better remember information related to themselves compared to material that is less personally relevant (Rogers, Kuiper, & Kirker, 1977). Could you benefit from semantic coding when trying to memorize the concepts in this chapter?


Once the information is encrypted, we need to maintain it somehow. Our brain takes the encrypted information and stores it.storeis the creation of a permanent record of information.

For a memory to be stored (i.e. long-term memory), it must go through three distinct stages:sensory memory,short term memory, and finallylong term memory. These stages were first suggested by Richardatkinsonand RichardShiffrin(1968). His model of human memory (Figure 8.4), called the Atkinson and Shiffrin model, is based on the belief that we process memories the same way a computer processes information.

8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (3)

Figure8.4 According to the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model, information goes through three distinct stages to be stored in long-term memory.

(Video) Openstax Psychology - Ch8 - Memory

The Atkinson-Shiffrin model is not the only memory model. Baddeley and Hitch (1974) proposed a working memory model in which short-term memory has distinct forms. In his model, storing memories in short-term memory is like opening different files on a computer and adding information. Memory files contain a limited amount of information. The type of short-term memory (or computer file) depends on the type of information received. There are memories in visuospatial form and memories of spoken or written material, and they are stored in three short-term systems: a visuospatial sketch pad, an episodic buffer (Baddeley, 2000) and a phonological loop. According to Baddeley and Hitch, a central executive branch of memory oversees or controls the flow of information to and from the three short-term systems, and the central executive branch is responsible for moving information into long-term memory.

sensory memory

In the Atkinson-Shiffrin model, stimuli from the environment are first processedsensory memory: Storage of short sensory events such as images, sounds and tastes. It's a very short storage - even a few seconds. We are constantly bombarded with sensory information. We cannot absorb all, or even most of it. And most of it doesn't affect our lives. For example, what did your teacher wear to the last class? As long as the teacher was dressed appropriately, it didn't matter what she wore. We discard sensory information about sights, sounds, smells and even textures that we don't consider valuable information. When we see something as valuable, the information flashes into our short-term memory.

short term memory

Short term memory (STM)it is a temporary storage system that processes incoming sensory memories. The terms short-term and working memory are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. Short-term memory is described in more detail as a component of working memory. Short-term memory takes information from sensory memory and sometimes associates that memory with something already in long-term memory. Short-term memory storage takes 15-30 seconds. Think of it like the information you displayed on your computer screen, for example. a document, spreadsheet, or website. The information in the STM then goes into long-term storage (you save it to your hard drive) or is discarded (you delete a document or close a web browser).

In the endmoves information from short-term memory to long-term memory. Active practice is a way of caring for information to move it from short-term memory to long-term memory. In active practice, you repeat (practice) the information to be memorized. If you repeat it often enough, it can be committed to long-term memory. For example, many children learn the ABCs through this type of active practice by singing the alphabet song. Alternatively, extensive practice is relating new information you are trying to learn to existing information you already know. For example, if you meet someone at a party and your phone is dead, but you want to remember their phone number, which starts with the area code 203, remember that your uncle Abdul lives in Connecticut and has the area code 203. If you're trying to remember your potential new boyfriend's phone number, it'll be easier to remember the area code. Craik and Lockhart (1972) proposed the levels of processing hypothesis, which states that the more deeply someone thinks about something, the better they remember it.

You might be wondering, "How much information can our memory process at once?" To examine the capacity and duration of your short-term memory, ask a partner to read the sequences of random numbers (Figure 8.5) aloud, beginning each string with "Ready?" and end each one by saying "Remember". At this point, you should try to write down the sequence of numbers from memory.

8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (4)

Figure8.5 Work through this sequence of numbers using the memorization exercise explained above to determine the longest sequence of digits you can memorize.

Write the longest string where you hit the series. For most people, capacity will likely be around 7 plus or minus 2. In 1956, George Miller reviewed most of the research on short-term memory capacity and found that humans can retain between 5 and 9 items, then he reported that short-term memory capacity was the "magic number" 7 plus or minus 2. However, more recent research found that working memory capacity is 4 plus or minus 1 (Cowan, 2010). In general, memory is slightly better for random numbers than for random letters (Jacobs, 1887) and also slightly better for information we hear (auditory encoding) than for information we see (visual encoding) (Anderson, 1969) .

Decay and interference of memory traces are two factors that affect short term memory. Peterson and Peterson (1959) studied short-term memory using three sequences of letters called trigrams (eg, CLS) that had to be retrieved after various time intervals ranging from 3 to 18 seconds. Participants recalled about 80% of the trigrams after a 3-second delay, but only 10% after an 18-second delay, leading them to conclude that short-term memory declined by 18 seconds. During decay, the memory trail becomes less active over time and information is forgotten. However, Keppel and Underwood (1962) examined only early attempts at the trigram task and found that proactive interference also affected short-term memory. During proactive interference, previously learned information interferes with the ability to learn new information. Both memory trace deterioration and proactive interference affect short-term memory. Once information arrives in long-term memory, it must be consolidated both at the synaptic level, which takes a few hours, and in the memory system, which can take weeks or more.

long term memory

Long term memory (LTM)is the continuous storage of information. Unlike short-term memory, long-term memory is believed to have unlimited storage capacity. It covers all the things you can remember that happened more than just a few minutes ago. You really can't look at long-term memory without thinking about how it's organized. Very quickly, what's the first word that comes to mind when you hear "peanut butter"? Did you think about jelly? If so, you probably have peanut butter and jelly on your mind. It is generally accepted that memories are organized into semantic (or associative) networks (Collins & Loftus, 1975). A semantic network is made up of concepts and, as you may remember from what you learned about memory, concepts are categories or groupings of linguistic information, images, ideas or memories, such as B. Life experiences. Although individual experiences and knowledge can influence the ordering of concepts, it is believed that concepts are organized hierarchically in the mind (Anderson & Reder, 1999; Johnson & Mervis, 1997, 1998; Palmer, Jones, Hennessy, Unze & Pick, 1989; Rosch, Mervis, Gray, Johnson & Boyes-Braem, 1976; Tanaka & Taylor, 1991). Related concepts are linked, and the strength of the link depends on the number of times two concepts have been linked.

Semantic networks differ according to personal experiences. Important for memory, activating any part of a semantic network also activates, to a lesser extent, the concepts associated with that part. The process is known as scattering activation (Collins & Loftus, 1975). When part of a network is activated, it is easier to access related concepts because they are already partially activated. When you remember or remember something, you activate a concept, and related concepts are more easily remembered because they are partially activated. However, activations do not spread in just one direction. When you remember something, you usually have multiple ways to get the information you want to access, and the more links you have to a concept, the better your chances of being remembered.

(Video) Intro to Psych: 8.1 - Memory

There are two types of long-term memory:explicitEimplicitly(Figure 8.6). It is important to understand the difference between explicit and implicit memory because aging, certain types of brain trauma, and certain disorders can affect explicit and implicit memory in different ways.Explicit Memoriesthey are the ones we consciously try to remember, remember and report. For example, if you are studying for a chemistry test, the material you are studying will be part of your explicit memory. To use the computer analogy, some information in your long-term memory would be like the information you have stored on your hard drive. It's not on your desktop (your short-term memory), but most of the time you can access this information whenever you want. Not all long-term memories are strong memories, and some memories can only be accessed using prompts. For example, you might easily remember a fact, such as the capital of the United States, but have trouble remembering the name of the restaurant you ate at when you visited a nearby city last summer. A prompt, e.g. B. the fact that the restaurant is named after the owner can help you remember the name of the restaurant. Explicit memory is sometimes called declarative memory because it can be put into words. Explicit memory is divided into episodic memory and semantic memory.

link to learn

Look thisVideo explaining short and long term memoryto learn more about how memories are stored and retrieved.

episodic memoryit is information about events that we personally experience (i.e. an episode). For example, remembering your last birthday is an episodic reminder. Typically, episodic memory is reported as a story. The concept of episodic memory was first proposed around the 1970s (Tulving, 1972). Since then, Tulving and others have reformulated the theory, and scientists now believe that episodic memory is the recall of events in specific places at specific times – the what, where, and when of an event (Tulving, 2002). It includes recall of visual images as well as a sense of familiarity (Hassabis & Maguire, 2007).semantic memoryit is knowledge of words, concepts, and language-based knowledge and facts. Semantic memory is normally reported as facts. Semantics means dealing with language and knowledge about language. For example, the answers to the following questions like “What is the definition of psychology” and “Who was the first African-American president of the United States” are stored in your semantic memory.

implicit memoriesthey are long-term memories that are not part of our consciousness. Although implicit memories are learned outside of our awareness and cannot be consciously recalled, implicit memory is evident when performing a task (Roediger, 1990; Schacter, 1987). Implicit memory has been examined with cognitively demanding tasks such as B. Performance in artificial grammar (Reber, 1976), word memory (Jacoby, 1983; Jacoby & Witherspoon, 1982), and learning contingencies and unspoken and unwritten rules ( Greenspoon, 1955; Giddan & Eriksen, 1959; Krieckhaus & Eriksen, 1960). Returning to the computer metaphor, implicit memories are like a program running in the background and you are not aware of its influence. Implicit memories can influence observable behaviors as well as cognitive tasks. In either case, you often can't put your memory into words that adequately describe the task. There are different types of implicit memories, including procedural, preparatory, and emotional conditioning.

8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (5)

Figure8.6 There are two components of long-term memory: explicit and implicit. Explicit memory includes both episodic and semantic memory. Implicit memory includes procedural memory and things learned through conditioning.

Implicitlyprocedural memoryit is often studied in terms of observable behaviors (Adams, 1957; Lacey & Smith, 1954; Lazarus & McCleary, 1951). Implicit procedural memory stores information about how to do something and is the memory for skillful actions like brushing your teeth, riding a bike, or driving a car. When you first tried it, you probably weren't that good at riding a bike or driving a car, but after doing those things for a year, you were so much better. His improvement in cycling was due to learning balance skills. you probablyThoughtabout standing up straight at first but now you're straightAgainThis. Also, you're probably good at keeping your balance, but you can't tell anyone exactly how you do it. When you first learned to drive, you probably thought about many things that you now do without much thought. When you first learned how to do these tasks, someone might have told you how to do them, but whatever you learned from those instructions that you cannot readily explain to someone else as a procedure is Implicit Memory.

Implicit priming is another type of implicit memory (Schacter, 1992). During priming, exposure to one stimulus affects the response to a subsequent stimulus. Stimuli can vary and can include words, pictures, and other stimuli to elicit a response or increase recognition. For example, some people really like picnics. They love to go out into nature, spread a blanket on the ground and eat a tasty meal. Now unscramble the following letters to form a word.


What word did you think of? Chances are it was "dish".

(Video) PSY 101 : Memory

You read: “Some people really like to grow flowers. They love to go into the garden, fertilize the plants and water the flowers”, you probably thought of the word “petal” instead of dish.

Remember the earlier discussion of semantic networks? The reason people are more likely to think of "plate" after reading about a picnic is that the plate is associated (connected) with the picnic. Plate was prepared by enabling the semantic web. Likewise, “petal” is related to and initiated by the flower. Priming is also why you've probably been told that jelly is the answer to peanut butter.

Implicit emotional conditioning is the type of memory involved in classically conditioned emotional responses (Olson & Fazio, 2001). These emotional relationships cannot be reported or retrieved, but they can be associated with various stimuli. For example, certain smells can evoke certain emotional responses in some people. If there's an odor that makes you feel positive and nostalgic, and you don't know where that reaction is coming from, it's an implicit emotional reaction. Likewise, most people have a song that elicits a specific emotional response. The effect of this music can be an implicit emotional memory (Yang, Xu, Du, Shi & Fang, 2011).

daily connection

Can you remember everything you've ever done or said?

Episodic memories are also known as autobiographical memories. Let's quickly test your autobiographical memory. What were you wearing exactly five years ago today? What did you have for lunch on April 10, 2009? You may find it difficult, if not impossible, to answer these questions. Can you remember all the events you've experienced throughout your life - meals, conversations, choice of clothes, weather conditions and so on? Most likely none of us can remotely answer these questions; however, American actress Mariluhen, best known for the television showTaxi,can remember She has an amazing and extremely superior autobiographical memory (Figure 8.7).

8.1 How memory works - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (6)

Figure8.7 Marilu Henner's superautobiographical memory is known as hyperthymesia. (Credit: Mark Richardson)

Very few people can remember events this way; Less than 20 people with this ability have been identified to date, and only a few have been studied (Parker, Cahill, and McGaugh 2006). and althoughhyperthymesiaOccurring usually in adolescence, two children in the United States seem to have memories well before their tenth birthday.

link to learn

Look at thisVideo on superior autobiographical memoryfrom the news60 minuteslearn more.

(Video) Neuropsychology 8.1: Memory and the Brain


So you've worked hard to code (through heavy processing) and store some vital information for your next final exam. How do you retrieve this information from memory when you need it? The process of pulling information out of memory and bringing it back to consciousness is calledrecovery. This is similar to locating and opening a previously saved document on your computer's hard drive. It is now back on your desktop and you can work with it again. Our ability to retrieve information from long-term memory is critical to our daily functioning. You need to be able to pull information from memory to do everything from brushing your hair and teeth, driving to work, knowing how to do your job when you get there.

There are three ways to retrieve information from your long-term memory storage system: retrieval, recognition, and relearning.To rememberThis is what we most often think of when we talk about memory retrieval: it means you can access information without any clues. For example, you would use Recall for a writing test.recognitionhappens when you identify information you previously learned after finding it again. It involves a comparison process. When you take a multiple-choice test, you have recognition to help you choose the right answer. Here's another example. Let's say you graduated high school 10 years ago and moved back to your hometown for your 10th reunion. You may not remember all of your classmates, but you'll recognize many of them from their yearbook photos.

The third form of recovery isrelearn, and it is exactly what it sounds like. It's about learning information that you've previously learned. Whitney studied Spanish in high school, but after high school she didn't have the opportunity to speak Spanish. Whitney is now 31 years old and her company has offered her the opportunity to work in their Mexico City office. To prepare, she enrolls in a Spanish course at the local community center. She is amazed at how quickly she can pick up the language after not speaking it for 13 years; This is an example of relearning.


How does memory work in psychology? ›

When long-term memories form, the hippocampus retrieves information from the working memory and begins to change the brain's physical neural wiring. These new connections between neurons and synapses stay as long as they remain in use. Psychologists divide long-term memory into two length types: recent and remote.

How does the memory work? ›

There are three main processes that characterize how memory works. These processes are encoding, storage, and retrieval (or recall). Encoding. Encoding refers to the process through which information is learned.

What is short-term memory Openstax? ›

Short-Term Memory. Short-term memory (STM) is a temporary storage system that processes incoming sensory memory. The terms short-term and working memory are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same.

What are the 3 basic functions of memory? ›

Our memory has three basic functions: encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Encoding is the act of getting information into our memory system through automatic or effortful processing.

How memory works and how to make it work for you? ›

Dr. Madigan explains how memory works and presents innovative mnemonic devices and visualization techniques that will help you sharpen your mental skills; avoid embarrassing lapses; and remember faces, appointments, facts, numbers, lists, and much more. Reclaim your brain--this book shows how.

What is the memory short answer? ›

Memory is the process of taking in information from the world around us, processing it, storing it and later recalling that information, sometimes many years later.

How does the brain control memory? ›

The cerebellum's job is to process procedural memories; the hippocampus is where new memories are encoded; the amygdala helps determine what memories to store, and it plays a part in determining where the memories are stored based on whether we have a strong or weak emotional response to the event.

How does learning memory work? ›

Learning is the acquisition of skill or knowledge, while memory is the expression of what you've acquired. Another difference is the speed with which the two things happen. If you acquire the new skill or knowledge slowly and laboriously, that's learning. If acquisition occurs instantly, that's making a memory.

Does OpenStax have answers to review questions? ›

With that said, every OpenStax textbook has an answer guide to questions in the text and PowerPoint slides to help you build your lectures.

What is 2e in OpenStax? ›

Biology 2e - OpenStax. Biology 2e is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens.

What are the stages of memory? ›

Psychologists distinguish between three necessary stages in the learning and memory process: encoding, storage, and retrieval (Melton, 1963). Encoding is defined as the initial learning of information; storage refers to maintaining information over time; retrieval is the ability to access information when you need it.

What are the 3 types of memory in psychology? ›

The three major classifications of memory that the scientific community deals with today are as follows: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Information from the world around us begins to be stored by sensory memory, making it possible for this information to be accessible in the future.

What are types of memory? ›

Most scientists believe there are at least four general types of memory:
  • working memory.
  • sensory memory.
  • short-term memory.
  • long-term memory.
Nov 1, 2020

What is working memory in psychology quizlet? ›

WORKING MEMORY: Is the brief immediate memory for material that you are currently processing; a portion of working memory also actively coordinates your on goin mental activities. (lets you keep information active and accesible so you can use it in a variety of cognitive task.)

What is memory psychology quizlet? ›

Memory. An active system that allows people to retain information over time. Information-Processing Model. States that the ability to retain information over time involves three process: Encoding, Storage, and Retrieval.

How is memory defined quizlet? ›

Memory. Definition: A cognitive system that retains information. Example: When you learn dance and are able to recall it. Encoding. Definition: The process of breaking the information down into a form we understand.

How do you memorize long answers? ›

Simple memory tips and tricks
  1. Try to understand the information first. Information that is organized and makes sense to you is easier to memorize. ...
  2. Link it. ...
  3. Sleep on it. ...
  4. Self-test. ...
  5. Use distributed practice. ...
  6. Write it out. ...
  7. Create meaningful groups. ...
  8. Use mnemonics.

What is memory in psychology in simple words? ›

Memory is today defined in psychology as the faculty of encoding, storing, and retrieving information (Squire, 2009). Psychologists have found that memory includes three important categories: sensory, short-term, and long-term.

What is the summary of memory? ›

Memory is a system or process that stores what we learn for future use. Our memory has three basic functions: encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Encoding is the act of getting information into our memory system through automatic or effortful processing.

What is memory one line answer? ›

Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope. Computer memory is any physical device capable of storing information temporarily, like RAM (random access memory), or permanently, like ROM (read-only memory). Memory devices utilize integrated circuits and are used by operating systems, software, and hardware. Tip.

What affects memory in the brain? ›

Your personal experiences, beliefs, knowledge and mood affect your memories and perceptions when they're being encoded in your brain. This means that when you retrieve a memory, your mood and other biases at that moment can influence what information you actually recall.

What part of your brain is responsible for memory? ›

Hippocampus. A curved seahorse-shaped organ on the underside of each temporal lobe, the hippocampus is part of a larger structure called the hippocampal formation. It supports memory, learning, navigation and perception of space.

How is human memory stored? ›

For explicit memories – which are about events that happened to you (episodic), as well as general facts and information (semantic) – there are three important areas of the brain: the hippocampus, the neocortex and the amygdala. Implicit memories, such as motor memories, rely on the basal ganglia and cerebellum.

What is the first step of memory? ›

Stage 1: Encoding

Encoding occurs when we pay attention to information. For example, if you are trying to remember a list of groceries, you will need to pay attention to the items on the list in order to encode them into your memory. Information is encoded into a format that can be stored in our memory.

Why is working memory important? ›

Why is Working Memory Important? Working memory allows us to hold information briefly in mind and process it. If we forget something that was in our working memory, it is not retrievable without intervention. Interventions might include referring to instructions or asking for the information to be repeated.

Why do we study memory in psychology? ›

One of the key goals of memory research is to develop a basic understanding of the nature and characteristics of memory processes and systems. Another important goal is to develop useful applications of basic research to everyday life.

How does working memory work in the brain? ›

Think of working memory as a temporary sticky note in the brain. It holds new information in place so the brain can work with it briefly and connect it with other information. For example, in math class, working memory lets kids “see” in their head the numbers the teacher is saying.

How does the brain store memory? ›

All memory storage devices, from your brain to the RAM in your computer, store information by changing their physical qualities. Over 130 years ago, pioneering neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal first suggested that the brain stores information by rearranging the connections, or synapses, between neurons.

What is an example of working memory in psychology? ›

For example, trying to remember a phone number while a toddler is shouting for attention, or trying to remember a shopping list when you bump into an old friend. Children use working memory in the classroom.

What is an example for working memory? ›

Working Memory Examples

Keeping a person's address in mind while being given directions. Keeping elements or the sequence of a story in mind before the person completes telling it. Dialing a telephone number that you were just told. Calculating the total bill of your groceries as you are shopping (mental math)

What is a good example of working memory? ›

Examples of working memory tasks could include holding a person's address in mind while listening to instructions about how to get there, or listening to a sequence of events in a story while trying to understand what the story means.

What are the 3 stages of memory process explain each stages? ›

Psychologists distinguish between three necessary stages in the learning and memory process: encoding, storage, and retrieval (Melton, 1963). Encoding is defined as the initial learning of information; storage refers to maintaining information over time; retrieval is the ability to access information when you need it.

What are the 2 kinds of main memory? ›

There are technically two types of computer memory: primary and secondary. The term memory is used as a synonym for primary memory or as an abbreviation for a specific type of primary memory called random access memory (RAM).

What triggers memory? ›

Triggers can be people, places, or situations. Thoughts, emotions and sensations can also trigger trauma memories. Triggers can be something specific tied to the memory of the traumatic event (like bridges, the smell of fuel or feeling afraid) or something general (like being in a crowd).

What is memory made up of? ›

Memory is made up of set of wires, set of circuits and large number of cells. Memory is any physical device capable of storing information temporarily or permanently. For example: random access memory is a volatile memory that stores information on an integrated circuit used by operating system, software and hardware.

What is the power of memory? ›

The Storage of Information.

How fascinating this is that our brain can retain so much, even small amounts from ages ago or a passage you read somewhere at some time. Memory is powerful, even if sometimes we struggle to remember what we wrote on our grocery list that we left on the kitchen counter.


1. Lecture 8.1 Review
(John Paul Minda)
2. Psychology of Memory Encoding, Storing & Retrieving
(Dr. Bev Knox - Psychology Lectures )
3. PSY 102 - Chapter 8 (Wakefulness and Sleep)
(Jeffrey Thompson)
4. Psychology of Thinking: Introductory Lecture
(John Paul Minda)
5. Introduction to psychology course: Chapters 7, 8, and 9
(Psychcinct: Succinct Psychology)
6. Week 2 - Memory - Introduction to Psychology
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