Our memory has three basic functions: encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Encoding is the act of acquiring information into our memory system through automatic or effortful processing. Warehouse is retention the the information, and retrieval is the action of gaining information out of storage and also into aware awareness v recall, recognition, and also relearning. There are various models the aim to describe how we use our memory. In this section, you’ll learn about some of this models and the importance of recall, recognition, and also relearning.

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To acquire a great overview of every one of these concepts and to pique her interest, friend may select to start this module by watching John Gabrieli’s lecture on memory. Listen for some an essential vocabulary state you’ll learn about soon, particularly:

the three-stage version of memoryshort-term memoryserial position effectprimacyrecencyEbbinghaus forgetting curveproactive interferenceretroactive interferenceflashbulb memoriesfalse memories

Learning Objectives

Explain the two major processes the encoding and the three various ways that we encode sensory information.Describe the 3 stages of storage storage

Memory is an info processing system; therefore, we frequently compare it to a computer. Memory is the collection of processes supplied to encode, store, and also retrieve information over various periods that time.

Figure 2. Once you an initial learn new skills such together driving a car, you need to put soon effort and attention come encode information around how to begin a car, how to brake, just how to handle a turn, and so on. As soon as you know how to drive, you have the right to encode additional information around this ability automatically. (credit: Robert Couse-Baker)

What are the most reliable ways come ensure that important memories space well encoded? also a straightforward sentence is simpler to recall when it is meaningful (Anderson, 1984). Check out the adhering to sentences (Bransford & McCarrell, 1974), climate look away and count backwards native 30 by threes to zero, and also then try to create down the sentence (no peeking back at this page!).

The notes were sour due to the fact that the seams split.The trip wasn’t delayed because the bottle shattered.The haystack was important due to the fact that the towel ripped.

How fine did you do? by themselves, the statements that you composed down were most most likely confusing and an overwhelming for you come recall. Now, shot writing lock again, utilizing the complying with prompts: bagpipe, ship christening (shattering a bottle over the bow the the delivery is a price of good luck), and also parachutist. Following count backwards from 40 through fours, then inspect yourself come see how well girlfriend recalled the sentences this time. You have the right to see the the sentences are now much more memorable due to the fact that each the the sentence was put in context. Product is far far better encoded once you make it meaningful.

There are three species of encoding. The encoding of words and their an interpretation is known as semantic encoding. It was an initial demonstrated by william Bousfield (1935) in an experiment in which he asked civilization to memorize words. The 60 words were actually divided into 4 categories of meaning, return the participants go not understand this due to the fact that the words to be randomly presented. Once they to be asked come remember the words, they had tendency to recall lock in categories, reflecting that they paid fist to the interpretations of the words together they learned them.

Visual encoding is the encoding of images, and also acoustic encoding is the encoding that sounds, native in particular. To see exactly how visual encoding works, review over this list of words: car, level, dog, truth, book, value. If you were asked later to recall the words from this list, i beg your pardon ones perform you think you’d most likely remember? You would probably have actually an less complicated time recalling the indigenous car, dog, and also book, and also a more complicated time recalling the indigenous level, truth, and also value. Why is this? since you can recall pictures (mental pictures) an ext easily 보다 words alone. As soon as you review the indigenous car, dog, and book you created images of these points in your mind. These space concrete, high-imagery words. ~ above the other hand, abstract words prefer level, truth, and also value room low-imagery words. High-imagery words space encoded both visually and also semantically (Paivio, 1986), thus building a more powerful memory.

Now let’s rotate our fist to acoustic encoding. You space driving in her car and a tune comes top top the radio that you i can not use heard in at least 10 years, but you sing along, recalling every word. In the united States, youngsters often discover the alphabet v song, and they find out the number of days in each month through rhyme: Thirty work hath September, / April, June, and also November; / every the rest have actually thirty-one, / save February, v twenty-eight job clear, / and twenty-nine every leap year.” this lessons are basic to remember since of acoustic encoding. Us encode the sound the indigenous make. This is just one of the factors why much of what we teach young children is done with song, rhyme, and also rhythm.

Which the the three types of encoding do you think would provide you the best memory of verbal information? some years ago, psychologists Fergus Craik and also Endel Tulving (1975) carried out a series of experiments to uncover out. Entrants were provided words in addition to questions around them. The questions forced the participants to process the words at one of the 3 levels. The visual handling questions included such things as questioning the participants about the font that the letters. The acoustic processing questions inquiry the participants about the sound or rhyming the the words, and the semantic processing questions inquiry the participants around the meaning of the words. ~ participants were presented through the words and questions, they were provided an unexpected recall or recognition task.

Words that had been encoded semantically were better remembered than those encoded visually or acoustically. Semantic encoding involves a depths level of processing than the shallower intuitive or acoustic encoding. Craik and Tulving concluded the we process verbal information best through semantic encoding, particularly if we apply what is called the self-reference effect. The self-reference impact is the propensity for an separation, personal, instance to have far better memory for info that relates come oneself in comparison to product that has actually less personal relevance (Rogers, Kuiper & Kirker, 1977). Could semantic encoding be beneficial to you together you effort to memorize the concepts in this module?


The procedure of encoding is selective, and also in facility situations, relatively few of many possible details room noticed and encoded. The process of encoding constantly involves recoding—that is, taking the info from the form it is yielded to us and also then converting it in a way that we have the right to make feeling of it. Because that example, friend might shot to remember the color of a rainbow by using the acronym ROY G BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). The process of recoding the colors into a surname can aid us come remember. However, recoding can likewise introduce errors—when us accidentally include information during encoding, then remember that new material as if it had been part of the actual suffer (as discussed below).

Figure 3. Although it requires an ext effort, making use of images and associations have the right to improve the procedure of recoding.

Psychologists have studied countless recoding techniques that can be used during study to enhance retention. First, study advises that, together we study, we should think the the meaning of the events (Craik & Lockhart, 1972), and we should shot to relate new events to info we already know. This help us kind associations that we have the right to use to retrieve information later. Second, imagining events additionally makes them more memorable; producing vivid photos out of info (even verbal information) can significantly improve later on recall (Bower & Reitman, 1972). Developing imagery is part of the technique Simon Reinhard supplies to remember vast numbers of digits, but we can all use photos to encode information more effectively. The simple concept behind an excellent encoding methods is to type distinctive storage (ones the stand out), and to form links or associations among memories to help later retrieval (Hunt & McDaniel, 1993). Using study strategies such as the ones described here is challenging, but the effort is fine worth the services of magnified learning and retention.

We emphasized earlier that encoding is selective: human being cannot encode all details they are exposed to. However, recoding can add information that was not also seen or heard during the early stage encoding phase. Numerous of the recoding processes, like developing associations in between memories, can take place without our awareness. This is one reason people can sometimes remember events that did no actually happen—because throughout the process of recoding, details acquired added. One common method of inducing false memories in the activities employs a word-list method (Deese, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995). Participants listen lists of 15 words, prefer door, glass, pane, shade, ledge, sill, house, open, curtain, frame, view, breeze, sash, screen, and shutter. Later, attendees are provided a check in which they are presented a perform of words and asked to choose out the persons they’d heard earlier. This second list consists of some words indigenous the an initial list (e.g., door, pane, frame) and also some words no from the list (e.g., arm, phone, bottle). In this example, one of the words on the check is window, which—importantly—does not appear in the an initial list, but which is associated to various other words in that list. As soon as subjects were tested, they were reasonably accurate with the studied words (door, etc.), recognizing lock 72% of the time. However, once window was on the test, lock falsely recognized it as having actually been on the list 84% of the time (Stadler, Roediger, & McDermott, 1999). The very same thing taken place with many other perform the writer used. This phenomenon is described as the DRM (for Deese-Roediger-McDermott) effect. One explanation because that such outcomes is that, when students listened to items in the list, the words triggered the students to think around window, also though window was never presented. In this way, civilization seem to encode occasions that room not actually component of your experience.

Because human beings are creative, us are constantly going past the details we room given: we automatically make associations and also infer native them what is happening. But, just like the word association mix-up above, occasionally we make false memories from our inferences—remembering the inferences themselves together if they to be actual experiences. To show this, Brewer (1977) gave world sentences to remember that were designed to elicit pragmatic inferences. Inferences, in general, describe instances as soon as something is not explicitly stated, but we room still able to guess the undisclosed intention. Because that example, if your friend said you the she didn’t want to go out to eat, you may infer that she doesn’t have the money to go out, or that she’s too tired. Through pragmatic inferences, there is typically one details inference you’re likely to make. Think about the declare Brewer (1977) provided her participants: “The karate champion fight the cinder block.” after ~ hearing or see this sentence, participants that were given a memory test often tended to remember the declare as having actually been, “The karate champion broke the cinder block.” This remembered explain is not necessarily a logical inference (i.e., the is perfect reasonable the a karate champion can hit a cinder block without breaking it). Nevertheless, the pragmatic conclusion indigenous hearing such a sentence is that the block was most likely broken. The attendees remembered this inference they made while hear the sentence in ar of the really words the were in the sentence (see also McDermott & Chan, 2006).

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Encoding—the initial it is registered of information—is essential in the learning and also memory process. Unless an occasion is encoded in part fashion, it will not be properly remembered later. However, simply because an event is encoded (even if it is encoded well), yes sir no guarantee that it will be psychic later.

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acoustic encoding: input of sounds, words, and also music
automatic processing: encoding that informational details like time, space, frequency, and the an interpretation of words