Understanding Psychology

Chapter 10: Memory and Thought

Chapter Overviews

Memory—a complex mental process that allows us to recognize people and perform learned actions—is the subject of Chapter 10.

Section 1 details the three processes involved in memory: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Encoding is the process by which the senses transform information into memory. After information is encoded, it is stored for a period of time. During retrieval, information is brought to mind from storage. Memory has three stages—sensory, short-term and long-term—and each has a different purpose and timespan. This section defines maintenance rehearsal, chunking, semantic memory, episodic memory, and procedural memory.

Section 2 describes how stored memory can be retrieved by recognition, recall, and relearning. Included are definitions of schemas, reconstructive memory, and state-dependent learning. Problems in remembering can be due to decay, interference, or repression. In interference, previous memories can interfere with present remembering (proactive interference) or information remembered just recently can interfere with past memories (retroactive interference). The section concludes with a discussion of methods to improve memory, including elaborate rehearsal and mnemonic devices.

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