Psychology: Memory

How Things Get Remembered
Long-Term Memory System
Memory Organization
Encoding and LTM
Remembering and Forgetting
Searching for Memory


Remembering and Forgetting - Memory as a Constructive and Re-constructive Process:

Retrieval is recovering information from long-term memory and bringing it in short-term memory (consciousness). Recall is the spontaneous retrieval of stored fragments from long-term memory. Recognition is the explicit knowledge of whether something has been previously encountered or learned, i.e., whether something is known. Remembering involves recalling material from long-term memory and constructing or re-constructing a mental presentation (or a narrative) of an event.

Schema is knowledge about patterns in events or things. It influences both encoding and retrieval. People falsely claim to "remember" things about events to conform the schema. For example, a woman claims to remember her sister wearing a black veil at the funeral. (Despite the fact the photograph reveals her memory is wrong). This woman expects her sister to wear a veil at funerals. Her schema of funerals - general knowledge about events - includes black veils worn by relatives.

Forgetting, the inability to retrieve information from memory, occurs as a result of decay (the memory trace fades), interference, and repression. Interference of old memory to prevent new information to be acquired is called proactive interference. New information interfering with the retrieval of old information is called retroactive interference.

Source(s): Drew Westen, Psychology: mind, brain, & culture (NY 1996)


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