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Social Sci LibreTexts

8: Memory

Memory is the process in which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved. Encoding allows information from the outside world to be sensed in the form of chemical and physical stimuli. We have an amazing capacity for memory, but how, exactly, do we process and store information? Are there different kinds of memory, and if so, what characterizes the different types? How, exactly, do we retrieve our memories? And why do we forget? This chapter will explore these questions as we learn about memory.

  • 8.0: Prelude to Memory
    We may be top-notch learners, but if we don’t have a way to store what we’ve learned, what good is the knowledge we’ve gained?
  • 8.1: How Memory Functions
    Memory is an information processing system; therefore, we often compare it to a computer. Memory is the set of processes used to encode, store, and retrieve information over different periods of time.
  • 8.2: Parts of the Brain Involved with Memory
    Many scientists believe that the entire brain is involved with memory. However, since Lashley’s research, other scientists have been able to look more closely at the brain and memory. They have argued that memory is located in specific parts of the brain, and specific neurons can be recognized for their involvement in forming memories. The main parts of the brain involved with memory are the amygdala, the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and the prefrontal cortex.
  • 8.3: Problems with Memory
    You may pride yourself on your amazing ability to remember the birthdates and ages of all of your friends and family members, or you may be able recall vivid details of your 5th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. However, all of us have at times felt frustrated, and even embarrassed, when our memories have failed us. There are several reasons why this happens.
  • 8.4: Ways to Enhance Memory
    Most of us suffer from memory failures of one kind or another, and most of us would like to improve our memories so that we don’t forget where we put the car keys or, more importantly, the material we need to know for an exam. In this section, we’ll look at some ways to help you remember better, and at some strategies for more effective studying.
  • 8.E: Memory (Exercises)

Thumbnail: This is a knuckle mnemonic to help you remember the number of days in each month. Months with 31 days are represented by the protruding knuckles and shorter months fall in the spots between knuckles. (credit: modification of work by Cory Zanker).