Chapter 7: Long-Term Memory: Encoding and Retrieval
Encoding: the process of acquiring information and transferring it into LTM
Coding – refers to the form in which information is represented
Encoding – refers to the process used to get information into LTM
Retrieval: the process of transferring information from LTM to working memory
Encoding: Getting Information into Long-Term Memory
Some methods of encoding are more effective than others.
Rehearsal: repeating information over and over
Maintenance Rehearsal and Elaborative Rehearsal
Maintenance rehearsal: repeating the information over and over again without any consideration of
meaning or making connections with other information; helps maintain information in STM/WM, but it is
not an effective way of transferring information into LTM
Elaborative rehearsal: occurs when you think about the meaning of an item or make connections between
the item and something you know; is more effective at transferring information into LTM
Levels of processing (LOP): a theory that memory depends on how information is encoded, with “deeper”
processing results in better encoding and retrieval than “shallow” processing
The Basics of Levels of Processing
o Depth of processing is determined by the nature of the task during encoding
Shallow processing: involves little attention to meaning; occurs when attention is
focused on physical features (occurs in maintenance rehearsal)
Deep processing: involves close attention, focusing on an item’s meaning and
relating it to something else (occurs in elaborative rehearsal); results in better
The Difficulty in Defining Depth of Processing
o Circular reasoning: occurs because depth of processing has not been defined
independently of memory performance
Research Showing that Encoding Influences Retrieval
Placing Words in a Complex Sentence
o Memory for a word is much better when the word is presented in a complex sentence.
o The complex sentence creates more connections between the word to be remembered and
other things, and these other things act as cues that help us retrieve the word when we are
trying to remember it
Forming Visual Images o Paired-associate learning: a list of word pairs is presented; later, the first word of each
pair is presented, and the participant’s task is to remember the word it was paired with
o Repetition group: told to silently repeat the pairs as they were presented
o Imagery group: told to form a mental picture in which the two items were interacting
o The participants who had created images remembered more than twice as many words as
the participants who had just repeated the word pairs.
Linking Words to Yourself
o Self-reference effect: memory is better if you are asked to relate a word to yourself
o Possible explanation: the words become linked to something the participants know well –
o Generation effect: generating material yourself, rather than passively receiving it,
enhances learning and retention
o The memory system also uses organization to access information.
o Participants spontaneously organize items as they recall them.
o Remembering words in a particular category may serve as a retrieval cue -- a word or
other stimulus that helps a person remember information stored in memory.
o Recent research shows that being tested on the material to be remembered results in
better memory than rereading it.
o Testing effect: the enhanced performance due to testing (recall as opposed to rereading)
Factors that aid
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etc.) Retrieval: Getting Information Out of Memory
Before material that has been encoded can be used, it must be retrieved. This process is extremely
important because most of our failures of memory are failures of retrieval.
Returning to a particular place can stimulate memories associated with that place (location as a retrieval
Particular songs and smells can also serve as retrieval cues.
Free recall: a participant is simply asked to recall stimuli
Cued recall: a participant is presented with retrieval cues to aid in recall of them previously experiences
Retrieval cues are significantly more effective when they are created by the person whose memory is
Matching Conditions of Encoding and Retrieval
Retrieval can be increased by matching the conditions at retrieval to the conditions that existed at
o We encode information along with its context.
o Ex: Taking the test underwater results in higher test scores for those who studied
underwater as opposed to those who studied on land.
o Learning is associated with a particular internal