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Human Memory

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CBSE Gujarat Board Haryana Board

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Class 10 Class 12

What are the three stages of memory?

Encoding, retrieval and storage are the three stages of memory.


Write a note on implicit memory.

Implicit memory: Recent studies have indicated that many of the memories remain outside the conscious awareness of a person. Implicit memory is a kind of memory that a person is not aware of. It is a memory that is retrieved automatically. One interesting example of implicit memory comes from the experience of typing. If someone knows typing that means s/he also knows the particular letters on the keyboard. But many typists cannot correctly label blank keys in a drawing of a keyboard.

Implicit memories lie outside the boundaries of awareness. In other words we are not conscious of the fact that a memory or record of a given experience exists. Nevertheless, implicit memories do influence our behaviour, This kind of memory was found in patients suffering from brain injuries. They were presented a list of common words. A few minutes later the patient was asked to recall words from the list. No memory was shown for the words, However, if s/he was prompted to say a word that begins with these letters and two letters are given the patient was able to recall words. Implicit memories are also observed in people with normal memories.


Which of the following is a stage in the memory process?

  • Encoding

  • Storage

  • Retrieval

  • All of the above


All of the above


Describe different methods of memory measurement.

The major methods which are used for memory measurement are as follows:

(i) Free Recall and Recognition (for measuring facts/episodes related memory): In free recall method, participants are presented with some words which they are asked to memorise and after some time they are asked to recall them in any order. The more they are able to recall, the better their memory is. In recognition, instead of being asked to generate items, participants see the items that they had memorised along with distracter items (those that they had not seen) and their task is to recognise which one of those they had learnt. The greater the number of recognition of ‘old terms’, better is the memory.

(ii) Sentence Verification Task (for measuring semantic memory): In sentence verification task, the participants are asked to indicate whether the given sentences are true or false. Faster the participant’s respond, better retained is the information needed to verify those sentence.

(iii) Priming (for measuring information we cannot report verbally): In priming method, participants are shown a list of words, such as garden, playground, house, etc. and then they are shown parts of these words like gar, pla, ho, along with parts of other words they had not seen. Participants complete parts of seen words more quickly than parts of words they had not seen. When asked, they are often unaware of this and report that they have only guessed.


The process by which information is recorded and registered for the first time so that it becomes usable by our memory system is termed as:

  • retrieval

  • encoding

  • storage

  • forgetting




Discuss some approaches other than mnemonics to improve memory.

Some approaches to improve memory are as follows :

(i) Engage in Deep Level Processing: If one wants to memorise any information well, s/he should engage her/himself in deep level processing. Craik and Lockhart have demonstrated that processing information in terms of meaning that they convey leads to better memory as compared to attending to their surface features. Deep processing would involve asking as many questions related to the information as possible, considering its meaning and examining its relationships to the facts one already knows. In this way, the new information will become a part of her/his existing knowledge framework and the chances that it will be remembered are increased.

(ii) Minimise Interference: Interference, is a major cause of forgetting and therefore one should try to avoid it as much as possible. Maximum interference is caused when very similar materials are learned in a sequence. So, one should avoid this. One should arrange her/his study in such a way that s/he does not learn similar subjects one after the other. Instead s/he should pick up some other subject unrelated to the previous one. If that is not possible, s/he should distribute her/his learning/practice. This means giving herself/himself intermittent rest periods while studying to minimise interference. (iii) Give Yourself enough Retrieval Cues: While learning something, one should think of retrieval cues inherent in her/ his study material. They should be identified and should be linked to parts of the study materials to these cues. Cues will be easier to remember compared to the entire content and the links one has created between cues and the content will facilitate the retrieval process.