Memory And Learning

Of all cognitive processes that are involved in everyday living, memory has been the most extensively researched (Poon & Siegler, 1991). Many famous psychologists and physiologists have studied the nature of memory and its physiological basis during the past several decades. Despite these efforts, precisely how memories are stored and retained is not completely understood, and our models of memory are mostly descriptive rather than explanatory.

Rather than being a single process that takes place in a particular area of the brain, there are several kinds of memory and they appear to involve various neural structures and functions. Not only the cerebral cortex but also subcortical structures such as the hippocampus are involved in memory storage and retention.

Learning and memory have been of particular interest to psychological researchers, especially those of a behavioristic persuasion. The two topics are, of course, inseparable: Evidence for learning is based on memory, and memories are formed through learning. Psychological research has focused on three processes or stages in learning and remembering: acquisition or learning, encoding or storage, and recall or retrieval. Acquisition is concerned with acquiring skills and information by means of the senses. Learning and memory may be conscious or unconscious, explicit or implicit, but acquisition is more likely to occur when the learner is motivated and attentive.

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