Medicine & USMLE

Long Term Memory

  1. Sensory Memory
  2. Short-Term Memory
  3. Working Memory
  4. Long Term Memory


Coming soon...

Key Points

  • Long Term Memory
    • Third and final step of information processing model
      • Occurs after short term and working memory
    • Function
      • Information storage
      • Organized into two types
        • Explicit memory
          • Stores declarative information; can be consciously recalled
          • Semantic memory
            • Meanings of words, facts and concepts
              •  e.g. meaning of “dog”, multiplication, colors
            • Performance is stable with aging
          • Episodic memory
            • Personal experiences and events
              • e.g. buying first car, first day of college
            • Contains flashbulb memories
              • Vivid, detailed snapshot of an emotionally-charged event
                • e.g. where I was when 9/11 happened
            • Performance declines with aging
          • Source memory
            • Stores source of information
              • e.g. who said or reported something
            • Performance declines with aging
        • Implicit memory
          • Stores non-declarative information; cannot be consciously recalled
          • Procedural memory
            • Stores motor skills
              • e.g. how to ride a bike, or tie a shoe
            • Performance is stable with aging
          • Emotional/Reflexive memory
            • Stores associations between stimuli and emotions
              • e.g. smell of hot chocolate triggers nostalgic emotions from childhood winters
          • Priming
            • Stores previous experiences that influence current perception of stimuli
              • e.g. people recognize the word “nurse” more after reading  “doctor” than after reading “bread”
    • Duration
      • Theoretically indefinite (hence: “long term”)
        • Constrained by forgetting (the loss of information from our long term storage)
    • Capacity
      • Unlimited capacity
        • Humans thought to have indefinite capacity to learn new information