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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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It is the process of remembering stored information as outputs. The quality and quantity of retrieved information are significant factors used to evaluate the strength of a person's memory. The importance of memory, perhaps, lies in how much we depend on it for us to carry out our daily tasks.

Memory - Wikipedia

For example, it takes a lot of experience and information about physical dimensions in order to wash the dishes. Additionally, it takes a lot of language exposure and vocabulary to follow instructions from your mother. Looking at memory this way, it is amazing how much information we actually take in every day.

For example, in a single day, you must have retained information about what you did, why you did them, whom you talked to, where you went, what clothes you wore, and even how you carried out certain activities. Additionally, you might have picked up a few concepts, names, or even dates, from a book chapter you just read. The way we encode, store, and retrieve information from memory is indeed remarkable, but memory is not without its imperfections.

Types of Memory

It is not uncommon for us to see people arguing about whether something really did happen, with both of them equally confident about their memories. This kind of setting can escalate into more serious cases, like in legal trials, where witnesses make conflicting statements on similar events, assuming that those testimonies were true. In a simpler case, note how often you get frustrated about forgetting some simple facts, like names of certain people and places. The study of memory was only speculative at first.

Scientists dismissed the study of memory because they thought that the subjective nature of memory prevents it from conforming to the rigidity of science. However, contemporary psychologists are starting to recognize the subjective nature of memory, investigating such phenomena as memory reconstruction, memory distortion, memory invention, forgetting, and the influence of emotions on memory.

Santrock concludes that our impressions of reality are not always judgment-free. Organizing information can help aid retrieval.

1. Memory Encoding

You can organize information in sequences such as alphabetically, by size or by time. Imagine a patient being discharged from hospital whose treatment involved taking various pills at various times, changing their dressing and doing exercises. If the doctor gives these instructions in the order which they must be carried out throughout the day i. A large part of the research on memory is based on experiments conducted in laboratories. Those who take part in the experiments - the participants - are asked to perform tasks such as recalling lists of words and numbers.

Both the setting - the laboratory - and the tasks are a long way from everyday life. In many cases, the setting is artificial and the tasks fairly meaningless. Does this matter?

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Psychologists use the term ecological validity to refer to the extent to which the findings of research studies can be generalized to other settings. An experiment has high ecological validity if its findings can be generalized, that is applied or extended, to settings outside the laboratory. It is often assumed that if an experiment is realistic or true-to-life, then there is a greater likelihood that its findings can be generalized.

If it is not realistic if the laboratory setting and the tasks are artificial then there is less likelihood that the findings can be generalized.


In this case, the experiment will have low ecological validity. Many experiments designed to investigate memory have been criticized for having low ecological validity. First, the laboratory is an artificial situation. People are removed from their normal social settings and asked to take part in a psychological experiment. They are directed by an 'experimenter' and may be placed in the company of complete strangers. For many people, this is a brand new experience, far removed from their everyday lives.

5 Videos on the Science of Memory

Will this setting affect their actions, will they behave normally? Often, the tasks participants are asked to perform can appear artificial and meaningless.

Explicit Memory

Few, if any, people would attempt to memorize and recall a list of unconnected words in their daily lives. And it is not clear how tasks such as this relate to the use of memory in everyday life. The artificiality of many experiments has led some researchers to question whether their findings can be generalized to real life. As a result, many memory experiments have been criticized for having low ecological validity.

Miller, G. The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review , 63 2 : 81— Sternberg, R. Cognitive psychology 2 nd ed. McLeod, S.