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Understanding Memory

Carolyn Ensley

Publication Date - March 2020

ISBN: 9780199014989

480 pages

Retail Price to Students: $99.99


The most engaging, comprehensive, and applied introduction to memory that relates the study of memory to everyday life.

Balancing theory and application, Understanding Memory provides an engaging and comprehensive understanding of human memory with a focus on current models of memory systems and how these models are relevant to our everyday lives.


  • A dedicated focus on practical application using relatable examples and DIY experiments to effectively demonstrate not only what students are learning, but why they are learning it.
  • Inclusion of neuroscience is uniquely integrated throughout the text to help explain how and why memory works rather than in a single dedicated chapter.
  • Blending of established and emerging theories give students a full understanding of the psychology of memory by covering classic theories as well as new ones that challenge the status quo.
  • Intensive in-text pedagogy gives students ample thought-provoking opportunities to get involved and to understand practical application of the theories presented.
  • - Case studies and relevant examples prelude each chapter to introduce the topic in an interesting and informative way.
  • - DIY experiment boxes provide a practical demonstration of concepts that students can experience for themselves.
  • - Memory activities end all chapters with an activity that students can use to improve their memory, and that also ties in to chapter content.
  • Robust ancillary suite provides the most extensive instructor resources available.
  • Discovery labs that allow students to experience well-known experiments that will deepen their understanding of core concepts.

About the Author(s)

Carolyn Ensley, Instructor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Carolyn Ensley has taught courses relating sensation and perception, cognition, history and learning at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2004 where she has a standing appointment in the department. She has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and has an online instruction certification from Conestoga College. Her research interests are in the areas of cognition, perception and memory. Carolyn was responsible for creating the labs for Discovery Labs for Cognition and for the updated boxes in Chaudhuri, Fundamentals of Sensory Perception.

Table of Contents

    NOTE: Each chapter includes
    - Learning Objectives
    - Chapter-Opening Vignette
    - Chapter Review
    - Memory Activity
    - Questions
    Key Figures
    Part I: Part Name
    1. The Study of Memory
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Total Recall?
    What is Memory?
    The History of the Study of Memory
    Trends in Memory Research from 1890 to 1970
    Early Research into the Neuroscience of Memory
    The Cognitive Revolution
    Key Events in Memory Research Following the Cognitive Revolution
    Theoretical Approaches to Studying Memory
    A Brief Introduction to the Neuroscience of Memory
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Visualizations Help Memory
    2. Sensory Persistence and Information Persistence
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Patient X: A Man with a Deficit in Auditory Sensory Memory
    Sensory Memory
    Information Persistence
    The Neuroscience of Sensory Persistence and Information Persistence of Visual Information
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Dispelling the Concept of Iconic Memory
    3. Short-Term Memory and Working Memory
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Mental Calculators
    Short-term Memory
    Working Memory
    The Neuroscience of Short-Term Memory and Working Memory
    Working Memory and Emotional Regulation
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Generate an Acronym
    4. Long-Term Memory
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: The Case of H.M. in More Detail
    Long-term Memory
    Hebbian Plasticity
    The Neuroscience of Long-Term Potentiation
    Revisiting the Role of the Hippocampus in Long-Term Memory
    The Two-Stage Model of Memory
    Multiple Trace Theory
    What Happens in the Brain During Retrieval?
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Using Cues to Self-Test
    5. Explicit and Implicit Memory
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: H.M. versus J.K.
    The Implicit-Explicit Memory Distinction
    The Neuroscience of Explicit and Implicit Memory
    Studying Implicit Memory
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Using the Link Method to Memorize a Neural Circuit
    6. Episodic Memory and Autobiographical Memory
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Extreme Episodic Memory: Hyperthymesia
    What is Episodic Memory?
    The Neuroscience of Episodic Memory
    Retrieving Episodic Memories
    Phenomena Related to Episodic Memory
    Episodic Memory is Distinct from Classical Conditioning
    Autobiographical Memory
    Conway's Model of Autobiographical Memory
    The Neuroscience of Autobiographical Memory
    Flashbulb Memories
    Phenomena Related to Autobiographical Memory
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Make a Table to Aid Your Memory
    7. Generic Memory
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Ken Jennings: Extraordinary Recall for Ordinary Things
    Early Models of Generic Memory
    The Compound Cue Model
    The Hub-and-Spoke Model
    The Neuroscience of Generic Memory
    The Neuroscience of Concepts
    Concepts and Categorization
    Schemas and Scripts
    How did Ken Jennings Conquer Jeopardy!?
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Using a Rhyming Peg Word Mnemonic
    8. Forgetting
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Forgetting Is a Good Thing
    The Seven Sins of Memory
    The Time Course of Forgetting
    Disruption in Consolidation as a Source of Forgetting
    Early Models of Forgetting: Decay Theory and Interference Theory
    The Neuroscience of Forgetting
    Retrieval-Induced Forgetting
    Motivated Forgetting
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Remembering the Seven Sins of Memory
    9. Memory across the Lifespan
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Jake Hausler
    Memory before Birth and Memory in Newborns
    Infant Memory
    Models of Memory Development
    Memory in Childhood
    Memory and Aging
    The Neuroscience of the Aging Brain
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Using Chunking to Help Remember Long Lists
    10. Memory and Our Social Selves
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: The Search for Bridey Murphy
    The Impact of Collaboration on Recall
    The Effect of Conversational Remembering on Subsequent Memory
    Implicit Memory and Social Behaviour
    The Implicit-Association Test
    Cognitive Dissonance and Its Influence on Autobiographical Memory
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Remembering What Can Make Fake News Seem Believable
    11. Memory and the Law
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Thomas Sophonow
    Eyewitness Memory
    Repressed Memory
    Memory and False Confessions
    Identification Procedures
    New Approaches to Suspect Identification
    Brain Fingerprinting
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: How Good Is Your Eyewitness Memory?
    12. Memory and the Marketplace
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Scary Memories Sell Products
    Memory and Advertising
    Memory and Politics
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Constructing More Effective Mnemonics
    13. Memory, the Body, and Health
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Clive Wearing
    Health Conditions That Can Lead to Memory Loss
    Substances That Affect Memory
    The Effect of Memory on Health and Healthcare
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: Remember the Causes of the Different Dementias
    14. Exceptional Memory, Mnemonics, and Expertise
    Chapter-Opening Vignette: Alex Mullen
    Memory Athletes
    A Demonstration of the Method of Loci
    Testing Effects
    Chapter Review
    Memory Activity: The Method of Loci