07 Cognitive Psychology: Module 14




Scarince, Collin

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Module 14: Long-Term Memory Perry was preparing for his first meeting with his study and his study group, when he got a text message from “Study Buddy”. It read, “Garry, Jerry, Mary, and Larry will be joining us too. It should be a good group, since Larry said he knows you from another class.” Who the heck is Larry? Perry thought to himself. He swung his backpack over his shoulder and headed to the library. Perry arrived at the designated meeting spot, and other member of the group started to arrive. Last, was a person Perry immediately recognized and could not believe he had forgotten in the first place. “Hi Larry,” said Kerry (that’s Study Buddy). Perry immediately started to remember working with Larry on a class presentation two semesters ago. He remembered the topic of the presentation, the other members of their group, that they regularly met at the campus coffee shop to work, and so on. How is it that Perry forgot the name of someone he worked closely with but then remembered all of these details once Perry recognized Larry’s face? In this chapter, we’ll discuss the factors of long-term memory that contribute to our ability to remember information for years, as well as why we forget information, even when it is very important. If information makes it past short-term memory, it may enter long-term memory, memory storage that can hold information for days, months, and years. The capacity of long-term memory is large, and there is no known limit to what we can remember. Although we may forget at least some information after we learn it, other things will stay with us forever. Long-term memory is the continuous storage of information. Unlike short-term memory, the storage capacity of long-term memory has no (known) capacity limits. It encompasses all the things you can remember that happened more than just a few minutes ago to all of the things that you can remember that happened days, weeks, and years ago. If you think of memory like how computers work, the information in your long-term memory would be like the information you have saved on the hard drive. Information might not be on your mind (your short-term memory), but you can pull up this information when you want it, at least most of the time. Not all long-term memories are strong memories. Some memories can only be recalled through prompts. For example, you might easily recall a fact, “What is the capital of the United States?” or a procedure, “How do you ride a bike?” but you might struggle to recall the name of the restaurant you had dinner when you were on vacation last year. A prompt, such as that the restaurant was named after its owner, who spoke to you about your shared interest in soccer, may help you recall the name of the restaurant.



open educational resources, cognitive psychology, long-term memory



Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International