Chapter 6: Learning, memory and forgetting

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Chapter 6: Learning, memory and forgetting

Theories of memory generally consider both the architecture of the memory system and the processes operating within that structure. Architecture refers to the way in which the memory system is organised, and process refers to the activities occurring within the memory system. Architecture or structure and process are both important, but some theorists emphasise only one in their theoretical formulations.
Learning and memory involve a series of stages. Processes occurring during the presentation of the learning material are known as “encoding”. This is the first stage. As a result of encoding, some information is stored within the memory system. Thus, storage is the second stage. The third, and final, stage is retrieval, which involves recovering or extracting stored information from the memory system. We have emphasised the distinctions between architecture and process and among encoding, storage and retrieval. However, we cannot have architecture without process, or retrieval without previous encoding and storage. It is only when processes operate on the essentially passive structures of the memory system that it becomes active and of use.

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