Attention and long-term memory

Nelson Cowan

in Attention and Memory

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780195119107
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870097 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Psychology Series

 Attention and long-term memory

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This chapter focuses on the importance of attention for long-term memory encoding and retrieval. Some attention is probably needed to perceive items adequately. Beyond that, one can distinguish between memory with less versus more attention devoted at the time of encoding. If little attention is devoted, one retains only implicit memory, showing up in indirect tests of memory and as procedural memory (knowing how to do something as opposed to knowing things about it) or a sense of familiarity with the material. These processes are encoded and retrieved with relative automaticity. With more attention comes the additional availability of explicit memory and recollection (including episodic memory, or memory for events one has experienced). Jacoby proposed a well-known model in which familiarity and recollection are independent but the present chapter challenges that view in favor of an alternative suggestion that the recollected material is a subset of familiar materials.

Keywords: automaticity; episodic memory; explicit memory; implicit memory; memory encoding; Jacoby; memory retrieval; procedural memory

Chapter.  15402 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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