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Long-term memory is information encoded in the brain on the time-scale of years. It consists of explicit (declarative) memories that are consciously reportable and depend heavily on the medial temporal lobe and hippocampus and implicit (procedural) memories that are unconscious and depend on the basal ganglia and cerebellum.

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Research Article

Long-term memory effects on working memory updating development

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Software, Validation, Visualization, Writing – original draft

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliation University of Urbino, Urbino, Italy

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Roles Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Validation, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

  • Caterina Artuso, 
  • Paola Palladino


  • Published: May 31, 2019
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Table 1

Long-term memory (LTM) associations appear as important to cognition as single memory contents. Previous studies on updating development have focused on cognitive processes and components, whereas our investigation examines how contents, associated with different LTM strength (strong or weak), might be differentially updated at different ages. To this end, we manipulated association strength of information given at encoding, in order to focus on updating pre-existing LTM associations; specifically, associations for letters. In particular, we controlled for letters usage frequency at the sub-lexical level. We used a task where we dissociated inhibition online (i.e., RTs for updating and controlling inhibition from the same set) and offline (i.e., RTs for controlling inhibition from previously updated sets). Mixed-effect analyses were conducted and showed a substantial behavioural cost when strong associations had to be dismantled online (i.e., longer RTs), compared to weak ones; here, in primary school age children. Interestingly, this effect was independent of age; in fact, children from 7–8 to 9–10 years were comparably sensitive to the strength of LTM associations in updating. However, older children were more effective in offline inhibitory control.

Citation: Artuso C, Palladino P (2019) Long-term memory effects on working memory updating development. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0217697.

Editor: Burcu Arslan, Educational Testing Service, UNITED STATES

Received: November 26, 2018; Accepted: May 16, 2019; Published: May 31, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Artuso, Palladino. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: This work was supported by Blue Sky Research (BRS) 2017 Established Investigator awarded to PP. The funder played no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Working memory (WM) is a capacity limited system, able to maintain actively sets of representations useful in complex cognitive skills such as reading [ 1 , 2 ] or text comprehension [ 3 , 4 ]. WM performance improves substantially over childhood with linear increases [ 5 , 6 ]. These developmental improvements may be driven by increases in storage capacity [ 7 ], rehearsal strategies [ 8 ], or also updating processes [ 9 ].

In fact, given capacity limits and the continuous flow of information to be processed, it is important to explore a mechanism that potentially allows WM content to be updated constantly via maintenance of relevant information and inhibition of irrelevant information. Updating investigation is usually applied to memory contents [ 10 ]. However, usually, updating tasks are based on binding and unbinding processes between memory contents (e.g., [ 11 ]). Binding updating (but not content updating) is a more sensitive measure in accounting for performance in accuracy-based updating tasks [ 12 ]. In addition, the role of associative contextual bindings in episodic memory retrieval was also supported [ 13 ]. Overall, it appears that the monitoring of associative bindings between contents is a specific challenge for the updating process (see also [ 14 , 15 ]).

In the current paper, we aimed to study how updating of long-term memory (LTM) bindings (or LTM associations) develops in primary school children (in particular from third to fifth grade). First, we briefly review development of updating components and the role of LTM representations in WM tasks through childhood; in particular, lexical-semantic and sub-lexical representations. Next, we will focus on sub-lexical LTM representations and how these are updated specifically, introducing the aims of the current study.

Updating processes, components and development

Development of the WM updating function is a recent research topic that has arisen from adult studies and modelling research. In a recent developmental study, an accuracy-based updating task modelled after the one developed by [ 4 ] was administered to children [ 9 ]; here, they were able to differentiate between inhibition (i.e., ability to suppress same-lists intrusions) and proactive interference (PI) control (i.e., ability to suppress previous-lists intrusions). They showed that memory performance improves with age, together with development of inhibitory process efficiency. However, the most interesting finding here, is that these two components are relatively dissociable. The inhibition of information explained a considerable amount of variance, but of a similar percentage magnitude at ages 7, 11 and 15 years (42%, 49% and 46%, respectively); thus, its developmental contribution is less pronounced. On the other hand, the PI control component explained smaller amounts of variance across all ages, but especially at 7 years (25%), at 11 years (17%) and at 15 years (13%; [ 9 ]); thus its developmental role appeared more pronounced.

This two-component model of updating development is consistent with other models that emphasize additional features of updating and/or investigate alternative mechanisms [ 16 ]; here, the authors decomposed the updating process, individuating at least three components: retrieval (i.e., searching for a specific representation among many competing elements maintained in the region of direct access; see also [ 17 ]); transformation (i.e., modifying a representation maintained in WM); and the most distinctive component, item-removal (i.e., replacement of previously relevant content -now irrelevant- with new relevant information; [ 16 , 18 ]).

Within this theoretical framework, age-related differences through development, from 8 years to adulthood were found [ 19 ]. They found that only the retrieval component has age-related effects, with clear development from 8 years; no differences were observed for transformation or item-removal, despite their crucial role in updating.

LTM associations and WM development

The role of LTM associations in WM performance has been previously explored in order to understand how enduring properties of verbal material affects ongoing performance, mainly through simple WM tasks involving recall (e.g., [ 20 , 21 ]). The impact of informational organization in LTM on WM performance can be observed at different processing levels, e.g., lexical, sub-lexical and semantic.

In general, it has been shown that LTM associations interact with recall, facilitating the process; the more strongly items are associated in LTM, the more WM performance will benefit. That said, few studies have investigated the influence of lexical/semantic LTM representations on verbal WM performance in children, although previous research seems to suggest that effects are similar in children and adults (e.g., [ 22 , 23 , 24 ]).

Semantically-related information enhanced WM performance more than descriptive or unrelated information [ 22 ]. Similar lexico-semantic effects to adults across development were reported [ 23 ]. In an immediate serial recall task with words, they found replication of effects observed in adults, (e.g., lexicality, word frequency and imageability) from 6 to 22 years. These were accounted for by similar redintegration processes that would operate effectively on high frequency words because their phonological representations are more easily accessed by partial information. Accordingly, item frequency effects on recall are observed with the relevant item only, and occur at the time the individual item is retrieved/recalled (see also [ 20 , 21 , 25 ]).

How LTM lexical/semantic knowledge (such as lexicality and language familiarity effects) impacts on WM performance was examined by [ 24 ]. They compared children aged 5 and 9 years in tasks of immediate serial recall, finding evidence of the semantic-similarity effect in 5 year-olds. In fact, the specific organization of semantic LTM was found to enhance recall performance.

Overall, these studies have focused on WM recall tasks (i.e., entailing temporary maintenance of information in WM; [ 2 ]) and suggest that the more associated the information is, the better memory performance will be. In addition, studies suggest that developmental changes of the LTM system happens between the age of 5 and 11 years [ 24 ]; thus, interactions between LMT and WM recall are linked to developmental changes in WM capacity and efficiency [ 6 ]. In contrast, here, we focused on the interaction between LTM and updating; here, a complex WM function comprising not only temporary maintenance of information, but also inhibition and item-removal [ 9 , 16 , 18 ].

How LTM associations are updated

To the best of our knowledge, few studies have investigated the updating of LTM associations between verbal materials [ 14 , 26 ]. Indeed, updating can be distinguished from recall, as it allows memory focus to remain attuned to the most relevant information in any specific moment.

In an initial study, the strength of association between LTM stimuli was manipulated [ 26 ]; and how strength might modulate the updating process itself. Following the literature on the beneficial effects of highly-associated LTM information (e.g., [ 20 , 25 ]), Artuso and Palladino [ 26 ] investigated whether strong or weak associations were updated differently. Strength was represented by the frequency of sub-lexical associations between consonants. Association strength was manipulated at encoding, in order to observe how strong and weak associations were updated subsequently. Overall, it was shown that the stronger the LTM association, the longer latencies (i.e., to substitute information and to control for irrelevant information) were required. Therefore, a processing cost was found for updating; this is in direct opposition to recall, which is boosted by association strength [ 14 ].

In a further study, the association strength was manipulated at both encoding and updating, and added two conditions (i.e., strong associations that were updated to strong, and weak associations updated to strong), in order to gain a more complete view of accumulation and disruption of specific associations [ 14 ]. Here, the data supported the view that as pre-existing associations became stronger, they became harder to dismantle (i.e., longer RTs). In addition, when a strong association had to be recreated, this was usually enhanced (i.e., with shorter RTs from weak to strong association). The result was observed for both processing speed (inhibition process) and interference control (i.e., of a previously activated strong association). In particular, it was shown that inhibitory control requested was greater for items strongly associated, indicating, in turn, the long lasting of the pre-existing LTM association. Those experiments demonstrated clearly that associations from LTM modulate the updating process. In fact, these results suggested that, on the one hand, strong associations are dismantled and updated with greater difficulty (i.e., they require longer RTs), and on the other, that strong associations are activated more easily (i.e., requiring shorter RTs). This evidence supported the idea that the nature of updating rests in the interplay between dismantling and reconstructing bindings via different memory systems such as WM [ 11 , 24 ] and episodic LTM [ 13 ].

In the numerical domain, it was found that numerical similarity produces facilitation during updating of information. When the numbers involved in updating were near as far as concern numerical distance, or similar through sharing a digit, substitution occurred more quickly [ 27 , 28 ]. There, it was proposed that updating is a function of the overlapping features [ 29 ] between numbers to update and those stored in LTM; the greater the amount of overlap, the quicker the update will be, as both numbers share many (already activated) features. In summary, if, as well as inhibition [ 9 ], item-removal in LTM association is a distinctive updating component [ 16 ], it is important to investigate how the strength of this inter- item association retained in LTM affects WM processing (e.g., updating, [ 14 ]).

The current study

As previously described, studies on updating development have focused on processes and components [ 9 , 19 ], whereas our aim is to examine the associative effects of updating through development. In particular, given that LTM inter-item associations seem as important as single contents [ 14 ], we aimed to investigate whether associated information modulates updating performance in development.

Hence, we manipulated LTM associations for letters as they represent initial elements of learning and therefore, should be highly familiar to children, in addition to their established use in many studies on their role across cognition. In particular, we controlled for their frequency of use at the sub-lexical level. Broad evidence has shown recall accuracy is greater for words containing high frequency phoneme combinations in English (“phonotactic effect”, see [ 25 ]). Performance would likely benefit from use of stored phonotactic representations for familiar words to fill in incomplete traces prior to output. In contrast, for unfamiliar words, no stored representations are available to reconstruct partial traces, and this will lead to diminished accuracy at recall. In addition, recall is better for high phonotactic frequency of the language in WM. As fully described in [ 25 ] the “phonotactic effect” elicits better recall for ‘consonant-vowel-consonant’ non-words containing ‘consonant-vowel’ and ‘vowel-consonant’ combinations, common in the language’s native phonology, than for non-words containing low probability ‘consonant-vowel’ combinations. Such effect would reflect the influence of phonotactic knowledge about properties of that language [ 25 ].

With this aim, we administered an updating task previously used with both children [ 30 ] and adults [ 12 , 31 ], focused on active item-removal of information shown to be the most distinctive component of updating [ 14 , 16 ]; but see also [ 19 ]. In particular, this task allows collection of both online response times (RTs) during updating (i.e., dismantling of an item-set) and offline accuracy/RTs after updating of a memory set, in order to ensure updating effectiveness and inhibition of irrelevant information [ 31 ].

Therefore, we believe this task could include at least two different types of inhibition, that is online (i.e., inhibition within the same set) as well as offline (i.e., inhibition of the previously updated set of information). Thus, the specific object of our investigation is how information, associated with different strength in LTM, i.e., strongly or weakly, might be differently updated at various ages. To this end, we manipulated association strength of the information at encoding (but not updating), in order to focus on the specific function of dismantling pre-existing LTM associations rather than reconstruction of new associations. We hypothesize that, in line with adult studies (e.g., [ 23 ]), we should observe similar effects with children, as soon as LTM representations are strengthened and consolidated (i.e., with a behavioural cost for updating strongly associated information). In particular, we should observe an increase in online updating RTs when inhibiting and dismantling a strong pre-existing association (once encoded), and a decrease when dismantling a weak pre-existing association (once encoded). Accordingly, offline, we predict greater difficulty in inhibiting items from strong LTM associations, relative to weak ones).


The initial sample was of 90 children. At the end of the testing phase, we were informed from teachers that one child had received a diagnosis of learning disorder. We therefore decided to not include his data in the final sample. Thus, a sample of 89 children took part in the study. They did not present any specific learning, neurological or psychiatric disorder. Children were divided into two groups: 44 younger children (aged 7–8 years) and 45 older children (aged 9–10 years). These specific ages were chosen as they represent the most crucial steps for children to become more and more skilled in reading and writing, and access to meaning of written texts is more automatized. In addition, and in line with previous studies suggesting the relevance of the specific age range 5–11 years (e.g., [ 6 , 24 ]), we chose two central and crucial steps that are coherent with previous research and allow comparison. All children were Italian native speaker. See breakdown of participants’ characteristics in Table 1 .


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Descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviations for accuracy rate and score range) for the Italian vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning test. SDs are in brackets.

Children came from a public school located in Northern Italy, within an urban environment and mixed socio-economic background. All children had normal or corrected-to-normal vision. The study was conducted in accordance with the Ethical Standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and the standard ethical procedures recommended by the Italian Psychological Association (AIP). The study was reviewed and approved by the IRB (ethical committee) of the University of Pavia/IUSS before the study began. Written informed parental consent (as well as oral informed child assent) was obtained prior to participating, according to the ethical norms in our university.

Children were administered two tasks to assess general cognitive abilities (see following method sections for full description). Descriptive statistics for the two general cognitive abilities administered to the two age groups are displayed in Table 1 . Analyses on the accuracy scores (independent sample t-tests) showed age-related differences in the vocabulary test, t( 87) = 2.09, p = .04, with older children better scoring than younger children, but no differences in the visuospatial reasoning test, t( 88) = 1.02, p = .31.

Materials and procedures

In order to verify that children’s general cognitive performance adhered to the average for their age, they were presented with two measures: a standardized Italian vocabulary test and a nonverbal reasoning test. In particular, the vocabulary can be taken as an index of crystallized intelligence, whereas the nonverbal reasoning test is held to measure fluid intelligence.

In addition, a computerized letter updating task was administered. The vocabulary test and the nonverbal reasoning test were administered in a classroom-based group session. The updating task was administered individually at school, in a quiet room. The group session lasted on average 15 minutes, and the updating task lasted about 20–25 minutes. The two sessions were non-consecutive, in order to avoid possible fatigue effects.

Italian vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning

The vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning subtests, taken from the Primary Mental Aptitude Battery [ 32 ] were presented to the whole class group during a school day; both have a four alternative multiple-choice structure. The vocabulary subtest has 30 items and the nonverbal reasoning subtest, 25 items. Participants had time constraints for both subtests; specifically, 5 minutes for the vocabulary and 6 minutes for the nonverbal reasoning.

Letter updating task

The task we used in the current paper was described in detail previously, in [ 14 ]. As in [ 14 ] the stimuli were sub-lexical units between two consonants of the Latin alphabet. The association was based on LTM consonant representation; that is, on the basis of their combined frequency in the spoken Italian language. We evaluated this from the lexicon of frequency of Italian spoken language [ 33 ], a corpus of about 490,000 lemmas collected in four main Italian cities, emerging from different subgroups of discourse. High and low frequency lemmas were selected. Low frequency ranged from 0 to 2 (i.e., lemmas with less than 3 occurrences in the corpus). High frequency lemmas had at least 3 occurrences in the corpus.

Next, we inferred strong and weak sub-lexical associations between consonants, based on the lemmas’ frequency. That said, we should note there is no specific frequency information for consonant couples, only for lemmas of the corpus. So, for example, from the lemma “ ardere” which is low frequency, we inferred the low frequency sub-lexical association “ rd ”. In addition, low frequency associations, typically, were in the middle of the lemma, whereas high frequency lemmas were at the beginning of the lemma. In addition, we checked the corpus to find occurrences of low frequency sub-lexical associations in different lemmas, in order to preclude their presence in high frequency lemmas. We included in the low frequency sub-lexical associations those one occurring in low frequency lemmas only.

We employed the following set of consonants: B C D F G H L N P R S T. Strong associations were: T-R, S-P, P-R, N-T, B-R, C-H, G-R, F-R. Weak ones were: F-L, S-N, G-H, P-S, G-L, R-D, N-D, L-T. Strong and weak associations between consonants were controlled in order to avoid obviously familiar or meaningful couplets. Each association was legal, and thus possible at the sub-lexical level of the Italian language [ 14 ].

As described in [ 14 ] and in order to avoid ceiling (i.e., with two items) or floor effects (i.e., with four items), we used memory sets composed of three letters (i.e., triplets), which have been established as being within average memory span [ 34 ]. Some letters were overrepresented relative to others, but we controlled for this bias by randomizing these across association strengths. Further, the position of the sub-lexical unit within the triplet (i.e., in positions 1/2 or 2/3 ) was randomized between trials. We did not control for potential position effects, as it was shown in a previous experiment that position did not interact with either updating or strength (see [ 14 ], Experiment 2)

The third letter of each triplet was another consonant, which was always unrelated to the other two. Specifically, the link between the sub-lexical unit and the third letter was always linguistically impossible in Italian (e.g., see example from Fig 1 where C-H is a strong association, and the link between H and B (H-B) is impossible in Italian). This was done in order to avoid any LTM (strong or weak) or some other meaningful way association between these letters.


After encoding the first triplet ( CHB ), participants had to maintain it actively in memory (pre-updating maintenance process: + + +). Next, they were instructed to update part of the association, that is, to remove the item C and substitute the G . Thus, the triplet they were now maintaining was GHB . Lastly, they had to maintain the recently updated triplet (post-updating maintenance process). At recognition, a single red probe was displayed: here, participants had to recognize if the probed item belonged to the most recent studied/updated item or not. In the example, a target probe was presented ( B ), to which they had to give a positive answer.

Design and analyses

A three factor mixed design was implemented: Strength and Phase were within-participants factors, and Age group between-participants. The variable Strength had two levels: strong-to-weak and weak-to-weak. ‘Strong-to-weak’ represented associations between letters where the association was strong at encoding, but modified with a weak one upon updating (e.g., from C-H to G-H). Weak-to-weak represented associations between letters occurred where the association was weak at encoding and updated with another weak association (e.g., from P-S to P-R). For each trial, we considered two main phases of encoding (i.e., studying/encoding the initial triplet), and updating (i.e., partial into the triplet). Although the trial was constituted of four phases, only encoding and updating phases (i.e., phases that produce effects on RTs, see [ 31 ]) were entered into the analysis.

In addition, to make the task less predictable and ensure participants were engaged, we included several control trials (approximately 20% of the total number). Here, no updating occurred, and maintenance alone was required throughout the trials. These data were not included in further analyses, but were checked to ensure that all updating trials had longer RTs than controls ( p < .05 for each comparison; control vs. strong-to-weak, and weak-to-weak; [ 14 ]).

Procedure was described in detail previously [ 14 , 26 ]. The task was administered on a standard PC and consisted of four phase subject-paced trials, where participants pressed the spacebar to start each trial, and after each phase, in order to proceed with the task.

In each phase, triplets were always displayed in the centre of the screen. Each trial started with an encoding phase (Phase 1; see an example with letters in Fig 1 , where a strong-to-weak association is represented), where participants had to memorize the first triplet of consonants (e.g., C-H-B). A pre-updating maintenance phase followed (Phase 2), where three pluses were displayed; this indicated that the previously encoded triplet had to be actively maintained. Then, at updating (Phase 3), participants had to substitute the no-longer-relevant information (here, C) with newly relevant information (here, G). Concurrently, they needed to maintain previously relevant detail (here, H-B), thus, updating the triplet (i.e., from C-H-B to G-H-B). Finally, a post-updating maintenance (Phase 4) ended the sequence, to control for recency biases. See also Fig 1 .

Only one letter of the triplet had to be updated; this letter could be presented in any position of the triplet (i.e., left letter, right letter, or center). Position was balanced across trials, and only new consonants were presented across each phase. When a consonant did not change, a plus symbol was presented, in order to encourage active maintenance of previously encoded/memorized information.

At the end of each trial (Phase 5), participants were presented with a probe recognition task: a single red consonant was displayed in the centre of the screen. Here, they had to indicate whether this belonged to the most-recently studied triplet or not. They responded by pressing one of two keys on the keyboard; one (M for Yes ) for target probes requiring a positive answer (i.e., belonging to the final triplet of the trial); another one (Z for No ) for probes requiring a negative answer (i.e., not previously presented in the trial. For these, we included both lures i.e., (probes encoded in the trial, then substituted at updating step) and negative probes (i.e., probes not presented in that trial), mixed within the trial. Half the probes were targets (50%); the other half was equally shared between lures (25%) and negative probes (25%).

Afterwards, each participant was presented with a practice block of eight trials to familiarize themselves with the task. One hundred and twenty trials were then presented shared equally in four blocks. We recorded subject-paced RT at each of the four phases, in addition to probe recognition accuracy at Phase 5.

Results and discussion

Updating task: accuracy and data treatment.

Participants performed accurately on an average of 92.80% of trials. As expected, participants were very good in completing the task and very few errors were produced. Accuracy was analysed to verify adequate performance, but the main focus of the analysis was on RT. We ran a mixed 2 x 3 ANOVA, with Strength (weak-to-weak, strong-to-weak) as within-participants factor and Age Group (younger children, older children) as between-participants factor on mean accuracy rates of target, lures and negative responses. A main effect of Age Group reached significance, F (1, 87) = 8.38, p = .005. Accuracy rate was significantly lower in younger children (116/120 correct trials) than in older children (118/120 correct trials). Only subject-paced RTs for trials that ended with correct probe recognition were analysed. Trials with RTs of less than 150 ms, or exceeding a participant’s mean RT for each condition by more than three intra-individual standard deviations, were considered outliers, and therefore excluded from further analyses (3.92%).

In addition, updating measures (in particular, indexes of RT at the updating step), were highly inter-correlated, suggesting good reliability of the task. In particular, RTs for weak-to-weak associations were strongly correlated, r (89) = .84, p < .001, to RTs for strong-to-weak.

Overview of the statistical analyses

We used a mixed-effects model approach to test our hypotheses; the most important advantage of such models is that they allow simultaneous consideration of all factors that may contribute to understanding the structure of the data [ 35 ]. Raw RTS were logarithmically transformed to normalize them. These factors comprise not only the standard fixed-effects factors controlled by the experimenter (in our case, age group and strength) but also random-effects factors; that is, factors whose levels are drawn at random from a population (in our case, children). To test the effect of age group (younger children, older children) and strength (strong-to-weak, weak-to-weak) on the variables of online RT, and offline RT three mixed-models were used: one for online RT (with encoding and updating phases as additional factors), another one for RT of correctly detected target probes, and a third for RT of correctly rejected lures. See specific details in the subsections below.

All analyses were performed using the R software [ 36 ]; for generalized mixed-effect models, the R package lme4 was used [ 37 ]; and the lmer test package was used to obtain Type III ANOVA Tables. Results for each dependent variable are presented below. For planned comparisons, Tukey correction was used to control the Type I error rate.

Online RT analyses

A linear mixed-effects model was constructed with 3-way interactions between Age Group (younger children, older children), Strength (strong-to-weak, weak-to-weak), and Phase (encode, update). The model revealed a significant effect of Age Group, F (1, 87) = 8.11, p = .006. Overall, older children ( M = 2709.26 ms, SD = 67 ms) were faster than younger children ( M = 2960.22 ms, SD = 66 ms). Moreover, Strength affected the online processing, F (1, 261) = 5.71, p = .01; strong-to-weak associations ( M = 2898.36 ms, SD = 65 ms) were hardly updated than weak-to-weak ones ( M = 2768.30 ms, SD = 68 ms).

In addition, the Phase by Strength interaction reached significance, F (1, 261) = 7.18, p = .008. Post-hoc comparisons showed no differences at encode across associations, t( 261) = -0.21, p = .83; in contrast, at updating, strong-to-weak associations showed longer RTs compared to weak-to-weak associations, t( 261) = 3.59, p = .004, as shown in Fig 2 . No other interaction reached significance.


Plot dots represent mean predicted RTs (ms) and bars represent 95% CIs.

Offline RT analyses: Target probes

A linear mixed-effects model was constructed with 2-way interactions between Age Group (younger children, older children) and Strength (strong-to-weak, weak-to-weak). The model revealed a significant effect of Strength, F (1, 87.353) = 11.13, p = .001. Indeed, we found significantly longer RTs for correct recognition of a target probe from strong-to-weak associations ( M = 2058.33 ms, SD = 58 ms), compared to weak-to-weak associations ( M = 1867.85 ms, SD = 43 ms). No other effect reached significance.

Offline RT analyses: Lures

First, we conducted a control analysis with Strength (weak-to-weak, strong-to-weak), and Probe (lure, negative) as within-participant factors and Age Group (younger children, older children) as between-participant factor, for lures vs. negative probe RTs. Importantly here, we found a main effect of Probe, F (1, 87) = 8.61, p = .004, showing longer RTs to recognize and respond to lures ( M = 2395.68 ms, SD = 52 ms) than to negative probes ( M = 2208.06 ms, SD = 44 ms).

In addition, to test our hypotheses more specifically, a linear mixed-effects model was constructed with 2-way interactions between Age Group (younger children, older children) and Strength (strong-to-weak, weak-to-weak) and was run on lures only, as these represent a measure of the ability to inhibit irrelevant information once completed the updating task. The model revealed a significant effect of Age Group, F (1, 85.250) = 16.92, p < .001. In addition, we found a main effect of Strength, F (1, 87.394) = 45.75, p < .001.

The two-way Strength by Age Group interaction reached significance, F (1, 87.394) = 25.57, p < .001. Subsequently, post-hoc comparisons showed that rejection of a lure from a strong-to-weak association needed longer RTs (compared to weak-to-weak association), but only for older children, t (87.39) = 8.41, p < .001. Rejection of a lure from a strong-to-weak association did not differ from a weak-to-weak condition in younger children, t (87.39) = 1.20, p = .23, as shown in Fig 3 .


Plot dots represent mean predicted RTs (ms) at lure rejection and bars represent 95% CIs.

We believe our task is mainly based on phonological/orthographic knowledge and less on lexico-semantic knowledge (see also [ 30 ]). In fact, in order to engage with the task rapidly and effectively, the child should have developed an automatic access to orthographic/letter form representation. Therefore, we do not predict any specific vocabulary-related effect. However, in order to control for the role of vocabulary in the process examined, we ran the same mixed-effect models, covarying for vocabulary. Overall, the results did not change, showing the same effects and significance levels for both target probes (main effect of Strength, p = .002) and lures (Age group, Strength, and two-ways interaction, all ps < .001).


In this study, our aim was to investigate how LTM associations affect updating development. Updating is a complex activity that involves inhibition at different levels such as from the same lists set, or from previous lists [ 9 ], with the distinguishing component of the item-removal process [ 16 , 18 ]. More specifically here, we analysed how the strength of LTM association between items affects updating from a developmental perspective.

Typically, the literature on adults shows enhanced recall for strongly associated items; the stronger the pre-existing association in LTM, the better the performance in WM. For updating, a somewhat different process is indicated (i.e. not only maintenance of information in the short term, but also removal of irrelevant information). In this case, the opposite was shown: the stronger the pre-existing association, the harder it is to dismantle it [ 26 ].

In addition, the first notable difference between updating and recall (i.e., slowing of RTs in the former) could be related to the number of cognitive operations required in the task. Indeed, recall involves maintenance of information only; whereas updating entails a further item-removal component. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that an additional operation (i.e., item-removal) will add a cost in terms of longer processing latencies. However, results comparing updating performance compared to recall have demonstrated the reverse effect; that is a cost rather than a benefit. This difference is likely to be due to the nature of updating, an essential process in adaptation of WM content to new elements. In other words, updating involves integration of new elements, as well as new bindings between elements (after disrupting previous ones), thus inhibiting and removing/substituting irrelevant information [ 11 , 16 ].

A recent model of updating [ 9 ] showed that updating develops via two main components of inhibition, one more related to control of inhibition from same lists; another one of inhibition from previous lists. The former, shows fewer developmental differences, the latter (also called PI control in [ 9 ]) shows greater age-related differences. In our view, the task used here with children is suitable for consideration of both components in terms of processing speed (an index useful in studying development via more subtle and fine-grained measurement). In fact, in the current task, each participant needs to maintain information and inhibit it, when no longer relevant, by substituting with new information during the tasks (same list inhibition component). Further, to ensure effective updating, s/he has to control for interference from previously studied items which are no longer relevant (i.e., inhibition from previously studied items set).

In particular, in accordance with [ 9 ] model, we found different outcomes consistent with the measures considered. Accordingly, the online RT showed a global age-related effect (older children faster than younger children), but not specific for strength with which letter were associated (in fact, no interaction). This finding could be accounted for, if we consider the development of self-monitoring (i.e., the ability to control one own’s behaviour) in children. That is, monitoring skills develop between 7 to 10 years, and subtle but important improvements are found over the primary school years [ 38 ]. Our self-paced task, where the child had to press the spacebar when s/he thinks to have memorized/updated a given mental set, requires a self-judgment of performance from the child him/herself. In particular, it has been shown that children (from 8 years of age) are more accurate in judgment of learning when given after a delay of about 2 minutes, than immediately after study [ 39 ]. Thus our task (which requires self-monitoring of learning during the study/updating phases, and immediately after, in order to press the spacebar) might not enhance an appropriate child self-regulation. For this reason, we believe we did not find age-related effects relative to strength for self-paced RTs and thus, failed to replicate the effects found with adults [ 14 , 26 ].

Conversely, for offline inhibitory control (i.e., lure recognition), we found more pronounced developmental effects, with significant differences; older children took more time to reject strong lures than weak, whereas no difference was observed for younger children ( Fig 3 ). Therefore, we found that online inhibition component was less affected by developmental change: younger children are able to perform updating tasks successfully. The real challenge in updating (i.e., due to control for previously relevant information) elicits significantly better performance from 10 years onwards. Here, in fact there is no need for self-regulation (i.e., as in the probe recognition task) as the task is not self-paced. The modulation of association strength development in older children (but not in younger) could be well accounted by the development of both lexico-orthographic knowledge and executive mechanisms that can work simultaneously [ 5 , 6 ].

This finding supports claims that the ability to inhibit irrelevant information is a fundamental mechanism that underlines many other developmental changes [ 40 , 41 , 42 ]. In particular, decreased susceptibility to interference is observable as age increases; 7/8 years olds children were shown to be more susceptible to interference than 9/10 years old [ 40 ], as we found in our study. However, we believe the novelty of the current study lies in the specificity of the experimental manipulation. Notably, these results indicated that, from 10 years onward, children found highly familiar stimuli (such as letters) more intrusive and difficult to control when strongly associated. Therefore, although we find that older children are less susceptible to interference, it seems that they are more sensitive to strong and weakly associated stimuli, similarly to performance in adults [ 14 , 26 ].

Future studies should further investigate any additional benefits/costs in updating strong and weak LTM associations, by also manipulating the strength of the item-association at updating [ 14 ]. Through this further manipulation, a more fine-grained examination of the dismantling and recreation of associations during updating would be enabled, including analysis of the relative ease/difficulty of the process. In addition, it could be useful to administer the task to children with specific learning disorders in order to show possible modulation of WM performance by LTM knowledge. Specifically, the task could then be useful to implement ad hoc measures to train children to remediate identified weaknesses, both in educational and clinical settings. We might also speculate that, as we found that strong LTM associations are more difficult to modify, this could in turn indicate the importance of correct support for the child, so that s/he will not act to strengthen incorrect sub-lexical/phonotactic associations. Indeed, it is likely that the more those incorrect associations are reinforced, the harder will be to modify/update them.

In conclusion, the present study demonstrated how WM updating is affected by LTM strength of association in a developmental sample. A significant cost of dismantling and updating strong associations was shown, and this effect was independent from age; all children from 7 to 10 years were comparably sensitive to association strength. In addition, results allowed us to differentiate age-related effects for interference control in updating of strong LTM associations; older children (but not younger) were more susceptible to interference from strongly-associated information.

Supporting information

S1 data. dataset online rts..

S2 Data. Dataset recognition probe RTs.


We wish to thank all children and schools participating in the study. We also thank Beatrice Colombani for her help with data collection.

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New Research on Memory From Psychological Science

  • Episodic Memory
  • False Memory
  • Long-Term Memory
  • Psychological Science
  • Short-Term Memory
  • Visual Memory

Read about the latest research on memory published in  Psychological Science,  a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Modifying Memory: Selectively Enhancing and Updating Personal Memories for a Museum Tour by Reactivating Them

Peggy L. St. Jacques and Daniel L. Schacter

Although researchers know that memories can be modified when they are retrieved, less is known about how the properties of reactivation affect memory. Researchers sent participants on a self-guided tour of a museum with a camera that automatically took pictures of their visit. Researchers used the pictures from the visit to reactivate participants’ memories of the tour either in the order they were experienced (reactivation-match) or out of order (reactivation-mismatch). Participants in the reactivation-match condition had better memory for the experienced images and greater false recognition of images that were not experienced, which suggests that manipulating the properties of reactivation can selectively influence memories by enhancing and distorting the memory via updating.

Visual Long-Term Memory Stores High-Fidelity Representations of Observed Actions

Zhisen Jiang Urgolites and Justin N. Wood     

Although we know humans store representations of actions in their long-term memory, the precision of these representations is not well understood. Participants completed a study phase in which they viewed images from different movement categories (jump, turn, kick). Researchers then showed participants two images from the same movement category (jump, jump) or different movement categories (jump, turn) and asked them to indicate which of the images they had seen in the study phase. Participants’ memory for the actions was similarly accurate regardless of whether the images were from the same or different movement categories, which indicates that visual long-term memory can store accurate detailed representations of observed actions.  

Attention Restores Discrete Items to Visual Short-Term Memory

Alexandra M. Murray, Anna C. Nobre, Ian A. Clark, André M. Cravo, and Mark G. Stokes

Can attention help restore forgotten items to visual short-term memory? Participants were shown randomly oriented arrows placed around a fixation cross. Researchers tested each participant’s memory for the location of one of the arrows. On half the trials, participants saw a cue indicating which arrow would be tested. The cue was placed at the location of the item (valid retro-cue) or around the central cross (neutral retro-cue). Memory accuracy was significantly higher on trials with the valid retro-cue. The authors suggest that selective attention during the maintenance of a memory can turn it from one that is relatively weak into one that is more robust, which allows for access to information that would otherwise be forgotten.

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Dr.s St. Jacques & Schacter

At age 92, I would guess my memory is failing a bit, but I imagine it’s to be expected. However, I have discovered that I have total recall of the music and lyrics of 102 songs and an additional 62 for which I can remember substantial portions.

Having spent more than sixty years in the theatre, I have memorized quite a bit of material, all of which was lost shortly after the production. I have never thought of my memory as exceptional except for this recall of songs. While I have memorized several of my favorite poems by other poets, as a poet with a published book I have no recall of any of my own work except for one or two mini ones, and If anything, my autobiographical memory is subpar.

My academic history is sad indeed. I had to go an extra year in high school to graduate, having failed sophomore English not once, but twice. I simply would not, or could not, read Shakespeare. My IQ on immediately entering the army in 1943 was 109. After the war, I found that I could go to college at the government’s expense, but the Dean, seeing my high school transcripts, remarked, “You’ve got to be kidding.” I said, “No, you have to take me,” and his response was, “Yes, but we don’t have to keep you.” And they didn’t. At the end of another fateful sophomore year I became a college drop-out. BUT, following that, eight of the many years of a long career was spent teaching at Bethany College sans any degree, a career that culminated with the awarding of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the very same institution from which I dropped out some sixty years earlier. What any of this might have to do with my retention of both music and lyrics, I can’t imagine, but I most certainly would like to gain some insight.

Please let me know if you have any interest in this amazing recall.

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Hal; You learned what meant something to you. You accessed that information that meant something to you in long term memory. When you could use that information, you taught it to others because you were motivated to and had the self-efficacy to do it. Chances are, you have a whole heck of lot of more information in there that you haven’t accessed because you might not have good feelings about it, from the sound of your recounted story. Remember, we branch to emotions, thoughts, and schemas within the brain when information goes to long term memory, and that may mean we have told ourselves that we can’t do it or don’t want to do it, whatever the task or extrinsic goal is. Remember, intrinsic goals and motivation beat extrinsic motivation every day of the week. This is what all the literature I have read says. I teach psychology and am an ABD PhD Candidate. Dissertation is in process of being reviewed by the university for approval. Barb Kaidy

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines .

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research paper on memory

Deconstructing Entrepreneurial Discovery

An adaption of a 2022 preprint article published in Technovation , this article explores how alertness might be related to entrepreneurial discovery and whether positivity or negativity are more associated with alertness.

research paper on memory

Mix It Up: Testing Students on Unrelated Concepts Can Help Jump-Start Learning 

Unlike traditional “blocked” testing, which requires students to retrieve information about a single topic, interleaved testing presents a mix of topics from various lessons in order to encourage deeper conceptual learning.

research paper on memory

Toddler TV Time Not to Blame for Attention Problems

Evidence suggests that exposure to television in toddlerhood may not cause attention-deficit problems after all.

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Stanford researchers observe memory formation in real time

Image of a neuron taken with a 2-photon microscope

By Alan Toth

Why is it that someone who hasn’t ridden a bicycle in decades can likely jump on and ride away without a wobble, but could probably not recall more than a name or two from their 3rd grade class?

This may be because physical skills — dubbed motor memories by neuroscientists — are encoded differently in our brains than our memories for names or facts.

Now, a new study by scientists with the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is revealing exactly how motor memories are formed and why they are so persistent. It may even help illuminate the root causes of movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

“We think motor memory is unique,” said Jun Ding , an associate professor of neurosurgery and of neurology. “Some studies on Alzheimer’s disease included participants who were previously musicians and couldn’t remember their own families, but they could still play beautiful music. Clearly, there’s a huge difference in the way that motor memories are formed.”

Memories are thought to be encoded in the brain in the pattern of activity in networks of hundreds or thousands of neurons, sometimes distributed across distant brain regions. The concept of such a memory trace — sometimes called a memory engram — has been around for more than a century, but identifying exactly what an engram is and how it is encoded has proven extremely challenging. Previous studies have shown that some forms of learning activate specific neurons, which reactivate when the learned memory is recalled. However, whether memory engram neurons exist for motor skill learning remains unknown.

Ding and postdoctoral scholars Richard Roth and Fuu-Jiun Hwang wanted to know how these engram-like groups of cells get involved in learning and remembering a new motor skill.

“When you’re first learning to shoot a basketball, you use a very diverse set of neurons each time you throw, but as you get better, you use a more refined set that’s the same every time,” said Roth. “These refined neuron pathways were thought to be the basis of a memory engram, but we wanted to know exactly how these pathways emerge.”

In their new study, published July 8, 2022 in Neuron , the researchers trained mice to use their paws to reach food pellets through a small slot. Using genetic wizardry developed by the lab of Liqun Luo , a Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute colleague in the Department of Biology, the researchers were able to identify specific neurons in the brain’s motor cortex — an area responsible for controlling movements — that were activated during the learning process. The researchers tagged these potential engram cells with a fluorescent marker so they could see if they also played a role in recalling the memory later on.

When the researchers tested the animals’ memory of this new skill weeks later, they found that those mice that still remembered the skill showed increased activity in the same neurons that were first identified during the learning period, showing that these neurons were responsible for encoding the skill: the researchers had observed the formation of memory engrams.

But how do these particular groups of neurons take on responsibility for learning a new task in the first place? And how do they actually improve the animal’s performance?

To answer these questions, the researchers zoomed in closer. Using two-photon microscopy to observe these living circuits in action, they observed the so-called “engram neurons” reprogram themselves as the mice learned. Motor cortex engram cells took on new synaptic inputs — potentially reflecting information about the reaching movement — and themselves formed powerful new output connections in a distant brain region called the dorsolateral striatum — a key waystation through which the engram neurons can exert refined control over the animal’s movements. It was the first time anyone had observed the creation of new synaptic pathways on the same neuron population — both at the input and the output levels — in these two brain regions.

Graphical abstract summarizing the current study

The ability to trace new memories forming in the mouse brain allowed the research team to weigh in on a long-standing debate about how skills are stored in the brain: are they controlled from one central memory trace, or engram, or is the memory redundantly stored across many different brain areas? Though this study cannot discount the idea of centralized memory, it does lend credibility to the opposing theory. Another fascinating question is whether the activation of these engram neurons is required for the performance of already learned motor tasks. The researchers speculated that by suppressing the activity of neurons that had been identified as part of the motor cortex memory engram, the mice probably still would be able to perform the task.

“Think of memory like a highway. If 101 and 280 are both closed, you could still get to Stanford from San Francisco, it would just take a lot longer,” said Ding.   

These findings suggest that, in addition to being dispersed, motor memories are highly redundant. The researchers say that as we repeat learned skills, we are continually reinforcing the motor engrams by building new connections — refining the skill. It’s what is meant by the term muscle memory — a refined, highly redundant network of motor engrams used so frequently that the associated skill seems automatic.

Jun Ding, associate professor of neurology and of neurosurgery and Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute affiliate

Ding believes that this constant repetition is one reason for the persistence of motor memory, but it’s not the only reason. Memory persistence may also be affected by a skill being associated with a reward, perhaps through the neurotransmitter dopamine. Though the research team did not directly address it in this study, Ding’s previous work in Parkinson’s disease suggests the connection.

“Current thinking is that Parkinson’s disease is the result of these motor engrams being blocked, but what if they’re actually being lost and people are forgetting these skills?” said Ding. “Remember that even walking is a motor skill that we all learned once, and it can potentially be forgotten.”

It’s a question that the researchers hope to answer in a follow-up study, because it may be the key to developing effective treatments for motor disorders. If Parkinson’s disease is the result of blocked motor memories, then patients should be able to improve their movement abilities by practicing and reinforcing these motor skills. On the other hand, if Parkinson’s destroys motor engrams and inhibits the creation of new ones — by targeting motor engram neurons and their synaptic connection observed in the team’s new study — then a completely different approach must be taken to deliver effective treatments.

“Our next goal is to understand what’s happening in movement disorders like Parkinson’s,” Ding said. “Obviously, we’re still a long way from a cure, but understanding how motor skills form is critical if we want to understand why they’re disrupted by disease.”

The research was published July 8 in Neuron:

Study authors were Fuu-Jiun Hwang, Richard H. Roth, Yu-Wei Wu, Yue Sun, Destany K. Kwon, Yu Liu, and Jun B. Ding.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS); the Klingenstein Foundation's Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative; and GG gift fund, the Stanford School of Medicine Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship; and Parkinson’s Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

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  • v.20(2); 2013 Mar

The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance: A Review

Mariam adawiah dzulkifli.

Department of Psychology, International Islamic University Malaysia, Jalan Gombak, 53100 Selangor, Malaysia

Muhammad Faiz Mustafar

Human cognition involves many mental processes that are highly interrelated, such as perception, attention, memory, and thinking. An important and core cognitive process is memory, which is commonly associated with the storing and remembering of environmental information. An interesting issue in memory research is on ways to enhance memory performance, and thus, remembering of information. Can colour result in improved memory abilities? The present paper highlights the relationship between colours, attention, and memory performance. The significance of colour in different settings is presented first, followed by a description on the nature of human memory. The role of attention and emotional arousal on memory performance is discussed next. The review of several studies on colours and memory are meant to explain some empirical works done in the area and related issues that arise from such studies.


Memory refers to the mental process of encoding, retaining, and retrieving environmental information ( 1 ). How the human cognitive system deals with the memorization process remains the centre of research among cognitive psychologists. One of the most interesting and challenging questions in contemporary memory research is on ways to enhance human memory performance. Many variables have been proposed to contribute to the retrieval operations and one of the variables is colour, which will be discussed thoroughly in the present paper.

Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings ( 2 ). It functions as a powerful information channel to the human cognitive system and has been found to play a significant role in enhancing memory performance ( 3 ). Colour can be very effective in learning and educational setting, marketing, communication, or even sport. For instance, a marketing study has found that colour can increase brand recognition by up to 80% ( 4 ). Most advertisements use colour as one of the important element in influencing people’s attention, attitude towards the product, and pressuring decision making ( 5 ). According to White ( 6 ), coloured advertisements can attract people to read the advertisement up to 42% more often than the non-coloured advertisement. This shows the importance of colour in making the information or message more attractive to the public.

In the educational setting, higher demand is put on excellent academic achievement. The extent to which students utilize their cognitive abilities is also important and may contribute to better academic achievement ( 7 ). The cognitive abilities of the students refer to the way the students perceive, pay attention, remember, think, and understand the lessons. There need to be strategies to facilitate the learning process and colours can play a role in motivating students to learn and profit from their educational experiences.

In addition, in the clinical setting, specific interventions involving colours can be introduced to deal with memory-related problems such as learning difficulty, autism, dyslexia, and others. With the use of colour in the intervention, it can help patients to follow and understand the learning program better. Clinical intervention for patients with dyslexia using colour have been proven to be effective in reducing patient difficulties in reading ( 8 ). The same approach is also used to help autistic patients. An improvement of reading speed up to 35% was reported for autistic patients reading using a coloured overlay compared to autistic patients reading without using a coloured overlay ( 9 ). Colour is also used to treat patients with Alzheimer Disease. Alzheimer Disease is a neurodegenerative form of dementia which deteriorates memory abilities ( 10 ). Recently, there is a growing interest in the role of the non-biological or environmental factors associated with Alzheimer Disease ( 11 ). Thus, the use of colours to improve the memory performance of Alzheimer Disease patients can be practised. In fact, research has shown that vivid colour cues can help to enhance the shortterm memory performance of Alzheimer Disease patients ( 12 ).

A plethora of studies have been conducted to understand the role of colour in enhancing memory performance. Back in 1976, Farley and Grant conducted experiments on the influence of colour on attention and found that coloured multimedia presentations resulted in better attention and memory performance ( 13 ). More experimental works exploring the influence of colour on the human cognitive processes were conducted since then ( 14 – 16 ).

Models of Human Memory

Human memory is commonly dichotomised to involve a short-term and longer-term memory storage. This dualistic nature of memory was proposed by the early investigators of memory, such as William James, and Waugh and Norman ( 17 ). The model proposed by Waugh and Norman, retained the concept of a primary and a secondary memory originally proposed by William James. Their model was regarded as the first behavioural model of memory due to its quantifying properties of primary memory ( 17 ). The earlier work on memory was well extended to lead to one of the influential models of the human memory system proposed Atkinson and Shiffrin ( 18 ). In their model, memory is made up of three structures; sensory register store, short-term store, and long-term store. Environmental stimuli will first reach the sensory register store. This memory store can register a huge amount of information, but the information is retained there very briefly. Information that is subject to a certain amount of attention is then moved to the short-term store. Information will be transferred to the long-term store for more permanent storage as a result of various types of control processes. It is said that the use of control processes such as maintenance and elaborative rehearsal, heuristic, or other memorization strategies are important to allow the information to be transferred from the shortterm store to long-term store.

An alternative to the model of memory proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin is the model proposed by Craik and Lockhart ( 19 ). They argued that the processes involved in memory were more important than the structures of the memory system. The memory processes are assumed to be on a continuum, from shallow sensory process to a deeper semantic memory process. The shallow memory processes involve a basic and surface analysis of the information, such as the physical and sensory characteristic of the information. Intermediate memory processing requires some degree of recognition and labelling and a deeper processing involves a higher degree of analysis like processing the meaning of the information and its link to the existing memory trace. It is assumed that deeper level of analyses contributes to a more lasting and longer memory ability. In other words, information will be stored in the long-term memory store as a result of the amount of analysis and processing done on the environmental input.

Therefore, it is important for the stimuli available in the environment to have the potential to activate the attention and to be involved in control processes or deeper level of processing in order for the stimuli to be better remembered. Previous studies have shown evidences that colour is one of the variables that has those potential. Colours can influence the level of attention and also give rise to emotional arousal which contributes to control processes that will later enhance memory performance ( 13 , 14 , 21 – 23 ).

Attention and memory

Attention refers to the cognitive process of selecting information that is available in the environment. When we pay attention to certain information, we are actually selecting and focusing certain amount of information to be processed in our cognitive system. The degree of attention attached to certain stimuli increase the probability of the information to be stored in memory ( 14 , 15 , 23 , 24 ). In other words, the information that we pay more attention to is more likely to be remembered than the information that we ignore and do not pay attention to. Numerous studies have reported that attention can increase memory performance level in terms of the recall rates ( 14 , 15 ) and also faster reaction time ( 23 ).

Attention, memory, and colour

Colour helps us in memorizing certain information by increasing our attentional level. The role played by colour in enhancing our attention level is undisputable ( 14 , 23 ). The more attention focused on certain stimuli, the more chances of the stimuli to be transferred to a more permanent memory storage ( 18 ). As stated earlier, colours have the potential to attract attention. Farley and Grant ( 13 ), were among the earliest who came out with a theory suggesting that colours have a greater effect on attention. This conclusion was based on their study on attention and cognition. They compared colour and noncolour multimedia presentations on memory performance. It was reported that the coloured multimedia presentation resulted in better attention than the non-coloured presentation. Greene, Bell, and Boyer ( 21 ), further explained that warm types of colours such as yellow, red and orange have been found to have a greater effect on attention compared to the cool type of colours like brown and gray.

Pan ( 23 ) found similar findings in his study on working memory and visual attention. In his study, participants were asked to identify whether the colour or the shape of the two objects that were presented were the same. In the first experiment, the colours of the two objects were the same but the shapes were different, while in the second experiment the conditions were reversed. The result showed that the participants’ response times were faster in identifying the differences in colours compared to differences in the shapes of the objects in both experimental conditions ( 23 ). This finding can be interpreted to show that colours have a better and greater ability to capture attention than other variables.

Pan ( 14 ) extended his previous study by verifying the colours. He used visual geometrical shapes with various colours. The participants ( n = 22) were asked to memorize both the colours and shape of the items. In the memory test, the participants were asked to recognize the colours and the shapes of the items that were presented earlier on. He found that participants performed better in recognizing the colour of the items than the shapes. The result supported his previous studies where colour had a stronger attention effect than the shape, F (1, 21) = 4.984, P = 0.031, η2 = 0.192. This suggests that, colours can produce a higher level of attention and is effective to increase memory performance. Therefore, it can be concluded that colours have the tendency to capture better attention level, and thus, better memory.

Arousal and memory

Arousal refers to the state of being alert physically and internally. Various body system and hormones may contribute to alertness ( 20 ). The concept of arousal may include the physical, psychological, physiological, and emotional arousal. In the study of memory, emotional arousal is focused on more than the other types of arousal. MacKay and Ahmetzanov ( 25 ) conducted a study on the relationship between emotional arousal and memory by using taboo stroop paradigm. They predicted better memory for taboo words (which were more emotionally arousing) than neutral words. It was found that the participants performed better in experimental conditions that were associated with emotionally arousing words (taboo words) than the conditions with neutral words ( 26 ). This result complements the study of Heuer and Reisberg ( 27 ), that found better retention in long-term recall with a high level of emotional arousal. Similarly, a high level of arousal leads to enhancement of both short-term and long-term memory. In an experiment conducted by Corteen (cited in 27), which used aurally presented words, it was reported that higher recall was found after 20 minutes and two week delays. The same result was reported in an experiment which used a single arousing word. Recall performance was found to be better with words that have arousal effect than non-arousal words. However, there was also evidence on the detrimental effects of arousal especially on short-term retention. For instance in learning, the participants who have high arousal effect remembered better in the delayed recall rather than shortly after learning process. According to Kleinsmith and Kaplan ( 28 ), words that can produce greater arousal effect were better remembered after one week than two minutes after the learning process. Thus, from the studies mentioned above, the level of arousal evoked by environmental stimuli can have a significant effect on memory performance in whether the short-term or long-term memory storage.

Arousal, memory and colour

Arousal, especially emotional arousal, can play an essential role in keeping the information in the memory system. Colours can enhance the relationship between arousal and memory. Kaya and Epps ( 22 ), asked their 98 college student volunteers in public institutions to associate colours with emotion. It was found that the majority of participants associated green colour with the feeling of calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope, and excitement. Black colour was associated with the feeling of sadness, depression, fear, and anger. This means that colours have an emotional arousing effect. However, the degree of arousal level may differ depending on the type of emotion or feeling being attached to it ( 29 ). According to Jackson, Wu, Linden, and Raymond ( 29 ), some types of emotion may have a greater effect on arousal than the others. For instance, anger was found to have a greater arousal effect than happy or neutral type of emotion. Red colour is being attached with stronger emotion or feeling compared to the other type of colours. Based on the studies mentioned, it shows that colour can produce an emotional arousing effect but the degree or range of arousal varies depending on the emotional element that is attached with specific type of colour.

Colour and Memory Performance

Colour has been found to influence memory performance by increasing our attentional level and arousal. There exist robust evidences from several studies that have been conducted to explore the relationship between colour and memory performance. Those studies are reviewed in detail below.

Spence, Wong, Rusan, and Rastegar ( 16 ) examined the ability to recognise coloured and gray-scale images of neutral scenes with 120 participants. They reported that participants’ recognition of the neutral scenes were approximately 5% higher in the coloured condition compared to the grey scale condition, F (1, 112) = 47.0, P < 0.0001. The same comparison was significant at the 0.05 level or better for different exposure durations. A similar finding was reached in a recall test conducted by Smilek and colleagues ( 15 ). Smilek, Dixon, and Merikle ( 15 ), carried out a study to investigate the influence of colour on memory performance. They used digit numbers with four different conditions; black, white, congruent, and incongruent colour conditions. They utilized the undergraduate students as their participants in the study. Three minutes were given to the participants to study the stimuli and another three minutes for them to recall the stimuli. The stimuli were exposed to the participants through a computer screen. Significant differences were found between recall conditions. The memory performance of the participants was found to be better in the congruent colour condition compared to the other conditions ( 26 ).

Wichmann, Sharpe, and Gegenfurtner ( 3 ), found a clear advantage of colour on visual memory. In their first experiment, they tested the colour recognition of the participants on the 50 milisecond to one second duration. The participants reported 5% to 10% better performance on colours over black-and-white condition. In their second experiment, the same images were used but with the exposure duration of one second and in six different image contrasts; 5%, 10%, 20%, 40%, 70%, and 100%. These contrasts were applied in colour and black-and-white images. Colour images were reported to have better memory recognition over black-and-white, but the differences were small. However, there were no significant differences found at the lower contrast level (5% and 10%). According to the authors, the images in the low contrast level were hardly visible and seen. In their third experiment, the same procedure was used, but participants were tested in different conditions. Those images that were presented in colour were tested in black-and-white and vice versa. A significant interaction was found between study mode and test mode, F (1, 30) = 8.209, P < 0.01. However, the performance of the images that were presented in colour and tested in black-andwhite was deteriorated. The same goes for the images that were presented in black-and-white and tested in colour. However, the performance was better with the colour images tested in colour, F (1, 30) = 4.576, P < 0.05. A similar finding was reported in the fifth experiment, where the images with the coloured frame show significant improvement (77.0% to 80.0%) in memory recognition than images with the black frame, t (19) = 2.51, P < 0.05.

Vernon and Lloyd-Jones ( 30 ) conducted a study to further explore the effect of colour in implicit and explicit memory performance. In one of their hypotheses, they expected a shorter response time to coloured stimuli in comparison to non-coloured/black and white stimuli. 30 coloured and 30 non-coloured objects were used in the study. In the study phase, the participants were involved in the naming task of those 60 experimental objects. While in the test phase, the participants were asked to recognize the objects which have been categorized in three different conditions; same colour, change colour and non-colour. 20 new objects (10 coloured and 10 non-coloured) were added in the test phase. Response time, percentage of the score, hit, and correct rejection rate were observed. The result revealed a significant effect on coloured object F (1, 29) = 7.02, P < 0.05. This means participants took faster time to recognise objects in the coloured than non-coloured condition.

The above studies indicated that colour can have a positive influence on memory performance. A few studies have however found contradictory findings. Lloyd-Jones and Nakabayashi (31), carried out a study on the effects of colour on object identification and memorization, and found out that there were differences in memory performance in object-colour spatial integration and object spatial separation. Two hundred and thirteen undergraduate students from the University of Kent were involved in the study. All participants were non colour-blind. 75 coloured common objects were used as stimuli in the study. There were three conditions; correctly coloured (the object and its original colour), incorrectly coloured (the object not with its original colour) and greyscale condition. There were two experimental conditions; object-colour spatial integration and object-colour spatial separation. In the objectcolour spatial integration, the colour object was placed on the grey background while in the object-colour spatial separation, the grey object was placed on the colour background. In the study phase, participants rated object-colour typicality on 7-point scale. In the test phase, participants were required to press certain buttons to indicate whether the object was correctly coloured or not. The speed of the response was measured. The result showed that there was a significant effect of the colour F (1, 184) = 18.3, P < 0.0001. Higher ratings were found for the spatially integrated condition (M = 3.84) than for spatial separated condition (M = 3.13). In terms of the reaction times, it was reported that shorter reaction times were found for correctly coloured than for incorrectly coloured in the spatial integrated condition, t (83) = –2.58, P < 0.05 but not for spatially separated, t (83) = 0.70, P > 0.05. Therefore, coloured object with non-coloured background have better memory retention and yielded faster respond time compared to coloured object with coloured background.

Another study by McConnohie (32) used alphanumeric characters and showed them to the participants through slideshow with three background colour conditions; white, blue and green. All the figure characters were in black. If the colours have positive effect on memory, performance was expected to be equal in these conditions. The result however showed that the slides with the white background resulted in higher retention rates both in immediate and delayed recall tasks than those with blue and green background. This result contradicts the previous studies in that only certain colours lead to better memory. Nevertheless, in this study, the colours chosen and the manipulation in the figure and background colours may explain the result obtained.

Hall and Hanna (33), conducted a study on webpage text and background colour combination to memory retention. One hundred and thirty six university students participated in their study. They used two different types of websites; an educational website which contained information regarding a neuroscience subject and a website which was more commercial that had an advertisement of products. Hall and Hanna used four different types of ground and figure colour combinations for each of the websites; black on white background, white on black background, light blue on dark blue background and teal on black background. Each participant was randomly assigned to each of the four conditions and they were given 10 minutes to view the websites. After that, they were required to answer 10 multiplechoice questions used to measure the readability, retention, aesthetics, and behavioural intention level. It was expected that the condition with a higher contrast level of colour will result in a higher level of readability and also retention rate. The result obtained show significant differences in the four conditions and the post-hoc tests showed that the readability performance was highest on the black on white background condition. This condition was interpreted to have the highest contrast level compared to the others and this contributes to a better readability level. The significant result found for readability was however not found on retention rate. This means that the different contrast of colour combination used only effects readability level but not memory or retention rate (33).

Factors That Influence the Effectiveness of Colour on Memory Performance

The studies reviewed above showed that colours can lead to better memory performance. There are however studies that indicate an opposing effect of colour on memory. On the basis of the studies reviewed previously, it can be summarized that the effectiveness of colour on memory performance is based on a few factors. First is the consistency of the colours used during encoding and retrieval phases. This means the colour used or presented during the time when participants are asked to memorize should be the same with the colour shown to them at the time of retrieval. This rule is in line with the encoding specificity principle that highlights the close connection between these two memory processes, encoding, and retrieval in determining the memory performance. The greater match of conditions in these two processes, the better is the retrieval outcome.

Another factor that needs to be taken into account is when few colours or combination of colours are involved (as in background and foreground conditions). The right combination of colours is important because it can produce higher level of contrast, and this can influence memory retention. Higher level of contrast may refer to the colour hue (the wavelength) and the luminance (brightness of the colour) of the colour (33). It was predicted that higher level of contrast will attract more attention and better visibility of an object or information. Stimuli with white foreground on red background can have a higher level of contrast compared to the other colour combination. Similarly, the use of a white colour background with black colour foreground has a better contrast level for memory retention for both short-term and long-term (32). This may be the reason for the top fast-food restaurants in the world to be associated and branded with vivid colour. For example, McDonalds used yellow and red colour in the logo, while Kentucky Fried Chicken is remembered with red and white colour combinations. Colour therefore played a very important role in influencing consumers psychologically, which is characterized by emotional attachment, attention, memory, and attitude that later increase the likelihood of buying behaviour.

An important aspect in successful and efficient cognitive functioning is the abilities to utilize the system to the fullest. Research on memory has provided a vast strategy that can be used to ensure successful retrieval. There appears to be a basis for associating colour and its significant effect on memory abilities. In other words, colour has the potential to increase chances of environmental stimuli to be encoded, stored, and retrieved successfully. The choice of colours and the manipulative aspects can, however, influence the extent to which colours can influence human memory performance.


The authors thanked the International Islamic University (IIUM) undergraduate students majoring in Psychology who have participated in the experiment. The authors also thanked the reviewers of this article for their valuable comments and suggestions.

The results of this study have not been presented in any symposium.

Conflict of interest

This work was supported by the IIUM Research Endowment Grant (EDW A11-439-1230).

Authors’ Contributions

Drafting of the article: MFMM

Critical revision of the article for the important intellectual content: MFMM, MAD

Final approval of the article and obtaining of funding: MAD

Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators


  • 1 New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States; Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors, 1 Riverside Circle, Suite 104G, Roanoke, VA 24016, United States. Electronic address: [email protected].
  • 2 New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States.
  • 3 New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States. Electronic address: [email protected].
  • PMID: 30153464
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.08.023

Meditation is an ancient practice that cultivates a calm yet focused mind; however, little is known about how short, practical meditation practices affect cognitive functioning in meditation-naïve populations. To address this question, we randomized subjects (ages of 18-45) who were non-experienced meditators into either a 13-min daily guided meditation session or a 13-min daily podcast listening session (control group) for a total duration of 8 weeks. We examined the effects of the daily meditation practice relative to podcast listening on mood, prefrontal and hippocampal functioning, baseline cortisol levels, and emotional regulation using the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Compared to our control group, we found that 8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores on the TSST. Furthermore, we report that meditation-induced changes in emotional regulation are more strongly linked to improved affective state than improved cognition. This study not only suggests a lower limit for the duration of brief daily meditation needed to see significant benefits in non-experienced meditators, but suggests that even relatively short daily meditation practice can have similar behavioral effects as longer duration and higher-intensity mediation practices.

Keywords: Breathing; Cognition; Consciousness; Executive function; Mindfulness; Stress.

Published by Elsevier B.V.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Young Adult

Frontiers for Young Minds

Frontiers for Young Minds

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Memory Loss and Aging: How Can We Use Smartphones to Better Remember?

research paper on memory

Our brains grant us the amazing ability to remember and relive the events from the past—however, memory for these events tend to worsen as people get older. Our memories serve several important functions, helping us to guide our future actions, connect with others, and understand ourselves. As a result, memory loss can greatly impact the lives of both those who lose their memory and their loved ones. Fortunately, there are things that people can do to help support memory as we age! For example, by combining smartphone technology and findings from decades of memory research, scientists can develop new and exciting tools to improve memory. In this paper, we will describe some of our work creating and testing a smartphone application that helps older adults better remember the unique moments from their lives.

Memory And Forgetting: What Is Normal And What Is Not?

Let us try a little exercise! Take a minute to reflect upon some events from your life. Can you remember what you had for dinner yesterday? A fun day you had at an amusement park? How about when you learned about something fascinating in school?

As you reflect on these memories, you will likely find that details for these events come flooding back. This might include who was there, what you were doing, where you were, and when the event took place. The ability to remember personal events like these is called episodic memory . One famous scientist even called episodic memory “the time machine in the brain”, because it allows people to re-experience past events in the mind’s eye [ 1 ]. Episodic memories are critical for helping people make decisions in the future (e.g., “I tried hummus for the first time yesterday and it was great—I will make sure to get it next time!”), connect with others (“That was the tallest roller coaster I have ever been on—I need to make sure I tell my friend Jenny next time I see her!”), and better understand who we are (“I loved learning about the brain—I am really passionate about neuroscience!”).

Episodic memory is separate from other types of memory, such as semantic memory or procedural memory. Semantic memory is memory for facts and general knowledge about the world, such as knowing the capital city of Canada, while procedural memory is memory for how to perform actions or motor skills, such as knowing how to ride a bicycle.

One brain region that is particularly important for supporting episodic memory is the hippocampus , a seahorse-shaped structure buried about 1.5 inches deep inside the brain on each side of the head ( Figure 1 ). The hippocampus is critical for preserving episodic memories as they are first being learned. If someone’s hippocampus is not working properly, their semantic and procedural memory will be largely unaffected, but they will have difficulty forming episodic memories for new events. Interestingly, memories for events that took place when the hippocampus was healthy would likely still be remembered because older memories become less reliant on the hippocampus with time. If you want to learn more about a famous patient who helped us learn about the role of the hippocampus in memory, check out this Frontiers for Young Minds article .

Figure 1 - This is a side view of the brain with the hippocampus in teal.

  • Figure 1 - This is a side view of the brain with the hippocampus in teal.
  • In the box, you can see an outline of the hippocampus compared to one of a seahorse—the name hippocampus comes from the Greek word for seahorse because of their similar shape. Brain image adapted from Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body (1918).

Forgetting is not necessarily a bad thing though—as you were thinking back on your life events a moment ago, you likely experienced some forgetting yourself. For example, do you remember what shirt you were wearing in your memory of learning something interesting at school? Forgetting is a completely normal process that is actually useful because people do not need to hold onto every single piece of information that they encounter. However, as people age into older adulthood, they may notice that their episodic memory starts to decline, making it more difficult to relive past events. This is because, after approximately age 65, the hippocampus tends to dramatically decrease in size. Episodic memory problems can be especially severe for those with conditions that affect the hippocampus, including dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. Given the importance that episodic memories hold in people’s lives, losing the ability to remember past events can make people lose confidence in themselves, isolate from others, and experience depression.

How Can People Preserve Their Memories?

The good news is that people can take steps to protect against memory loss. It is estimated that over 40% of dementias could be prevented or delayed by lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, improving diet, and reducing smoking and alcohol consumption [ 2 ]. Additionally, keeping engaged with new activities can improve memory and promote healthy aging.

Moreover, people can use technologies to better remember the activities they participate in. In fact, one powerful piece of technology can be found in many people’s pockets or bags—a smartphone! Smartphones can perform a wide variety of functions that can benefit memory, including keeping in contact with others, setting reminders, and making information available. One feature that people commonly use to help preserve their memories of specific events is the camera. You have probably taken a picture or video of an event that you wanted to commemorate, and with smartphones being so commonplace, many people can easily do so.

However, research suggests that people may need to be careful, because taking photos can actually impair memory. This is called the photo-taking-impairment effect , where information that is photographed is remembered more poorly than information that is not [ 3 ]. What might explain this? It could be that people pay less attention to the event itself because they are too concentrated on taking a good photo. They might also feel less motivated to focus on an event in great detail because they know they have a photo to jog their memory later—however, as we take and collect more and more photographs, it becomes harder to find a specific photo to cue a given memory.

Fortunately, using smartphones to take photos or videos of an event does not necessarily need to impair memory. For decades, scientists have been studying different strategies that people can use to improve memory. By taking what scientists know about how people best remember, scientists can actually use photos or videos to benefit memory.

For example, one important aspect to keep in mind when first trying to remember something is the level of processing , which describes how much effort and engagement a person puts into remembering. This can range from shallow to deep, and people are better able to remember information if they engage with it using deeper levels of processing. As you are reading this article, let us say that you want to remember that episodic memory allows people to remember specific personal events. If you are engaging with the material at a deep level, you will focus on how what you learn relates to other things you know, such as how episodic memory compares to other types of memory. If you are engaging with the material on a shallow level, you might focus on more superficial aspects, such as the shapes or sounds of the letters in the words “episodic memory”. Although it often takes more time and effort to engage in deep levels of processing, it is an effective strategy to boost memory.

Additionally, when people need to study material, the way they study can impact memory of what they learn. To understand this, let us pretend that you have a big test in a week, for which you must remember a lot of information. One way you might study is by trying to cram—to review everything you need to know for the test on the day before. This is referred to as massed practice , in which you review a lot of information in a single study session. On the other hand, you could break up what you need to know and study smaller amounts every day in the week leading up to the test. This is referred to as distributed practice , in which you review information in multiple study sessions spaced out over time. Massed practice might be sufficient if you only need the information for a short period of time, but distributed practice helps you retain information for much longer.

Combining Smartphone Technology And Memory Science

Our research group developed a smartphone application called HippoCamera ( Figure 2 ) to help overcome the photo-taking-impairment effect. With HippoCamera, users record and review cues for life events using key strategies and best practices from memory science [ 4 ]. This makes it different from simply using a smartphone to capture photos and videos in the typical way. When a user has an event that they wish to remember, they stop to capture a video snippet and an audio description of the event. This multistep process makes users stop to think about the event and why it is important. In this way, HippoCamera forces a deep level of processing and makes people pay more attention to the events of their lives.

Figure 2 - (A) HippoCamera guides users to record a video snippet and an audio description of an event they wish to remember.

  • Figure 2 - (A) HippoCamera guides users to record a video snippet and an audio description of an event they wish to remember.
  • (B) HippoCamera then combines these into a powerful cue, which can be replayed using effective learning strategies. (C) Our experiments showed that participants recalled over 50% more details for events that were recorded and reviewed using HippoCamera. This was accompanied by changes in how memories were stored in the hippocampus. In the figures, Early Test refers to memory during or immediately after using HippoCamera, while Delayed Test refers to memory 3 months after participants stopped using the app.

To create a memory cue, HippoCamera combines the audio description and a sped-up version of the video, providing a lot of distinctive information about the recorded event. This helps people to mentally travel back in time to re-experience it. HippoCamera puts together replay sessions that show up to five memory cues, and users can review these in their free time. Each cue is played in multiple replay sessions that are spaced out over time, meaning that HippoCamera uses the principle of distributed practice to preserve these memories for the long term. Altogether, recording and replaying events with HippoCamera can be done in a few minutes each day.

In two experiments, we had older adults use HippoCamera for either 2 or 10 weeks, to record and replay events from their daily lives. Later, when we asked them to describe these events, we found that participants were able to recall over 50% more details for events that were recorded and reviewed using HippoCamera. These memory benefits were seen even 3 months after users stopped using the app. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity, we also found that reviewing memory cues with HippoCamera changed the way that participants’ memories of those events were stored in the brain. Specifically, we found enhanced activity in the hippocampus, with memories being made more distinct from one another. This means that memories were less likely to be confused with one another, making them easier to recall in great detail. Our work provides an example of how new tools can be created that combine scientific research and technology to help people improve their memories.

Summing It All Up

Memories make people who they are, so creating solutions to improve memory can significantly benefit the lives of those affected by memory loss. One way to create easy-to-use, effective, and inexpensive tools that support memory is by using the technologies that people interact with daily, like smartphones. By combining the current scientific understanding of memory with modern technology, researchers can create new and exciting innovations that complement how the memory system works, helping people to better re-experience the moments that make their lives meaningful.

Episodic Memory : ↑ Memory for specific events that people have personally experienced.

Hippocampus : ↑ A seahorse-shaped brain region that is important for supporting episodic memory.

Dementia : ↑ A term describing decline of cognitive function, including memory, language, and decision-making, that is severe enough to affect daily living. This results from diseases affecting the brain, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Photo-Taking-Impairment Effect : ↑ A phenomenon in which people show poorer memory for information that they photograph compared to information that they do not photograph.

Level of Processing : ↑ A term describing the amount of effort and engagement people put into remembering something—people are more likely to remember information when they use deep vs. shallow levels of processing.

Massed Practice : ↑ A learning strategy in which people review information in a single, long study session, like cramming for a test.

Distributed Practice : ↑ A learning strategy in which people review information in multiple, short study sessions over time. This is more effective for long-term retention than massed practice.

Conflict of Interest

BH and MB own shares in Dynamic Memory Solutions Inc., a company focused on developing digital tools to improve memory. The University of Toronto holds the ownership rights to the HippoCamera technology used to conduct the research described herein, but has given Dynamic Memory Solutions the rights to commercialize. The authors also have a patent to disclose, Patent No.: 11,397,774. No person, nor organization received any financial remuneration for the use of the HippoCamera application in the studies described here. At the time of publication, this is a research-dedicated application that we will make available to other memory scientists at no charge.


This work was supported by Project Grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to MB (PJT-173336 and PJT-126003), a Scholar Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation to MB, a Connaught Innovation Award to MB, a Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) Researcher Clinician Partnership Program Grant to MB, and an AGE-WELL AgeTech Implementation Response Program Grant (AWAIR-2022-01) to MB. MB was supported by a Canada Research Chair and a Max and Gianna Glassman Chair in Neuropsychology. BH was supported by a Postdoctoral Award in Technology and Aging and an Early Professionals, Inspired Careers in AgeTech Fellowship from AGE-WELL.

Original Source Article

↑ Martin, C. B., Hong, B., Newsome, R. N., Savel, K., Meade, M. E., Xia, A., et al. 2022. A smartphone intervention that enhances real-world memory and promotes differentiation of hippocampal activity in older adults. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 119, e2214285119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2214285119

[1] ↑ Tulving, E. 2002. Episodic memory: from mind to brain. Ann. Rev. Psychol . 53:1–25. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135114

[2] ↑ Livingston, G., Huntley, J., Sommerlad, A., Ames, D., Ballard, C., Banerjee, S., and et al. 2002. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. Lancet 396:413–46. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30367-6

[3] ↑ Henkel, L. A. 2014. Point-and-shoot memories: the influence of taking photos on memory for a museum tour. Psychol. Sci . 25:396–402. doi: 10.1177/0956797613504438

[4] ↑ Martin, C. B., Hong, B., Newsome, R. N., Savel, K., Meade, M. E., Xia, A., and et al. 2022. A smartphone intervention that enhances real-world memory and promotes differentiation of hippocampal activity in older adults. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A . 119:e2214285119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2214285119

188 Memory Research Topics & Essay Examples

Memory is a fascinating brain function. Together with abstract thinking and empathy, memory is the thing that makes us human.

❓ Memory Research Questions

🏆 best memory topic ideas & essay examples, 💭 exciting memory research topics, 💫 interesting memory topics for essays, 👍 research topics about memory in psychology, 🕑 learning & memory research topics, 💡 easy memory essay ideas, 💯 free memory essay topic generator.

In your essay about memory, you might want to compare its short-term and long-term types. Another idea is to discuss the phenomenon of false memories. The connection between memory and the quality of sleep is also exciting to explore.

If you’re looking for memory topics to research & write about, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll find 174 memory essay topics, ideas, questions, and sample papers related to the concept of memory.

  • How does sensory memory work?
  • How is short-term memory different from long-term memory?
  • What memory-training techniques are the most effective?
  • What are the reasons for memory failures?
  • Memory and aging: what is the connection?
  • What are the key types of memory disorders?
  • How to improve memory?

  • Language Rules for a Reliable Semantic Memory It is important to ensure that the context of a statement is understood in order to relate it to the intended language function.
  • Sleep Improves Memory It is possible to replace a traumatic memory with a pleasant one then take a brief moment of sleep to reinforce the pleasant memory.
  • Memory: Understanding Consciousness The essay seeks to discuss memory in terms of the processes occurring in the brain as far as memory is concerned.
  • Language and memory paper Whereas semantic memory acts as a granary for stored words, symbols and their underlying meanings, it is during the process of language production that actual ideas and concepts are put to test.
  • Memory, Thinking, and Intelligence Only when people learn to challenge their intelligence and think critically, will they avoid many of the fatal mistakes they make, and in return save much time and resources.
  • How Age and Diseases Affect Memory However, in case of a disease such the Alzheimer’s disease, there is pervasive memory impairment to the extent that relationships and social activities are compromised. It is however not clear on the course of the […]
  • Memory Process: Visual Receptivity and Retentiveness For one to articulately understand the concepts of working-memory, short-term-memory, and long-term-memory in present days, he or she has to streamline the three memory types to specifics of what constitutes or makes a difference or […]
  • Memory for Designs Test The examination of the functioning of the memory of an individual cannot be limited to only one memory test, and as a result, there are a variety of assessments that target the various features of […]
  • The Relationships of Working Memory, Secondary Memory, and General Fluid Intelligence: Working Memory Is Special In the article the writer aims are investigating the robustness secondary memory in the ability to predict higher order cognition. To people with knowledge in memory psychology, the article is relevant and well researched.
  • False Memory Syndrome: Is It Real? Freud’s findings bring the idea that some of the memories that are categorized to be false memories that emanates from the unconscious memory.
  • Improving Memory and Study Power Study power and memory are important aspects of the learning process and improving them is necessary for success. Working the brain is important in improvement of memory and study power.
  • Working Memory in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Whereas many studies have indicated the possibility of the beneficial effects of WM training on people with ADHD, critics have dismissed them on the basis of flawed research design and interpretation.
  • Mental Chronometry: Response Time and Accuracy Sternberg relies on the idea that the reaction time is determined by the total amount of mental operations, such as recognition of the stimulus and organization of the response.
  • Cannabis and its Effects on Long Term Memory The memory function in general has been studied in acute administration studies of long term users of cannabis to humans and animals, and in long term studies of cannabis users.
  • Amnesia and Long-Term Memory These factors interfere with the function of hippocampus, the section of the human brain that is responsible for the development of memory, storing and organizing information.
  • Biology of Memory: Origins and Structures Memory can be classified into sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory. Declarative memory also known as explicit memory is a form of long term memory that requires the conscious recall of information […]
  • Brain and Memory Evidence suggests that the amygdala and the hippocampus regions of the brain interact during the formation of verbal and visual memory.
  • Strategies of the Memory Matlin defines knowledge as the information stored in our memory, the cognitive functioning of our memory and the ability to utilize the acquired information.
  • Long and Short term Memory The procedure of conveying information from STM to LTM entails the encoding and consolidation of information: it is not a task of time; the more the data resides in STM it increases the chances of […]
  • Memory Systems of the Brain Among those that he focused on were the mechanical memory which deals with the skeletal coordination, sensitive memory which is in charge of the emotions and other feelings and representative memory which deals with our […]
  • How to Improve Your Memory One of the most effective ways to memorize some information is based on the research concerning working memory. Furthermore, Sperling’s research which proves that people have photographic memory can help work out some strategy to […]
  • Comparison and Contrast Assignment on “Paradoxical Effects of Presentation Modality on False Memory,” Article and “Individual Differences in Learning and Remembering Music.” In the first block, study list were presented audibly as the experimenter sat in front of the computer and read them aloud while the screen was blinded form the participants. In the second experiment, the […]
  • Constructive Nature of Memory Some of the common symptoms of this disease include loss of speech and the ability to classify objects in the immediate environment of an individual.
  • Establishing False Memory in Humans The rate at which the observers included nonexistent words in their recollection of the initial study list was explored and represented in the experiment.
  • Definition of Storage Locations in Memory This particular experience can be classified as a type of retrieval mechanism which we all use on a daily yet it is surprisingly similar to the way in which people utilize their local library however […]
  • Memory theories in developing marketing strategies of the ipad The apple’s communication that was used in marketing the iphone and the ipod is the one to be used in marketing the ipad.
  • Ecstasy and Memory Impairment Neurological Correlation The key weakness in this study is the fact that it is a correlational study in which the test subjects are subjected to a series of other confounding factors.
  • Film about Hirosima Memory by Analogy She uses her memory of the human tragedy she witnesses in Hiroshima as a means to forget the pain she has felt since the demise of her lover.
  • “Memory by Analogy” Film Concepts However, upon critical analysis, the author notes that the major focus of the film is not to compare the traumatic events experienced by the two main protagonists; rather, it attempts to demonstrate the common devastating […]
  • Memory by analogy: Hiroshima mon amour It is quite painful to recall the events that took place in Japan during the Second World War in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
  • Autonoetic Consciousness in Autobiographical Memory One characteristic of AEM is the mental time travelling on the subjective time in order to connect the past with the current memory status.
  • Memory lane and morality In the first experiment where participants were expected to remember their childhood experience, those memories aided the experimenter more than they let the participants take control.
  • Chinese Novellas: The Role of Memory and Perception This is one of the details that attract attention of the readers, and one can say that it is important for understanding the passage and the short story, in general.
  • Semantic Memory and Language Production Relationship In the brain, information is arranged both in short-term and long-term memory and this is independent of whether the language in context is first language or a second one.
  • Neuroimaging Experiments and Memory Loss Studies This is because it enables the examination of the cognitive and affective processes. This is relative to the effects of alcohol consumption.
  • Memory Test The two controversies determine the classification of memory depending on the form of information processing that occurs in the brain and the different types of memories in relation to the accessibility.
  • The Concept of Autobiographical Memory The research findings show that memory phenomenology determined the relationship between attachment avoidance and depression, while the negative affective content of the autobiographical memory determined the link between attachment anxiety and depression. The concept of […]
  • Basic Functions of Memory and Language The area of semantic memory involves stored information regarding the features and characteristics, which determine the processes of retrieving, using, and producing information in various cognitive processes such as thought and language comprehension/production.
  • Semantic Memory and Language Production From the foregoing discussions, it can be deduced that the nature and function of semantic memory is closely related to the process of language comprehension. Moreover, lexical retrieval of the semantic memory and phonological facilitation […]
  • Theoretical Models in Understanding Working Memory The second model for understanding the processes involved in working memory is the Baddeley and Hitch multi-component model which states that working memory operates via a system of “slave systems” and a central controller which […]
  • Review of Wordfast: Strengths and Weaknesses of This Translation Memory Tool Recognizing the variety of benefits of using Wordfast in the translation process, it should be noted that the use of this ACT program can have a number of unintended negative implications for the quality of […]
  • Power, Memory and Spectacle on Saddam Hussein’s Death His rational was that the only way to unite the country was to eliminate the elements of division who in his opinion were the opposition.
  • Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah Lipstadt The book is divided into chapters that focus on the history and methods that are used to distort the truth and the memory of the Holocaust.
  • Long Term Memory and Retrieval The mode of presenting the items in sequence in the first presentation has great impact on the results and validity of the study.
  • Eye-path and Memory-prediction Framework Online marketing and advertising actively develop nowadays, and modern advertisers need to focus on the customers’ attitudes and behaviours in the context of the effectiveness of the advertisement’s location on the web page.
  • Conflict at Walt Disney Company: A Distant Memory? The conflict between Michael Eisner and the Weinstein brothers, the two board members, and Steve Jobs was related to a dysfunctional form of conflict.
  • Memory Capacity and Age Correlation Since young adults have high levels of positive emotions and low levels of negative emotions, the positive emotions enable them to enhance their memory capacity for positive information.
  • False Memory Condition: Experimental Studies It is therefore important to conduct some experiments to see the differences between the correct memory and the false memory. The distracters and words to be identified were the variables that were independent.
  • Face Recognition and Memory Retention It is imperative to mention that cognitive process is very significant in face recognition especially due to its role in storage and retrieval of information from long-term memory.
  • Computer’s Memory Management Memory management is one of the primary responsibilities of the OS, a role that is achieved by the use of the memory management unit.
  • Memory and Emotions in Personal Experience I tried to convince Sherry that the kind of life she led will not do good to her. I thought that Sherry is a grown-up person who would understand the mistakes she had done and […]
  • Memory Chart Stages in Psychology For instance, the brain uses the procedural memory to encode procedural skills and tasks that an individual is involved in. The stages of memory are very complex and often pass unrecognized.
  • Cognitive Stimulation on Patients with Impaired Memory Cognitive stimulation therapy is effective in mitigating the effects of dementia. As a result, the researchers tested cognitive stimulation therapy in clinical trials.
  • George Santayana’s Philosophy Views on Historical Memory To Plato, democracy was the worst form of governance because it was the tyranny of the multitude. Furthermore, the effects of the war were hard to take because people lost everything they had.
  • Memory Strategies and Their Effects on the Body Memory problems are a common concern in the society due to the increased rate of memory problems among the individuals. This is a strategy that uses chemicals to suppress the adverse effects of memory problems.
  • Working Memory Concept: Psychological Views To begin with, the findings support the use of the Working-Memory Model because it offers a clear distinction between the subordinate memory systems and the “central executive” memory.
  • Individual Recognition Decisions and Memory Strength Signal The individual recognition decision and the memory strength will be compared to determine their relation. A positive correlation between the individual recognition decisions and the aggregated memory strength will be shown.
  • Memory Study: Different Perspectives Having carried out two experiments, Oberauer comes to the conclusion that information in working memory is highly organized and has its own structure and understanding of this structure can help to improve the work of […]
  • Memory Study: Mnemonics Techniques Having carried out two experiments, Oberauer comes to the conclusion that information in working memory is highly organized and has its own structure and understanding of this structure can help to improve the work of […]
  • Sensory Memory Duration and Stimulus Perception Cognitive psychologists argue that perceived information takes one second in the sensory memory, one minute in the short-term memory and a life-time in the long-term memory.
  • Working Memory Load and Problem Solving The present research focuses on the way working memory load affects problem solving ability and the impact working memory capacity has on problem solving ability of people.
  • Memory Distortions Develop Over Time Memory is the ability to recall what happened in the past or the process through which one’s brain stores events and reproduce them in the future. Simpson were put on a scoreboard to analyze the […]
  • Misinformation Effect and Memory Impairment It is important to determine the science behind the misinformation effect, because the implication of the study goes beyond the confines of psychology.
  • Stroop Effect on Memory Function The aim of the study was to examine the Stroop effect on memory function of men and women. The aim of the study was to examine Stroop effect on men and women’s cognitive functions.
  • Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test and Cognistat Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test and the Cognistat are the assessment tools employed by the occupational therapists in order to determine the levels of impairment in their mental function that directly impact the individuals’ executive abilities […]
  • Building of Memory: Managing Creativity Through Action It could be important for the team to understand Kornfield’s vision of the project, the main and secondary tasks, the project timeline, and the general outline of it. The third technique is to ensure face-to-face […]
  • False Memory and Emotions Experiment The hypothesis was as follows: a list of associate words creates a false memory by remembering a critical lure when the list is presented to a subject and a recall test done shortly after that.
  • Working Memory Concept The central executive, as the name implies, is the primary component of the working memory system; every other component is subservient to it.
  • Memory, Thoughts, and Motivation in Learning Moreover, using the knowledge acquired from various sources of information, students can interpret the contents of their various environments and apply them to their advantage.
  • Biopsychology of Learning and Memory The hippocampus is a brain region in the form of a horseshoe that plays an essential role in the transformation of information from the short-term memory to the long-term memory.
  • Working Memory Training: Benefits and Biases The research results indicate that the effects of stereotyping on the development of WM and the relevant skills are direct and rather drastic.
  • Place-Based Memory Studies and Thinking Architecture There is a need to inform the society of the history represented by the sites and educate the masses on events leading to such occurrences.
  • Music Role in Memory and Learning Processes As such, the study purposed to test the differences in visuospatial abilities between men and women bearing in mind that the former is perceived to demonstrate greater memory capabilities compared to the latter As such, […]
  • Police Shooting Behaviour, Memory, and Emotions The subject of the study was limited to analyzing the shooting behavior of police officers in danger-related situations. It is supposed that officers with low capacity of working memory are more likely to shoot the […]
  • Music and Human Memory Connection The effects of music on people vary considerably, and this project should help to understand the peculiar features of the connection between human memory and music.
  • Working Memory Training and Its Controversies As a result, a range of myths about WM has been addressed and subverted successfully, including the one stating that WM related training cannot be used to improve one’s intellectual abilities and skills.
  • Memory Formation and Maintenance The first similarity between working memory and long term memory is that in both cases, tasks retrieve information from secondary memory, although sometimes working memory tasks retrieve information from the primary memory. After completion of […]
  • The Public Memory of the Holocaust In addition to his pain, Levi concerns the increasing temporal distance and habitual indifference of hundreds of millions of people towards the Holocaust and the survivors1 It causes the feeling of anxiety that was fuelled […]
  • Concreteness of Words and Free Recall Memory The study hypothesized that the free recall mean of concrete words is not statistically significantly higher than that of abstract words.
  • Emotional Memory: Negative and Positive Experiences For instance, autobiographical memory provides a chance to remember the events that shaped one’s personality and defined the further course of one’s development.
  • Sociocultural Memory in European and Asian Americans The Asian perspective on the use of memory, however, suggests that a much greater emphasis should be placed on using memory as a learning resource so that it can be expanded with the help of […]
  • Mnemonics for Memory Improvement in Students The selected participants will be split into two groups that will be asked to memorize a set of words from a story with the help of the suggested technique.
  • Memory Retrieval, Related Processes and Secrets The resulting impression of having experienced what is portrayed in the picture leads to the creation of false memories. The authors of the study make it clear that placing one in specific visual and spatial […]
  • Amphetamines and Their Effects on Memory The scope of the problem of stimulant abuse is quite important in nowadays medicine since the application of amphetamine is not explored in an in-depth manner.
  • Effects of Marijuana on Memory of Long-Term Users The pivotal aim of the proposed study is to evaluate the impact of marijuana use on long-term memory of respondents. The adverse impact of marijuana after the abstinent syndrome refers to significant changes in prefrontal […]
  • When the Desire Is Not Enough: Flash Memory As a result, a number of rather uncomfortable proposals were made to the founders of Flash, but the company’s members had to accept certain offers for the financing to continue and the firm not to […]
  • Collective Memory and Patriotic Myth in American History However, to think that colonists and early Americans pursued a general policy of killing or driving out the native Indians is incorrect.
  • Learning Disabilities and Memory Disorders Large amounts of phenylalanine in the blood will result in complications of the neurons in the central nervous system referred to as myelinization of the cerebral hemispheres.
  • Free and Serial Memory Recalls in Experiments In the study, the experimenters changed the order in which the items were presented to the participants before each trial to test the ability of the subject to recognize these words it was observed that […]
  • Dealing With the Limitations of Flash Memory Implanted medical chip technology can help to reduce the amount of medical misdiagnosis that occur in hospitals and can also address the issue of the amount of money that Jones Corp.pays out to its clients […]
  • Memory Model of Teaching and Its Effectiveness The main objective of the research study was to find out the difference in the effect of the memory model and the traditional method of teaching on students’ performance.
  • Psychology: Short-Term and Working Memory The thing is that the term short-term memory is used to describe the capacity of the mind to hold a small piece of information within a very short period, approximately 20 seconds.
  • Surrealism and Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” Of course, The Persistence of Memory is one of the best-known works, which is often regarded as one of the most conspicuous illustrations of the movement.
  • Learning Activity and Memory Improvement The easiest way to explain the difference between implicit and explicit types of learning is to think of the latter as active learning and of the former – as passive one.
  • Varlam Shalamov on Memory and Psychological Resilience The soldiers sent to therapists such as Rivers and Yealland in Regeneration had one problem in common they were unable to forget the traumatic and frightening experiences that had affected them in the past.
  • Memory and Motivation at History Lesson Step 1: Presentation uncovering the unknown facts about the famous people Step 2: Identifying the inaccuracies in groups Step 3: Discussion of the results Step 4: in-class quiz on the presented material Step 5: working […]
  • Memory Acquisition and Information Processing The problem of disagreeing with memories can be explained by a closer look at the process of memory acquisition. Most part of the sensory information is not encoded due to selective attention.
  • How Memory and Intelligence Change as We Age The central argument of the paper is that intelligence and memory change considerably across the lifespan, but these alterations are different in the two concepts. The article by Ofen and Shing is a valuable contribution […]
  • Chocolate Consumption and Working Memory in Men and Women In this study, the independent variable was chocolate intake, while the dependent variable was the effect of chocolate on the memory of different genders.
  • Memory as a Topic of Modern Studies in Psychology Holt and Delvenne present a research paper on the effect of rehearsing on memorization, stating that there is a connection between “spatial” attention, repetition, and short-term memory.
  • Cognitive Psychology: Memory and Interferences For instance, I remember how to organize words in the right way to form a sentence and I know the capitals of countries.
  • “How Reliable Is Your Memory?” by Elizabeth Loftus Regardless of how disturbing and sorrowful it may be, and even when pointed out that this certain memory is false, a person may be unable to let it go.
  • The Conceptual Relationship Between Memory and Imagination In particular, the scholar draws parallels between these processes by addressing the recorded activity of specific brain structures when “remembering the past and imagining the future”.
  • Elderly Dementia: Holistic Approaches to Memory Care The CMAI is a nursing-rated questionnaire that evaluates the recurrence of agitation in residents with dementia. Since the research focuses on agitation, the CMAI was utilized to evaluate the occurrence of agitation at baseline.
  • Cogmed Working Memory Training in Children The methodology of the study is strong, and the number of participants is adequate to measure the effects of the program.
  • The Effect of Memory, Intelligence and Personality on Employee Performance and Behaviour The present paper will seek to explain the theoretical background on memory, intelligence and personality and evaluate the influence of these factors on work performance and employee behaviours.
  • The Interaction of Music and Memory Therefore, the research is of enormous significance for the understanding of individual differences in the connection between memory and music. Therefore, the research contributes to the understanding of the interaction of age with music and […]
  • Memory Loss Treatment in Nursing Practice The identification of clinical manifestations of the disease is an important first step toward a correct diagnosis and the development of a plan of action to improve the patient’s short-term and long-term stability.
  • Memory Comprehension Issue Review To sum up, studying with the background of loud music is counterproductive, as it is also an information channel that interferes with the comprehension and memorization of more important information.
  • The Implications of False Memory and Memory Distortion The former refers to the manner of impressing into our minds the memories which we have acquired while the former refers to the manner by which a person reclaims the memories which have been stored […]
  • Hippocampus: Learning and Memory The limbic cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus are considered the processing parts of the limbic system while the output part comprises the septal nuclei and the hypothalamus.
  • Chauri Chaura Incident in History and Memory The book’s first half was a reconstruction, a narrative in historical view of the burning of the chowki or station and the account of the trial that focused on the testimony of the principal prosecution […]
  • Repressed Memory and Developing Teaching Strategies The author aims to emphasize the “importance, relevance, and potential to inform the lay public as well as our future attorneys, law enforcement officers, therapists, and current or future patients of therapists” with regards to […]
  • Sensory and Motor Processes, Learning and Memory There are three processes involved in the sensory function of the eyes: the mechanical process, the chemical process, and the electrical process. The mechanical process starts as the stimuli passes through the cornea and […]
  • Autobiographical Memory and Cognitive Development During this stage important cognitive processes take place and are fundamental towards the development of autobiographical memory in the infants. This help the infants to have important memory cues that form part of the autobiographical […]
  • Memory in Context of Optimal Studying Skill The focal point of the paper is to understand the different aspects of memory and find out the best method of studying.
  • Attention, Perception and Memory Disorders Analysis Teenage is the time for experimentation, with a desire to be independent and try new and forbidden things like drugs or indulge in indiscrete sexual activity.
  • Memory Consolidation and Reconsolidation After Sleep The memory consolidation of the visual skill tasks is related to the REM sleep and the short wave component of the NREM.
  • Hot and Cold Social Cognitions and Memory What is mentioned in biology text books and journals about the human brain is so small and almost insignificant compared to the myriad functions and parts of the brain that are yet to be explored.
  • Human Memory: Serial Learning Experiment The background of the current research was stated in Ebbinghaus’ psychological study, and reveals the fact, that if e series of accidental symbols is offered for memorizing, the human memory will be able to memorize […]
  • Operant Conditioning, Memory Cue and Perception Operant conditioning through the use of punishment can be used to prevent or decrease a certain negative behavior, for example, when a child is told that he/she will lose some privileges in case he/she misbehaves, […]
  • Working With Working Memory Even if we can only make a connection of something we see with a sound, it is easier to remember something we can speak, because the auditory memory helps the visual memory.
  • Psychology: Memory, Thinking, and Intelligence Information which serves as the stimuli moves from the sensory memory to the short term memory and finally to the long term memory for permanent storage.
  • Sleep Patterns and Memory Performance of Children The article presents the essence, the methods and the results of the experiment which had to show the influence of TV and computer games on German children’s sleep.
  • Biologically Programmed Memory The brain, which carries the memory of the species, is a complex and delicate organ believed to carry the functions of the species.
  • Gender Factor Affecting Memory: Critically Evaluating of Researches In the book, ‘Gender and Memory,’ the authors, Leydesdorf, Passerini, and Thompson, point out that there is a significant difference in memories for narrative speech between men and women.
  • Memory in Learning and Elapsed Time Manipulation And the longer they are subjected to presentation of stimuli, similar to a longer rehearsal, the better the learning rate. And that rats could communicate the flavor “learned”.
  • “The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci” by Jonathan D. Spence: Concept of Memory Palaces The information concerning Matteo Ricci’s concept of memory palaces presented in the book is generalized to the extent that it is necessary to search for an explanation and some clarifications in the additional sources; “His […]
  • Community Gatherings and Collective Memory The objective of this paper is to examine some of the gatherings that take place in the community and how these gatherings are related to time.
  • Collective Memory as “Time Out”: Repairing the Time-Community Link The essay will first give an account of how time helps to shape a community, various events that have been formulated in order to keep the community together and the effectiveness of these events in […]
  • Gender and Memory Capabilities of Humans However, in the spatial memory, none of the genders outdid the other and this questioned the prevalent idea that men are more advanced in spatial memory as compared to women.
  • “The Sorrow of War” by Bao Ninh: Memory as a Central Idea The image of soldier Kien in The Sorrow of War demonstrates the difficulties of the Vietnamese people before, through and after this war.
  • Apiculture: Memory in Honeybees They have a sharp memory to recall the previous locations of food, the scent, and the color where they can get the best nectar and pollen.
  • Biopsychology: Learning and Memory Relationship Memorization involves an integral function of the brain which is the storage of information. Memorization is directly linked to learning through the processes of encoding, storage, and retrieval of information.
  • Human Memory as a Biopsychology Area This paper is going to consider the idea that electrical activity measures of the brain of a human being can be utilized as a great means for carrying out the study of the human memory.
  • Psychological Issues: Self-Identity and Sexual Meaning Issues, and Memory Processing Most sex surveys are run by firms dealing in other products and the motives of the surveys are for marketing of their primary products.
  • Love and Memory From a Psychological Point of View The commonly known love types include affection, passionate love, friendship, infatuation, puppy love, sexual love, platonic love, romantic love and many other terms that could be coined out to basically describe love.
  • Memory, Thinking, and Human Intelligence As Kurt exposits, “The effects of both proactive and retroactive inferences while one is studying can be counteracted in order to maximize absorption of all the information into the long-term memory”.
  • Creativity and Memory Effects in Advertising A study was conducted in China to establish the kind of effects agency creativity has on the total outcome of the advertising campaign.
  • The Internet and Autobiographical Memory Allie Young’s blog or journal is a perfect illustration of the impact that social sites and blogs have, since for her autobiographic memory; she uses a blog site to write about issues affecting her life.
  • Advertising and Memory: Interaction and Effect An advert sticks into one’s memory when it focuses on the characteristic of the material being advertised, other advertisements competing for the same market niche, and the kind of people it targets.
  • Organizational Memory and Intellectual Capital The main emphasis here concerns modalities of motivating the retrieval and use of information and experiences in the OM. The source of intellectual capital arises from the managers’ ability to welcome new information and experiences, […]
  • The Nature of False Memory Postevent information is one of the reasons that provoke the phenomenon of misinformation. The participants watched a video of a hockey collision and were asked to estimate the speed of the players.
  • The Difference Between Females and Males Memory The hippocampus is of importance when it comes to memory formation and preservation and is relatively larger in females than males, giving the females advantage in memory cognition.
  • Individual Differences in Learning and Memory In the following paper, the variety of learning styles will be evaluated in relation to theories of human learning and memory retrieval on the basis of the findings currently made by academic researchers.
  • Fuzzy-Trace Theory and False Memory The writers set out to show the common ground for all these varied scenarios and convincingly show that false memories are a result of an interaction between memory and the cognitive process of reasoning. The […]
  • Music and Memory: Discussion Future research should focus on addressing the limitations of the study and exploring the effect of other types of music. The findings of the study are consistent with the current body of knowledge about the […]
  • The Relationship Between Memory and Oblivion The purpose of this essay is to discuss the relationship between memory and oblivion, private and public recollection of events, and the way these concepts are reflected in the works of Walid Raad, Christo, and […]
  • Two Tutorials on the Virtual Memory Subject: Studytonight and Tutorials Point The explanation of the demand paging term leads to the concept of a page fault. It is a phrase that characterizes an invalid memory reference that occurs as a result of a program addressing a […]
  • The Memory of Silence and Lucy: A Detailed Analysis From damaging relationships to her hope to come back to the native land, Lucy has all kinds of issues to address, but the bigger issue is that Lucy’s progress is cyclical, and she has to […]
  • Biological Psychology: Memory
  • Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs)
  • Fabricating the Memory: War Museums and Memorial Sites
  • Dementia and Memory Retention
  • “Neural Processing Associated With True and False Memory Retrieval” by Yoko
  • Memory Strategies Examples and How They Work
  • The Essence of Context Dependent Memory
  • Elaborative Process and Memory Performance
  • Lifespan Memory Decline, Memory Lapses and Forgetfulness
  • Working Memory & Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum
  • Working Memory in 7 &13 Years Aged Children
  • Memory, the Working-Memory Impairments, and Impacts on Memory
  • Developmental Differences in Memory Over Lifespan
  • Adaptive Memory and Survival Subject Correlation
  • Repressed Memory in Childhood Experiences
  • Covalent Modification of Deoxyribonucleic Acid Regulates Memory Formation
  • Memory Techniques in Learning English Vocabulary
  • Information Processing and Improving Learning and Memory
  • The Memory Formation Process: Key Issues
  • The Role of Image Color in Association With the Memory Functions
  • Consciousness: The Link Between Working Memory and Unconscious Experience
  • The Relationship Between the Working Memory and Non-conscious Experiences
  • Memory: Its Functions, Types, and Stages of Storage
  • Enhancing Individual and Collaborative Eyewitness Memory
  • Functioning of Human Memory Schemas
  • The Psychological Nature of Memory
  • Civility, Democracy, Memory in Sophocles’ Antigone
  • Emotions: The Influence on Memory
  • The Multi-Storage Memory Model by Atkinson and Schiffrin
  • Draw It or Lose It Memory and Storage Considerations
  • ”The Mystery of Memory” Documentary by Gray & Schwarz
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2023, September 20). 188 Memory Research Topics & Essay Examples.

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IvyPanda . "188 Memory Research Topics & Essay Examples." September 20, 2023.

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UMD UMD Art History and Archaeology Logo White

Lillian Wies wins 2023 Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize

November 05, 2023 Art History and Archaeology

Photo of Lillian Wies

Lily is the first writing about Japanese art outside of Japan to win this award!

Lillian "Lily" Wies is one of two recipients of this year's Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize. The Japan Art History Forum’s Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize recognizes outstanding graduate student scholarship in Japanese art history. The prize was established in 2003 in memory of a distinguished colleague Chino Kaori, and is awarded annually to the best research paper written in English on a Japanese art history topic.

According to the announcement of the award from the Japan Art History Forum "Wies’s thoughtful and well-researched paper explores Shima Seien’s (1892-1970) Untitled self portrait of 1918 as an act of resistance to misogyny Shima experienced as a female artist. In her paper, Wies makes strong use of existing scholarship and careful visual analysis in comparison with other paintings to offer an argument that by subverting bijinga ideals, Shima resists standard tropes of female painters to craft her own identity."

Congratulations Lily!


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    In this paper, we review these advances and describe an extended definition of memory. This definition is largely accepted in neuroscience but not explicitly stated. In the extended definition, memory is the capacity to store and retrieve information. Does this new definition of memory mean that everything is now a form of memory?

  2. (PDF) Memory Types and Mechanisms

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    Memory Studies Impact Factor: 1.1 5-Year Impact Factor: 1.6 Memory Studies affords recognition, form and direction to work in this nascent field, and provides a peer-reviewed, critical forum for dialogue and debate on the theoretical, empirical, and methodological issues central to a collaborative … | View full journal description

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    This editorial considers two lines of work that illustrate some of the prospects for applying memory research to everyday life: interpolated quizzing to enhance learning in educational settings, and specificity training to enhance memory and associated functions in individuals who have difficulties remembering details of their past experiences.

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  7. (PDF) Memory, Narrative, and the Consequences

    Drawing on papers from three different areas — evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, sociolinguistics analysis — this commentary states that there is by now an empirically grounded...

  8. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

    The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition ® publishes original experimental and theoretical research on human cognition, with a special emphasis on learning, memory, language, and higher cognition.. The journal publishes impactful articles of any length, including literature reviews, meta-analyses, replications, theoretical notes, and commentaries on previously ...

  9. Memory

    For example, eating foods that help memory, such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, berries, tea, coffee and oily fish, is a great way to promote your overall health while strengthening your brain. Regular exercise boosts the growth of brain cells and the production of neurotransmitters, enhancing memory.

  10. Long-term memory

    RSS Feed. Long-term memory is information encoded in the brain on the time-scale of years. It consists of explicit (declarative) memories that are consciously reportable and depend heavily on the ...

  11. Theories of Memory and Aging: A Look at the Past and a Glimpse of the

    This research on memory preservation has relied heavily on the rich depth of information generated in earlier research about basic memory function. The investment in memory and aging research over the last 50 years has provided the knowledge base needed to develop increasingly effective interventions and to identify early markers of ...

  12. Learning and memory

    The main goals of research with NBS in learning and memory have been to: (1) identify underlying neuropsychological processes and neurobiological components; (2) find out how this knowledge can be used to diagnose and restore dysfunctions of learning and memory in various patient populations; and (3) assess the use of NBS for enhancement purpose...

  13. Long-term memory effects on working memory updating development

    Caterina Artuso , Paola Palladino x Published: May 31, 2019 Article Authors Metrics Comments Media Coverage Abstract Conclusions Reader Comments Abstract Long-term memory (LTM) associations appear as important to cognition as single memory contents.

  14. Human memory research: Current hypotheses and new perspectives

    Research on human memory has increased significantly in the last few decades. Inconsistencies and controversies inherent to such research, however, are rarely articulated on published reports.

  15. The Development of Working Memory

    Fig. 1. Simulations of a dynamic field model showing an increase in working memory (WM) capacity over development from infancy (left column) through childhood (middle column) and into adulthood (right column) as the strength of neural interactions is increased. The graphs in the top row (a, d, g) show how activation ( z -axis) evolves through ...

  16. About Sleep's Role in Memory

    Most recently, the focus of research in the field has broadened, indicating that sleep benefits memory not only in the neurobehavioral domain, but also in the formation of immunological long-term memories, stimulating the idea that forming long-term memories represents a general function of sleep.

  17. New Research on Memory From Psychological Science

    Read about the latest research on memory published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Modifying Memory: Selectively Enhancing and Updating Personal Memories for a Museum Tour by Reactivating Them Peggy L. St. Jacques and Daniel L. Schacter

  18. Memory

    Memory publishes high quality papers in all areas of memory research, including experimental studies of memory (including laboratory-based research, everyday memory studies, and applied memory research), developmental, educational, neuropsychological, clinical and social research on memory.. By representing all significant areas of memory research, the journal cuts across the traditional ...

  19. Stanford researchers observe memory formation in real time

    Now, a new study by scientists with the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is revealing exactly how motor memories are formed and why they are so persistent. It may even help illuminate the root causes of movement disorders like Parkinson's disease. "We think motor memory is unique," said Jun Ding, an associate professor of neurosurgery and ...

  20. The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance: A Review

    An interesting issue in memory research is on ways to enhance memory performance, and thus, remembering of information. Can colour result in improved memory abilities? The present paper highlights the relationship between colours, attention, and memory performance. The significance of colour in different settings is presented first, followed by ...

  21. Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and ...

    Affiliations 1 New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States; Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors, 1 Riverside Circle, Suite 104G, Roanoke, VA 24016, United States. Electronic address: [email protected]. 2 New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place ...

  22. Memory Loss and Aging: How Can We Use Smartphones to Better Remember

    Additionally, keeping engaged with new activities can improve memory and promote healthy aging. Moreover, people can use technologies to better remember the activities they participate in. In fact, one powerful piece of technology can be found in many people's pockets or bags—a smartphone! Smartphones can perform a wide variety of functions ...

  23. (PDF) Computer Memory, Applications and Management

    ISBN 9780735638068. Retrieved 2012-08-20. Windows Server Enterprise supports clustering with up to eight-node clusters and very large memory (VLM) configurations of up to 32 GB on 32-bit systems ...

  24. 188 Memory Research Topics & Essay Examples

    Print Share 188 Memory Research Topics & Essay Examples Updated: Sep 20th, 2023 21 min Memory is a fascinating brain function. Together with abstract thinking and empathy, memory is the thing that makes us human. Table of Contents Memory Research Questions 🏆 Best Memory Topic Ideas & Essay Examples 💭 Exciting Memory Research Topics

  25. Frontiers

    Alternative paradigms to the von Neumann computing scheme are currently arousing huge interest. Oscillatory neural networks (ONNs) using emerging phase-change materials like VO2 constitute an energy-efficient, massively parallel, brain-inspired, in-memory computing approach. The encoding of information in the phase pattern of frequency-locked, weakly coupled oscillators makes it possible to ...

  26. Lillian Wies wins 2023 Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize

    Lillian "Lily" Wies is one of two recipients of this year's Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize. The Japan Art History Forum's Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize recognizes outstanding graduate student scholarship in Japanese art history. The prize was established in 2003 in memory of a distinguished colleague Chino Kaori, and is awarded annually to the best research paper written in English on a ...