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Human Memory

Human Memory
Structures and Images

November 2006 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Howes' new textbook, Human Memory, offers a thorough and expansive introduction to the science of remembering and forgetting. With highly accessible prose, Howes keeps the student clearly in mind as she deftly weaves together traditional and novel approaches to memory research. Unlike any other memory textbook on the market . . . it looks to be a definite winner in the classroom."
—James S. Nairne, Purdue University

Presented in a clear and accessible format, Human Memory: Structures and Images offers students a comprehensive overview of research in human memory. Providing a theoretical background for the research, author Mary B. Howes covers three major areas—mainstream experimental research; naturalistic research; and work in the domains of the amnesias, malfunctions of memory, and neuroscience.

Key Features:

  • Presents extensive coverage of naturalistic research: Areas of current naturalistic research, such as eyewitness testimony and courtroom procedures, are included, as are the functioning of memory under atypical or abnormal conditions and traumatic and repressed memories.
  • Emphasizes the constructivist position: Offering greater coverage than other books on this model of memory, this text also examines the debate between constructivist and nonconstructivist theories.
  • Offers two chapters online on computers and memory: Chapter 1 on computer functioning simulation of memory and Chapter 2 on computer models of long-term memory are easily accessed online. See Human Memory in our online catalog at and click on "Sample Materials" to view these chapters.
  • Supplies instructors with thoughtfully crafted support material: An Instructor's Resources CD-ROM, including PowerPoint slides, study quizzes, test items, and worksheets, is available to all qualified adopters.

Intended Audience:

This text is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses such as Memory, Human Memory, Memory and Cognition, and Memory and Forgetting.

Preface: An Introduction to the Nature of Human Memory
1. Memory: Historical and Current Perspectives
The Classic Model of Memory: Aristotle




Computer Models

The Study of Memory

Methodology and Research Traditions


2. Mainstream Foundations: The Associative Model of Memory
Ebbinghaus: Origins of the Associative Model

The Verbal Learning Tradition

List Learning and Serial Recall Curves

Interference Theory

Consolidation Theory

The Classic Associative Tradition

Interference Theory 1940s-1980s



3. Sensory Memory
The Information Processing Tradition

Sensory Memory: General Properties


Output Interference

Echoic Memory



4. Verbal Short-Term Memory
General Properties of Verbal Short-Term Memory

Codes in Verbal STM

Word Length

The Events that Occur When Information Enters Verbal STM

Forgetting in Verbal STM

Factors that Eliminate or Diminish Short-Term Forgetting

Cues and Verbal STM

Research Into Manipulations that Influence STM Recall

Models of Verbal Short-Term Memory



5. Working Memory
Attention and Working Memory

Emergence of the Concept of Working Memory from Short-Term Memory

Models of Working Memory: Structural Assumptions

Capacity Theories of Working Memory

Working Memory as Strongly Activated Content

Working Memory in ACT

Loss of Information from WM: Ongoing Research

A Cueing Model of WM

WM as Attentional Capacity

The Genevan View

Inhibition of Unwanted Material

Domain-Specific Versus General Capacity Assumptions

WM and Phenomenological Experience



6. Long-Term Memory: Foundations
Memory Stores

Spread of Encoding Versus Meaningfulness

Entry of Information into LTM

Retrieval of Information from LTM: Cues

Separate Memory Stores for Different Kinds of Information

Encoding Specificity

Single-Stage and Two-Stage Models of Retrieval

Recognition Memory

Signal Detection Theory



7. Long-Term Memory: Ongoing Research
Spreading Activation Models

Propositional Coding: The Representation of Semantic Content

Secondary Cues, Recursive Processing, and Ecphory

Cyclical Retrieval/Global Memory Models

Priming and Spreading Activation Models

False Memory for Word Items

Context and Memory

Output Interference in LTM



8. Constructivism
Constructivism: Basic Tenets


Piaget: The Genevan View

Constructivism in Mainstream Psychology


9. Memory Change: Alterations in the Components of a Memory
Postevent Information and Memory Change

Nonconstructivist Models of Memory Change

Constructivist Models of Memory Change

Research Data Relating to Constructivist and Nonconstructivist Models

Is Incorrect Information Incorporated into the Experienced Memory

Source Monitering

Inference and Suggestion in Eyewitness Recollection

Memory for Faces

Eyewitness and Investigative Procedures

Emotion and Eyewitness Testimony



10. Long-Term Memory: Higher Order Structures

Spatial Contexts

Context Effects: A Thoery of Spatial Relations, Motions, and Constraint

Mental Models

Story Schemas

Schank's Model of Knowledge Structures and Goal-Based Theory

Kintsch's Model of Prose Comprehension

Inferences, the Situation Model, and Knowledge Structures: Ongoing Research

What Inferences are Generated in Natural Text Comprehension?



11. Autobiographical Memory
First Recollections

Causes of Childhood Amnesia

Fragment Memories

The Nature of Autobiographical Memory

Hierarchical Structure in Autobiographical Memory

Access and Retrieval in Autobiographical Memory

Accuracy and Distortion in Adult Recall

Goals, Perspective, and Meaning

Positive and Negative Affect in Episodic Memory

The Nature of Flashbulb Memory



12. Memory for Images
The Strength of Visual Memory

Weakness of Visual Memory

The Debate Over Coding

Propositional Versus Analog Codes: The Experimental Research

Neuroimaging Studies

Perception and Memory Images: Deployment of the Same Neural Structures

Kosslyn's Theory of Image Generation

Eidetic Imagery


13. Implicit Memory
Perceptual and Semantic Priming

Implicit Memory: Major Issues

Structural/Activation Theory

Processing/Episodic Models of Priming

Unconscious Perception and Priming

Interference in Implicit Memory

Implicit Memory as a Separate Memory System

Priming as Transfer of Processing

Associative Learning

Monitoring of Frequency and Temporal Information

Complex Associative Learning

Implicit Processing and Emotion



14. Traumatic Memory and False Memory
Memory and PTSD

Controlled Observational Research

Repression, Dissociation, and Consolidation Failure

An Epidemic of Recovered Memories

Satanic Rituals

Individuals Accused of Child Abuse

Recovered Memories: Empirical Findings

Trauma Associated with Incarceration: Memories of Concentration Camp Survivors

Memories of Crimes and Disasters

False Memories in Natural Contexts

False Memories in Young Children

Hypnosis and Memory



15. Disorders of Memory
The Amnesic Syndrome

The Amnesic Syndrome: Theoretical Models

Deficit in Short-Term Recall

Frontal Lobe Damage

Loss of Memory for Selective Information

Reduplicative Paramnesia and Capgras Syndrome


Memory and Aging




16. Neuroscience and Memory
The Neuron

The Human Brain

Neuroimaging Techniques

Memory Content and Distributed Processing

Strcutures that Mediate Memory

Memory Functions and Brain Structures: Neuroimaging Data

Storage of Declarative Memory Content: Perceptual Structures

Function and Location

Emotion and Memory

Intermediate Memory

17. Afterword
Why Do We Forget?

The Status of Information Coded on LTM

Meaning Codes and Higher Order Structures

Memory Change




"Human Memory is an important text in memory science. It is expansive and in-depth, covering topics of theoretical importance and practical implication. The complete coverage allows a professor to teach the important theory that all students must be familiar with as well as many of the most contemporary issues in memory science."

Bennett Schwartz, Ph.D.
Florida International University

"Human Memory is truly comprehensive. It covers the essentials of memory as well as many theoretical perspectives. I look forward to assigning this book to my Learning and Memory class."

Roberto R. Heredia, Ph.D
Texas A&M International University

The text was comprehensive but not overbearing. The author struck the right balance between the basic principles and specific details as they related to memory and learning.

Mrs Ariana Durando
Psychology Dept, Cuny Queens College
June 26, 2013
Key features
  • Provides greater coverage of naturalistic research (such as autobiographical or traumatic memory and memory change) and the constructivist position than found in competing books.  Naturalistic research includes topics of great inherent interest to undergraduate students.
  • A prologue introduces students to the nature of human memory, and a concluding epilogue integrates themes and issues (such as strong recall, forgetting, memory change, and false memories) from the book in a "big picture" sort of way.
  • Key terms are highlighted within the text when first introduced and defined in context, and chapters end with brief summaries and discussion questions.  Other pedagogical features may include an end-of-text glossary, boxes to highlight key studies, and highlighting of main points throughout each chapter.
  •  A chapter on Models of Long-Term Memory: Computer Simulations and an appendix on Computer Functioning are available online.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Sage College Publishing

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