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Memory Biases


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A memory bias is a type of cognitive bias, which may either enhance or impair the recall of memory, or they may alter the content of what we report remembering. There are many types of memory biases, and they include:


* Choice-supportive bias - states that chosen options are remembered as better than rejected options (Mather, Shafir & Johnson, 2000).

* Classroom effect - states that some portion of student performance is explained by the classroom environment and teacher as opposed to purely individual factors.

* Context effect - states that cognition and memory are dependent on context, such that out-of-context memories are more difficult to retrieve than in-context memories (i.e, recall time and accuracy for a work-related memory will be lower at home, and vice versa).

* Hindsight bias - sometimes called the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect, is the inclination to see past events as being predictable.

* Humor effect - states that humorous items are more easily remembered than non-humorous ones, which might be explained by the distinctiveness of humor, the increased cognitive processing time to understand the humor, or the emotional arousal caused by the humor.

* Infantile amnesia - states that few memories are retained from before age 2.

* Generation effect - states that self-generated information is remembered best.

* Lag effect

* Levels-of-processing effect - states that different methods of encoding information into memory have different levels of effectiveness (Craik & Lockhart, 1972).

* List-length effect

* Mere exposure effect - states that familiarity increases liking.

* Misinformation effect - states that misinformation affects people's reports of their own memory.

* Modality effect - states that memory recall is higher for the last items of a list when the list items were received auditorily versus visually.

* Mood congruent memory bias - states that information congruent with one's current mood is remembered best.

* Next-in-line effect

* Part-list cueing effect - being shown some items from a list makes it harder to retrieve the other items (e.g., Slamecka, 1968).

* Picture superiority effect - states that concepts are much more likely to be remembered experientially if they are presented as pictures rather than as words.

* Positivity effect - states that older adults favor positive over negative information in their memories.

* Processing difficulty effect - see Levels-of-processing effect.

* Primacy effect - states that the first items on a list show an advantage in memory.

* Recency effect - states that the last items on a list show an advantage in memory.

* Rosy retrospection - states that the past is remembered as better than it really was.

* Serial position effect - states that items at the beginning of a list are the easiest to recall, followed by the items near the end of a list; items in the middle are the least likely to be remembered.

* Self-generation effect - states that people are better able to recall memories of statements that they have generated than similar statements generated by others.

* Self-relevance effect - states that memories considered self-relevant are better recalled than other, similar information

* Spacing effect - states that while you are more likely to remember material if exposed to it many times, you will be much more likely to remember it if the exposures are repeated over a longer span of time.

* Suffix effect - states that there is considerable impairment of the Recency effect, if a redundant suffix item is added to a list, which the subject is not required to recall (Morton, Crowder & Prussin, 1972).

* Testing effect - states that frequent testing of material that has been committed to memory improves memory recall more than simply study of the material without testing.

* Verbatim effect - states that the "gist" of what someone has said is better remembered than the verbatim wording (Poppenk, Walia, Joanisse, Danckert, & Köhler, 2006)

* Von Restorff effect - states that an item that "stands out like a sore thumb" is more likely to be remembered than other items (von Restorff, 1933).

* Zeigarnik effect - states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones.

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