The Memory Process

The Memory Process Paper

Discussed will be the conception of long-term memory, short-term memory, working memory, and encoding and retrieval’s role in the memory process. The test chosen was a memory test online that tested memory by remembering faces. The test was designed to test an individual’s short-term memory. The test contained visual and verbal memory.

Working Memory, Short-term Memory, and Long-term Memory

Long-term memory and short-term memory are two stages for storing memories. According to, Pastorino and Doyle-Portillo (2009), “short-term memory is a system of capacity and duration” (p. 242).  In short-term memory, the information is held a few seconds before sending the information to long-term memory. Information is processed in short-term memory and then it is moved to long-term memory (Pastorino and Doyle-Portillo, 2009). As for long-term memory, it is a “system of memory that works to store memories for a long time perhaps even permanently” (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2009, p. 242).

Long-term memory consists of various elements: Procedural memory; used for habits and skills. For example, learning how to tie shoes or writing. Declarative memory; memory of facts. For example, faces, names, and dates (e.g. birthday and anniversary). Episodic memory; is used for things that happen in a specific place or time, or situation. For example, setting up a birthday party for a child on a certain date, or how and when I learned to count. Semantic memory; used for basic facts and knowledge.  For example, Reading a chapter in a textbook (Feldman, 2009).

Selected Test and Test Results

I selected an online memory test containing two parts: visual memory and verbal memory. The visual test I chose consisted of eight pictures of students in a chess club. Four of then won the chess game and four lost all of the chess game matches. Therefore, I had to remember the four students that won the chess game. The greatest number of trials was 120, and the number of trials was what I scored.

The memory visual score I received was 115. According to the game, receiving a low score is good compared to receiving a high score (eight is the highest score because there were only eight students who won the chess game and the number of trials). People who have played this game finished with an average of 20-25 trials. If a person scoring fewer than 14 trials, he or she scored higher than 75% of those who took the same test. If a person scored more than 60 trials, which was my score, and according to the scores, I did worse than 75% of those people who took the test.

My score was 115 on the visual memory test. I had to figure out the directions of the game, which took me some time. When I reached the halfway point in the test, I finally understood the test. It appeared that some of the students I thought won the chess game did not win, and the students I thought won did not win. By this time, I noticed I was seeing the same faces over and over, and it felt like de ja vu. Some students were on their twice, back-to-back with a different student. After seeing the faces they became familiar, and I knew which students won the chess game; however,  it took 115 trials until I finally got it.

The Role of Encoding and Retrieval in the Memory Process in Relation to the Visual Memory Test

Encoding is inputting information into memory. According to Terry (2009), “encoding refers to the acquisition of information: the initial information of a memory trace” (p. 255). Before I took the online visual memory test, the test appeared easy; however, I realized it was confusing. The objective of the game was to remember the winners; however, all eight students were winners at some time or another. I had to find which student beat the other student in the chess game. I remembered the students who won by remembering their faces. Retrieval is the process of assessing information in memory and accessing it into consciousness (Pastorino and Doyle-Portillo, 2009). Retrieval occurs when a cue is sent into long-term memory to search for encoded memories that are stored. For example, when taking the memory test, I had to remember the chess player’s faces who looked like the winner.

Variables Associated with Encoding Information and Ease of Retrieval

Variables are events, behaviors, or other characteristics that may change or vary in some way (Feldman, 2009). The score I received was 115 because of the confusion I had while taking the test. I received a phone call while taking the test and lost my concentration. As I spoke to my son on the phone, I had forgotten the faces of the students upon returning to finish the test. I believe that if I had taken the test with no distractions (the phone) I believe I could have gotten a lower score.


This paper discussed the memory test I took online, and the score I received. These concepts of long-term memory, short-term memory, working memory, and their role of encoding and retrieval in the memory process discussed how individuals may think he or she knows the answer. However, after taking the online memory test, one can see how his or her results may or may not be what he or she expected (Memory Loss and the Brain, 2004). After taking the test and receiving my score, I determined that my memory functions at an average level.



Feldman, R.S. (2009). Essentials of understanding psychology (8th ed.). New York, NY:

McGraw Hill.

Memory Loss and the Brain (2004). Verbal Memory Test, Understanding Your Score.

Retrieved from Memory Loss and the Brain website:

Pastorino, E., & Doyle-Portillo, S. (2009). What is psychology? (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:


Terry, W.S. (2009). Learning and memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures (4th

ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

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