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Sensory memory (SM) is an automatic response, not under conscious control. It deals with the input from the senses. The information people received which is stored in sensory memory is just long enough to be transferred to short-term memory.
The information in SM is the "raw data" of a person's overall sensory experience. There are four common features to all forms of SM:
- The formation of a SM trace is independent of attention to the stimulus.
- The information stored in SM is modality specific. This means for example, that echoic memory is only for storing auditory information, and haptic memory is only for storing tactile information.
- Each SM store has an immense amount of detail.
- Each SM trace is very brief and lasts a very short period of time. Once the SM trace has decayed or is replaced by a new memory, the information stored is no longer accessible and is ultimately lost.
The SM is made up of stores of different kinds of information. Each has different rates of information processing and decay. Genetics also plays a role in SM capacity.
- Carlson, Neil R. 2010. Psychology the science of behavior. Pearson, 232. ISBN 9780205645244
- Winkler, Istvan & Nelson Cowan 2005. From sensory to long-term memory: evidence from auditory memory reactivation studies. Experimental Psychology 52 (1): 3–20.
- Elizabeth Irvine 2011. Philosophical psychology. Rich Experience and Sensory Memory. 24, 2, 159-176