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Psychology Glossary

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Iconic Memory

Humans remember sounds and words in slightly different ways. Memory for visual stimuli is referred to as iconic memory, which can be defined as very brief sensory memory of some visual stimuli, that occur in the form of mental pictures. For example, if I ask you to look at a picture and then close your eyes and try to see the picture, what you can "see" in your mind's eye is an iconic memory of the image in the picture. Typically, iconic memories are stored for slightly shorter periods of time than echoic memories (auditory memories). Please be aware that both echoic and iconic memories are sensory memories, not types of long-term memory, and thus are very temporary and fade quickly.

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