NCERT Class 11 Psychology Human Memory

Read and download NCERT Class 11 Psychology Human Memory chapter in NCERT book for Class 11 Psychology. You can download latest NCERT eBooks for 2022 chapter wise in PDF format free from This Psychology textbook for Class 11 is designed by NCERT and is very useful for students. Please also refer to the NCERT solutions for Class 11 Psychology to understand the answers of the exercise questions given at the end of this chapter

Human Memory Class 11 Psychology NCERT

Class 11 Psychology students should refer to the following NCERT Book chapter Human Memory in standard 11. This NCERT Book for Grade 11 Psychology will be very useful for exams and help you to score good marks

Human Memory NCERT Class 11

Human Memory


All of us are aware of the tricks that memory plays on us throughout our lives. Have you ever felt embarrassed because you could not remember the name of a known person you were talking to? Or anxious and helpless because everything you memorised well the previous day before taking your examination has suddenly become unavailable? Or felt excited because you can now flawlessly recite lines of a famous poem you had learnt as a child? Memory indeed is a very fascinating yet intriguing human faculty. It functions to preserve our sense of who we are, maintains our interpersonal relationships and helps us in solving problems and taking decisions.

Since memory is central to almost all cognitive processes such as perception, thinking and problem solving, psychologists have attempted to understand the manner in which any information is committed to memory, the mechanisms through which it is retained over a period of time, the reasons why itis lost from memory, and the techniques which can lead to memory improvement. In this chapter, we shall examine all these aspects of memory and understand various theories which explain the mechanisms of memory.

The history of psychological research on memory spans over hundred years. The first systematic exploration of memory is credited to Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist of late nineteenth century (1885). He carried out many experiments on himself and found that we do not forget the learned material at an even pace or completely. Initially the rate of forgetting is faster but eventually it stabilises. Another view on memory was suggested by Frederick Bartlett (1932) who contended that memory is not passive but an active process.

With the help of meaningful verbal materials such as stories and texts, he demonstrated that memory is a constructive process. That is, what we memorise and store undergoes many changes and modifications over time. So there is a qualitative difference in what was initially memorised by us and what we retrieve or recall later. There are other psychologists who have influenced memory research in a major way. We shall review their contributions in this chapter at appropriate places.


Memory refers to retaining and recalling information over a period of time, depending upon the nature of cognitive task you are required to perform. It might be necessary to hold an information for a few seconds. For example, you use your memory to retain an unfamiliar telephone number till you have reached the telephone instrument to dial, or for many years you still remember the techniques of addition and subtraction which you perhaps learned during your early schooling. Memory is conceptualised as a process consisting of three independent, though interrelated stages. These are encoding, storage, and retrieval. Any information received by us necessarily goes through these stages.

(a) Encoding is the first stage which refers to a process by which information is recorded and registered for the first time so that it becomes usable by our memory system. Whenever an external stimulus impinges on our sensory organs, it generates neural impulses. These are received in different areas of our brain for further processing. In encoding, incoming information is received and some meaning is derived. It is then represented in a way so that it can be processed further.

(b) Storage is the second stage of memory. Information which was encoded must also be stored so that it can be put to use later. Storage, therefore, refers to the process through which information is retained and held over a period of time.

(c) Retrieval is the third stage of memory. Information can be used only when one is able to recover it from her/his memory. Retrieval refers to bringing the stored information to her/his awareness so that it can be used for performing various cognitive tasks such as  problem solving or decision-making. It maybe interesting to note that memory failure can occur at any of these stages. You may fail to recall an information because you did not encode it properly, or the storage was weak so you could not access or retrieve it when required.

Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 11 Psychology - Human Memory