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Memory Functions

  1. James S. Nairne1,
  2. Josefa N. S. Pandeirada2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0536

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Nairne, J. S. and Pandeirada, J. N. S. 2010. Memory Functions. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Purdue University

  2. 2

    University of Santiago, Portugal

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Defined generally, memory is the capacity to preserve and recover information. Yet neither memory's operation nor its structures are easily understood without some consideration of function. Like other biological systems, the capacity to remember evolved because of its fitness-enhancing properties. Memory helped solve adaptive problems that, in turn, increased the chances of survival and genetic transmission. As a result, memory's operating characteristics likely bear the imprints of the specific selection pressures that shaped their development.


  • evolution;
  • memory;
  • survival;
  • function