What is Memory?

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What is Memory?

What is Memory?

Memory is the mental activity of recalling information that you have learned or experienced. memory is an organism’s ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. There are three major processes involved in memory: encoding, storage and retrieval.

Stages of memory foundation and maintenance

In order to form new memories, information must be changed into a usable form, which occurs through the process known as encoding. Once the information has been successfully encoded, it must be stored in memory for later use. Much of this stored memory lies outside of our awareness most of the time, except when we actually need to use it. The retrieval process allows us to bring stored memories into conscious awareness.

Acquisition →

Consolidation →


New information enters your brain along pathways between neurons. The key to encoding information into your memory is concentration; unless you focus on information intently, it goes “in one ear and out the other.This is why teachers are

always nagging students to pay attention!

If youve concentrated well enough to encode new information in your brain, the hippocampus sends a signal to store the information as longterm memory. This happens more easily if it’s related to something you already know,

or if it stimulates an emotional response.

When you need to recall information, your brain has to activate the same pattern of nerve cells it used to store it. The more frequently you need the information, the easier it is to retrieve it along with healthy nerve cell connections.

Process Of Memory:

·         Sensory Memory

Sensory memory is the earliest stage of memory. Sensory memory corresponds approximately to the initial 200–500 milliseconds after an item is perceived. The ability to look at an item, and remember what it looked like with just a second of observation, or memorisation.

There are many types of sensory memories. Iconic memory is a type of sensory memory that briefly stores an image which has been perceived for a small duration. Echoic memory is another type of sensory memory that briefly stores sounds which has been perceived for a small duration.

·         Short-Term Memory

        Short-term memory allows recall for a period of several seconds to a minute without rehearsal. Its capacity is also very limited. Short-term memory, also known as active memory, is the information we are currently aware of or thinking about. In Freudian psychology, this memory would be referred to as the conscious mind. Most of the information stored in active memory will be kept for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. While many of our short-term memories are quickly forgotten, attending to this information allows it to continue on the next stage – long-term memory.

·         Long-Term Memory

        Long-term memory refers to the continuing storage of information. The storage in sensory memory and short-term memory generally have a strictly limited capacity and duration, which means that information is not retained indefinitely. By contrast, long-term memory can store much larger quantities of information for potentially unlimited duration (sometimes a whole life span). Its capacity is immeasurably large.

Models Of Memory

Models of memory provide abstract representations of how memory is believed to work.

Atkinson-Shiffrin model

The multi-store model (also known as the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model) was first recognised in 1968 by Atkinson and Shiffrin.

The multi-store model has been criticised for being too simplistic. For instance, long-term memory is believed to be actually made up of multiple subcomponents, such as episodic and procedural memory. It also proposes that rehearsal is the only mechanism by which information eventually reaches long-term storage, but evidence shows us capable of remembering things without rehearsal.

The model also shows all the memory stores as being a single unit whereas research into this shows differently. For example, short-term memory can be broken up into different units such as visual information and acoustic information. Patient KF proves this. Patient KF wasbrain damaged and had problems with his short term memory. He had problems with things such as spoken numbers, letters and words and with significant sounds (such as doorbells and cats meowing). Other parts of short term memory were unaffected, such as visual (pictures)

It also shows the sensory store as a single unit whilst we know that the sensory store is split up into several different parts such as taste, vision, and hearing.

Working memory

In 1974 Baddeley and Hitch proposed a working memory model which replaced the concept of general short term memory with specific, active components. In this model, working memory consists of three basic stores: the central executive, the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad. In 2000 this model was expanded with the multimodal episodic buffer.

The working memory model.

The central executive essentially acts as attention. It channels information to the three-component processes: the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and the episodic buffer.

The phonological loop stores auditory information by silently rehearsing sounds or words in a continuous loop: the articulatory process (for example the repetition of a telephone number over and over again). A shortlist of data is easier to remember.

The visuospatial sketchpad stores visual and spatial information. It is engaged when performing spatial tasks (such as judging distances) or visual ones (such as counting the windows on a house or imagining images).

The episodic buffer is dedicated to linking information across domains to form integrated units of visual, spatial, and verbal information and chronological ordering (e.g., the memory of a story or a movie scene). The episodic buffer is also assumed to have links to long-term memory and semantical meaning.

The working memory model explains many practical observations, such as why it is easier to do two different tasks (one verbal and one visual) than two similar tasks (e.g., two visual), and the aforementioned word-length effect. However, the concept of a central executive as noted here has been criticised as inadequate and vague.


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