what is memory?

Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 11:52 pm
This is part of my senior english project please comment!

Have you ever thought about the nature of memory? Considered how it functions? How it can be used in day to day life? In fact most dont realize that memory is involved in every single task performed by them throughout any given day. Everything from working to getting dressed in the morning to even just talking is all dependent on one’s memory. Without people being able to remember anything, they wouldn’t be able to store or recall any information, crippling them to do anything throughtout their daily life.

First of all, memory is the mental process that enables us to acquire, retain, and retrieve information. This means that memory is the brains ability to gather information, store it, and then recall it at a later time or when it is needed. Memory consists of 3 different stages. The first is encoding,which is the process of transforming information to be stored. The second stage is storage, which is the maintaining of the information, this is the permanent recording of the information within the brain. Lastly, the third stage is the retrieval of the information, which is the recalling of the information at the appropriate time.

We can then further calssify memory into 3 different types: sensory, short term, and long term. Before explaining these three types one must know how this information is put into each type. All information that goes through the brain and has to do with memory gets put through a filter. The information first goes through the sensory memory, here the top 15% of information is stored and then the rest is pushed on. The information that is pushed on then goes to the short term memory. Here the next top 15% of information that was pushed through gets stored. The last 70% is then stored in your long term memory. So the top 30% of your information is stored within your sensory and short term memory and the remaining 70% including bits and pieces from the other 30% are stored in your long term memory.

These 3 types of memory are all different because of how precise each type is and how much capacity each has. For instance your sensory memory has a remembering time of about three to five seconds but is very precise, meaning that what you remembered has a very high chance of being 100% correct. Your short term memory has a remembering time of about thirty seconds, but what you remembered is about 60% likely to be 100% correct. Lastly your long term memory has a very low chance of being 100% correct but has an unlimited amount of storage. The reason for long term memory to be so inaccurate is because this is where everything in your life is stored, such as all of your personal events, everything that was learned for school/work and even general knowledgde of how to get dressed.

One of the negative things that can happen with human’s memories is that it gets forgotten and the information can’t be retrieved at all. . One type of forgetting is proactive interference, which is when older information gets in the way of the newer information or vice versa. This type of forgetting can occur at any time and an example would be calling a new girlfriend by an old girlfriend’s name. Another type of forgetting is repression, which is a forced forgetting. This is a defense mechanism that actually helps give the person a break when they have to face an overwhelming situation. This usually happens when someone forgets about something and they only remember when someone else reminders them. Many times forgetting is a bad thing and isn’t something people want to experience on a daily occasion, but sometimes it’s beneficial for mental health.

To end, how about a few ways to help improve ones memory:

1.An effective and very useful strategy is the use of a mnemonic device. These are techniques that help aperson recall information from their long term memory. One mnemonic device rhymes, which is a good way to help with organization. A famous rhyme is “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” even though it’s a rhyme from the first grade many adults still use it today to remember that fact.

2. The association device, which is the comparison between something that’s already taught to something that wants to be taught. An example of this device is the association from the word homes to the five great lakes. Through these small words one can actually remember an entire concept and retrieve it from their long term memory, but this method does have the poorest retrieval.

3.The method of loci. This strategy allows you to take something that doesn’t make sense and make meaning of it. A popular method of loci is used to answer the question about naming the planets. The phrase “My very educated mother just served us nachos” stands for the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Also, even though this is also a first grade strategy it actually works at any age and many adults still use this strategy to retrieve information from their long term memory.

An individual’s memory is a very effective tool that is needed for everyday living and for human life. With better understanding on how memory works and through the right strategies and techniques everyone could improve their memory, which would in turn benefit the overall health of their brain helping them live better more fulfilled lives.
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Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 01:20 pm
A previous A2K discussion might give you some additional ideas to work with:
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Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 03:17 pm
Very interesting, for my language class the way we learn is practicing the words by writing them down and making up easy to remember sayings to store them in our long term memory. Excellent report Smile
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Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2014 04:38 pm
These 3 types of memory are all different because of how precise each type is and how much capacity each has...

Following your line of thinking, there are four types of memory, and possibly the most important... muscle memory, what all people and animals have.

"The truth of things will not comply with our conceits, and interests. Our belief or disbelief of a thing does not alter the nature of things” Tillotson
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