Memory is defined as the process of storing and retreiving information. There are three major memory processes namely encoding, storing and retreival. During encoding, information is placed or stored in the memory by a mental representation. The information is being input to the mind for further retenetion. After being encoded the information or stimuli is now being stored. It is now placed in a permamnent mental state for later recall. The brain needs to process first as to what type of memory it has gathered before putting it to storage. This is where the idea of memory types emerge.
Sensory memory is the initial step in memory which involves a process that hold visual and auditory information in its raw form for a very brief period of time. Examples of these are iconic (visual) and echoic (audio) memory. Thesetypes of memories are being stored for about a quarter of a second or more. Sensory memory prevent s the brain from being overwhelmed from too many incoming stimuli because anything that you do not attend or respond to will vanish in a matter of seconds. Rather than that, it also gives us decision time, stability, playback and recognition.
After this process, the brain now determines whether to keep this memory for goof or not. Now it depends on which type of memory, either be long term or short term memory to which these informations can be retreived. This process is also called as the output of information from the memory system. From where this memory is retreived, now thats the big question. There are two types of memory retenetion namely short term memory and long term memory. Short term memory is also called the working memory that can hold only a limited amount of information and will remain up to 30 seconds (Cherry, 2010).
It can hold an average of 7 items for a short period of time for approximately 20-30 seconds. However, despite its limited capacity and duartion, it can possibly increase through “chunking”. Short term memory can help us be attentive on a certain stimuli since it excludes other uncessesary ones. It can also improves ones retention of information since the is rehearsed in the mind over and over. Long term memory, however, is the type of memory that can store almost unlimited amounts of information for a long period of time (Cherry, 2010).
There are two types of long term memory, first of which has another subdivision. Declarative memory involves memory of facts or evets. It can either be episodic or semantic. Episodic memory are knowledge of specific events, personal experiences or activities (such as naming or describing a favorite bar, songs, movies) while semantic memory involves knowledge of facts, concepts or words, definitions and language rules. Another type of long term memory is procedural which tackles about skills, habits, and things learned from classical conditioning. There are instances in which some people tend to forget.
What may be the reasons for this? Forgetting is defined as the inability to retreive, recall or organize information that was stored or still stored in long term memory (Copeland, 2006). Most forgetting occurs because information in working memory was never transferred to long term memory. It can also occur because we lost our access to information that is in long term memory. One proposed theory to this was the repression theory. According to Sigmund Freud, informatio that is theatening to our self is automatically driven away into our consciousness from which we cannot retreive.
It is one of his many proposed defense mechanisms. Another theory is the interference theory. It is defined as the inhibition of recall of certain information by the presence of other information in memory (Copeland, 2006). There are two types of interference: (1) retroactive and, (2) proactive. Retroactive interference is the decrease inability to recall previosuly learned information caused by learing new information while proactive is the exact opposite, defined as the decrease ability to learn new information caused by interference from existing information.
In order to avoid these, psychologists suggests a number of ways to improve retention and to aid learning. One can increase their study time in order to store more memory. It will also be useful to distribute practice in order not ot mix up things. Speed reading is also advisable. Though speed reading can lead to poorer comprehension and retention of materials, it can also be useful if the materials are needed only for a short period of time. Arousal is also a factor to be considered.
This means the stimulation of thoughts and conditioning of the mind. Sleep is an important factor to consider since sleep deprivation has a great effect in learning. References Cherry, Kendra. (2010). ‘Memory: An Overview of Memory’ Retreived from http://www. psychology. about. com/ Copeland, David E. , Radvansky, Gabriel A. (2006). ‘Memory retrieval and interference: working memory issues’. Retreived from http://www. sciencedirect. com/ Defense mechanisms. (2010). Retreived from http://www. changingminds. org/