I’d like to explain what it’s like to remember. This is your brain’s potential that you use every day. This is the capacity at the right time to recall, save and retrieve the information required. Memory has no internal production source, it is created from the outside. It is a representation of what has been viewed, observed, devoted and understood by man before. You watched a science movie about wild animals, for instance. Your teacher asks the leading questions after that. You start to remember when you think about what to answer. This is the outcome of processes such as a person’s capture, storage and reproduction of a variety of material. Undoubtedly, you cannot remember everything word by word; however, the facts that got your interest were remembered by you, and, due to them, you can recall many other ones. These memory processes are always in unity, but in each specific case, one of them becomes the most active.
Some facts can be remembered for a long time, and some of them are forgotten in a few hours. It is understandably why, since every human has two types of memory: short-term and long-term one. A lot of information is not kept in mind. Short-term memory is an active type of memory, due to which the information that is processing plays an important role. In Freudian psychology this type of memory is called consciousness. The information contained in the short-term memory depends on the sensory one. Most of the information contained in short-term memory is stored for about 20 to 30 seconds, but this time can be reduced to only a few seconds if there is no repetition of information or active maintenance in memory. Many of our short-term memories are quickly forgotten, giving way to this information contained in the memory of the long-term. Short-term memory that allows people answering complex questions without any preparation, improvise and quickly assess any kind of situations. Previously it was believed that each person has a certain capacity of short-term memory, but recent research in the field of cognitive sciences and psychology has proved that we can train it.
In 1956 George Miller conducted a research, evaluating the limited capacity of short-term memory in the paper “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.” He stated that people are limited in the amount of information that they can remember. Nonetheless, any memory can be trained. For instance, special “brain trainings “conducting: one should watch some certain number of images and, after that, he or she has to determine, what image appeared earlier. Physical training has a positive impact not only on a short-term memory, but also on one’s attentiveness. Of course, sleep is the third necessary “influencer” on one’s memory.
Long-term memory can store information for hours, weeks or even a lifetime. It depends on the importance and frequency of recalling the information received. It is known that these types of memory are stored in different areas of the brain. Long-term memory is needed when information needs to be held or for only a few minutes or throughout the life span. Long-term memory is more like an archive: in it certain elements selected from short-term memory are subdivided into sets of headings, and then stored for a more or less long time. The capacity and duration of long-term memory are limitless. They depend on the importance for the subject of memorized information, as well as on the way it is coded, systematized and reproduced. If some event is repeated many times, it is easier to remember and for a longer period than an accidental phenomenon. For example, people remember their ways to work, or you remember the way to school.
You can train you long-term memory with using interesting information for remembering. Remembering large amounts of information, you should divide them into parts. Additionally, try to use associations. This method consists in aligning the associative series for the memorized object. There is also a method of sound association that can be used to learn a foreign language, associating a foreign word with a word in its native language.
The idea of the existence of two types of memory got a second wind after the emergence of cybernetics. In 1968 the researchers Atkinson and Shiffrin developed a multiple memory model, introducing additional elements that are not only structural, but also dynamic. According to their model, information is not simply pumped from one block to another, but it is copied by transferring it to other codes. First of all, the information arrives at numerous sensory registers, where each stimulus is characterized by a set of primary signs. Further information enters a short-term storage where it is stored for a certain period of time, the duration of which usually depends on the individual. In order to maintain information in short-term storage, the subject creates a kind of buffer capacity for repetition, capable of holding a small number of elements for about 30 seconds.
Additionally, the researchers singled out in a short-term storage a special auditory verbal-language system, which ensures the repetition of information. Each of the elements entering the buffer displaces one of the elements already there. The flow of elements into the buffer can be controlled. Short-term storage is associated with long-term storage, from which verbal associations and the information necessary for performing current tasks can come. Extraction of information from a long-term repository requires an appropriate choice of strategy. One of the operations of controlling the flow of information is its repetition in a short-term storage. The information from the short-term storage enters the long-term as a result of recoding into a special code that structures the information, thus ensuring its long-term storage.
Summing it up, it should be noted that memory is an incredibly important part of one’s life. That is why, a state when one partly or fully loses his or her memory is an illness and leads to mental “death”. In fact, one’s memories are the biggest treasure that he or she can have, since they are what make everyone a human. People lose their lives and identity when they lose memory; that is why it is so precious.
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