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Memory Memory is the vital tool in learning and thinking . We all use memory inour everyday lives. Think about the first time you ever tied your shoe laces orrode a bike; those are all forms of memory , long term or short. If you do notremember anything from the past , you would never learn; thus unable to process.Without memory you would simply be exposed to new and unfamiliar things . Lifewould be absent and bare of the richness of it happy or sorrow. Many scientistsare still unsure of all that happens and what and how memory works. They arecertain , though , that it is involvement of chemical changes in the brain whichchanges the physical structure (Loftus p. 392).
It has been found after manyresearch , that new memory is stored in a section of the brain called thehippocampus (Loftus p. 392). Memory is acquired by a series of solidifyingevents , but more research is still needed to discover and fully understand(Loftus p. 392). Memory is broken down into three systems or categories .
These differentsystems are sensory memory , short-term , and long-term memory. Sensory memoryis the shortest and less extensive of the others. It can hold memory for only aninstance (Memory p. 32). Suppose you see a tree , the image of the tree isbriefly held by the sensory memory and quickly disappears unless you transfer itto your short-term memory (Rhodes p. 130).
The next level is called short-termmemory. The image or fact can be held as long as the brain is actively thinkingabout it (Loftus p. 392). For example , if you look up a number in the phonebook and repeat it to yourself until you dial it , that is a form of short-termmemory. Short-term memory lasts roughly half a minute unless it is transferredto long-term memory .
Long-term memory is the last and final stage of memory .It is so large and limitless it can hold nearly anything (Loftus p. 392). Long-term memory can hold something that is only a few moments old to many , manyyears. Memory can be measured in three ways . These techniques include recall,recognition, and relearning (Loftus p. 393).
Suppose someone asks you who was ata party . When you try to list everyone you saw , that is known as recall. Theother form is recognition , which contains recall. For example, the personasking you a list of names. The list contains names of people who were at theparty and names of those who were not at the party.
' In relearning you wouldmemorize the guest list after apparently forgetting it ' (Loftus p. 393). There are many questions to why people forget . Scientists still do notknow exactly how people forget . Not surprisingly , people forget more and moreas time progresses. The chief explanations for forgetting include interference,retrieval, failure , motivated forgetting, and constructive processes (Loftus p.393).
' Interference occurs when the remembering of certain learned materialblocks the memory of other learned material ' (Loftus p. 393). Retrieval failureis the inability to recall material or data that has been stored (Loftus p. 393).An example of this is when you try to think of a certain date or number , butfail to remember . Later it will come naturally without any effort. The thirdreason is a loss of memory caused by conscious or unconscious desires calledmotivated forgetting (Stevenson p. 393). Scientists believe that many of usforget in purpose because we choose to.
Motivated forgetting is closely relatedto a process motivated by the needs and wishes of the individual calledregression (Memory p. 33). A very good example is when people gamble. Whenpeople gamble they choose to remember all the times that they have won , and notthe times that they lose. The last explanation of forgetting is constructiveprocess. This is involves the unconscious invention of false memories . Memoriesbecame systematically distorted or changed over a long period of time (Memoryp.33).
When people try to remember a certain fact that has occurred a long timeago , the individual will tend to fill in the gaps with information that is nottrue . There are many ways to improve memory. Not surprisingly, practice makesperfect and the way people use the devices include rhymes, clues, mentalpictures , and other methods (Rhodes p. 130). Another method provides clues bymeans of an acronym , a word formed from the first letters or syllables of thewords (Rhodes p.132). A mental picture can be provided by the key-word method ,which is particularly useful in learning foreign words (Rhodes p. 135).
Mentalpictures can also be used to remember names. When you meet a person for thefirst time, pick out a physical feature of the individual and relate it to hisor her name . To use mnemonic devices , however, you can use it at anytime youwish. A good way to ensure remembering a certain part of information is to studyit over and over so you know it perfectly . The more you thoroughly studysomething, the chances are, the more lasting it will be.
There are times when uncommon memory conditions occur. Sometimes you ofpeople having photographic memory. No one really has a photographic memory , butthere are many people who have eidetic memory (Loftus p. 394). Eidetic memory isa picture that remains in a person's mind for a few second after the picture hasalready disappeared ( Loftus p. 394).
People who have this imagery can look at ascene and describe it , though it is not exactly accurate . It is rare to havethis way of remembering a picture . Scientists say that only about 5 to 10percent of children have this (Loftus p. 394). Even the children who do havethis lose it as they grow up. A more serious result is called amnesia . This canresult in disease , injury, or emotional shock (Loftus p. 394).
Many cases ofamnesia, even more severe ones are usually temporary and do not last very long.The more severe the injury the greater the loss of memory . Football players andother sport players have the greatest chance of being affected. Someone whosuffers brain damage from a car accident might lose months of years of memory .In general , memories are less clear and detailed than perceptions , butoccasionally a remembered image is complete in every detail .
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