Memory processes are intensively studied in the scientific world and especially through Neuroscience. We know many things, but we still ignore many others. Here are some of the basic topics to understand how your memory works and the implications in your daily life.
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Types of Memory
Memory actually takes many different forms. We know that when we store something in memory, we are storing information. But, what information it is and how long we retain it determines what type it is.
The main categories are short term memory (or working memory) and long-term memory, depending on the amount of time it is stored in our brains. Both can weaken due to age or a variety of reasons and clinical conditions that affect them.
Refers to the storage of information over an extended period of time. If you can recall something that happened more than a few moments, hours or decades ago, then it is a long-term memory.
This information is outside our awareness, but can be recalled into the working memory to be used when needed.
In contrast to long-term memory, short-term memory is the very brief time in which something is considered before it is discarded or transferred to long-term memory.
Types of Long-Term Memory
It is generally divided into two types: declarative (explicit) and non-declarative (implicit).
The Explicit memories, also known as declarative memories, include all the memories that are available in consciousness. Explicit memory can be divided into episodic (specific events) and semantic (knowledge about the world).
Implicit memories are mostly unconscious. This type includes procedural memory, which involves memories of body movement and how to use objects in the environment. How to drive a car or use a computer are examples of procedural memories.
What Is Short Term Memory?
Short term memory, also called working memory, is the memory that allows us to retain a limited amount of information for a relatively short period of time. This type of memory is characterized by:
- Limited capacity. Generally, the information we store in short-term memory is limited to 7 items, with a variation of plus or minus 2 items. In fact, we could say that our memory is chained to the number seven.
Of course, there are people who have developed an exceptional short-term memory, but these are isolated cases. That ability to keep information in memory also depends on how meaningful it is to us. Remembering numbers is not the same as remembering words that have meaning or emotional resonance.