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Memory Essay

memory essays

Example #1

What is memory? Is it a concrete and tangible atom, which, once stored, can be retrieved by a methodical search or can it get lost in the murky recesses of our minds? Are our memories stored in separate areas or as part of one whole? In everyday conversation we regularly refer to memory in ways which suggest it to contain selective processes – ‘I have a terrible memory for names’, or ‘I never forget a face’ but is it really the case that our memory has specialized systems for the recall of certain information, or is it that memory is, in fact, a single system? Any discussion of the way in which we store information that can be accessed at a later date must address the issues raised here.

To look first at an overview of the architecture of our memories, we are probably all familiar with the idea of a short term and a long term memory. These two oft-used terms, along with the sensory memory, combine to make up the modal model. Several theorists such as Waugh & Newman (1965) have proposed a model in which we have these three separate systems, arranged in a hierarchy.

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Sensory stores feed into a phonetically coded short term memory via selective attention, and information then moves to a semantically coded long term memory. We will now look at each of these modules in turn and examine the ideas and evidence underlying each.

The sensory memory is proposed to be the interface with the outside world. Information is received from each of our senses (a separate, modality-specific store is suggested for each sense) and held in a buffer which very quickly decays and is updated. There is good evidence for the existence of the brief storage of a verbatim copy of sensory input in several sensory modalities.

The two most studied are in the visual and auditory modalities, dubbed by Neisser ‘iconic’ and ‘echoic’ memory respectively. Sperling (1960) provided some of the most striking evidence to date when testing recall of a briefly shown (50 msec) 3*4 grid of letters. The results were that typically, 4 letters were recalled.

However, if given an auditory cue to focus on one row, 3 of the 4 letters in that row were recalled, suggesting that the amount of information available a fraction of a second after the stimulus had been shown was a great deal more than was available a second or so later. Indeed, further similar experiments have suggested that the iconic store decays within about 0.5 sec.

Treisman (1964) and Darwin, Turvey, and Crowder (1972) have investigated echoic memory using similar experiments and have found a similar decay effect, though in the auditory modality this appears to be of the order of around two seconds. Such experiments as outlined above seem to provide good evidence for the existence of a sensory store which is quite separate from short term and long term memories and suggests that the human memory is modular at least in this respect. The existence of a sensory store also has great intuitive appeal when we consider the possible uses of such a system.

Sensory memory appears to be preattentive and this seems a useful facility that could be held briefly to provide a steady input for later, conscious processing. Using this line of reasoning it could then be argued that sensory memory is in fact a by-product of sensory processing rather than a memory system in its own right. Whilst this part of memory seems intuitively and experimentally to fit within a modular framework the dichotomy between short term and long term memory is a more contentious area.

The arguments forwarded by advocates of the stores’ models suggest that some information from the sensory store will be particularly useful to the organism and will, therefore, be attended to for further processing, and will thus find it’s way into the short term memory. This system is thought to be of limited capacity and is fragile – the information can easily be lost if distracted.

Experiments have been conducted to investigate the capacity of the short term store, Miller (1956) concluding that it’s span (calculated from the rote recall of a series of random digits) is 7 +/- 2. If information is to be stored for a longer period of time it is passed to the long term store, of which there are no known limits. Atkinson & Shiffrin (1971) have suggested that the transfer between the two stores is facilitated by the rehearsal of the information and that the greater the rehearsal, the stronger the storage of the memory.

Several phenomena have been proposed as evidence for separate systems of long term and short term memory, the main two categories can be summarised as follows: pathological evidence from brain-damaged subjects who exhibit memory disorders and psychological evidence from normal subjects. To consider first the evidence from normal subjects, one observation that seems to lend support to the modularity argument comes from the serial recall test. Subjects repeating a list of words tend to exhibit primacy and recency effects, that is they remember best the first and last few words.

It is argued that the recency effect is a product of the short term memory and that the primacy effect is a consequence of long term memory. Further support comes from the fact that these two effects can be manipulated independently, by for example making the subjects count backward for 10 sec after hearing a list of digit strings, which eliminates the recency effect, e.g. (Glanzer & Cunitz 1966).

This also shows the theorized fragility of short term memory and it’s susceptibility to distraction. Evidence for STM/LTM distinctions come from neuropsychology in the form of brain-damaged subjects who exhibit differing levels of amnesia. Brain damage lends itself to two explanations for the poor performance of certain tasks. Mass action or equipotentiality suggests that removing/damaging equal amounts of two brains would lead to equal impairment of the performance, and this view gains some support from Lashley’s studies of lesions in rat’s brains.

Contrarily, a modularity theory suggesting domain specificity of the brain would anticipate that damaging different parts of the brains would lead to impairments of different tasks. Whilst it could be argued that these particular tasks are simply very demanding on resources and are thus performed badly if a double dissociation can be found between two subjects, that is, if one amnesic subject performs well on task A but poorly on task B whilst another subject exhibits the opposite then it would seem a fair assumption that there were indeed two processes for the two tasks. In practice, just such double dissociations have been found and purported to be evidence of modularity.

Patients suffering from Korsakoff’s syndrome (amnesia through chronic alcohol abuse) exhibit poor long term memory whilst having a seemingly good short term memory. For example, they are well able to hold normal conversations (where it is essential to remember what the other person has just said) and experiments have shown them to have normal intelligence on the WAIS, normal digit spans and also to exhibit normal recency effects but impaired primacy effects (Baddeley & Warrington 1970).

These findings suggest a normally functioning short term memory in the face of poor long term memory. Less common are patients who have normal long term recall but impaired short term recall, although cases have been found. Shallice & Warrington (1970) report the case of KF who had no difficulty with long term learning but whose digit span was grossly impaired and who only had a very small recency effect.

Whilst the evidence here does seem to back up the modularity of STM and LTM, many criticisms have been leveled at these theories, often highlighting the over-simplification of their explanations of unitary and uniform storage in each store. Experimental information has suggested at least two different long term stores, e.g. episodic and semantic memory (Tulving, 1972). Problems also arise when we consider that patients have been found with normal LTM but impaired STM, which seems in conflict with the idea that long term store is achieved via short term store.

These problems have lead researchers such as Baddeley & Hitch (1974) and revised and updated by Baddeley (1986) to propose a modular theory in which the internal structure of the STM is revised and elaborated upon. Baddeley proposed that the STM consists of a central executive (a processor which is not expanded on in much depth) which utilizes a key element of the STM; the ‘phonological loop’. This can be used as a store for visually or phonetically coded information while the STM is working and was hypothesized as a direct result of neuropsychological evidence (Shallice & Warrington 1974) which refuted Baddeley’s earlier attempts to revise the modal theory.

This revised working memory model accounts for and is supported by psychological and pathological findings. With a system of such complexity as the memory, it is very difficult to isolate individual functions and phenomena. Whilst the human brain does seem to exhibit some physical modularity, the definite proof is very hard to obtain, though progress is being made through the study of neuropsychology in brains that function abnormally.

The commonality of memory dysfunction from similar damaged brain regions does strongly suggest that human memory is to some extent organized in a modular fashion. Specific memory impairments, for example in face recognition, suggest that the brain has specialized functions for remembering certain classes of stimuli, and it does not seem intuitively unreasonable that it should also have a physically modular structure. (approx 2,000 words) BibliographyBaddeley, A.D. Human Memory: Theory and Practice. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990. Eysenck, M.W. & Keane M.T. Cognitive Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991. Mayes, A.R. Human Organic Memory Disorders. Cambridge, 1988. Parkin, A.J. Memory, and Amnesia. Basil Blackwell, 1987.

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Example #2

Memory is the process of storing and retrieving information in the brain. Memory is viewed as a three-step process, which includes sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Along with memory there is also forgetting. There are two types of forgetting, availability and accessibility.

Sensory memory is a memory that continues the sensation of a stimulus after that stimulus ends. The two major types of sensory memory are iconic and echoic. Iconic memory occurs when a visual stimulus produces a brief memory trace. This is called an icon. Echoic memory is the brief registration of sounds or echos in memory. A major factor that influences what will be remembered is attention.

Close attention enhances memory by focusing on a limited range of stimuli. The capacity for sensory memory is very small. The duration for icons lasts about a half of a second. Echoes last for around four seconds.

Short-term memory holds information for fairly short intervals. It’s duration ranges from 15 to no more than 30 seconds. The capacity of short-term memory is very limited due to the studies of memory span. The 3 basic processes studied with memory are encoding storage and retrieval. They all have an impact on short-term memory.

Encoding is acoustic, where remembering has to do with acquiring the information in the beginning. It also can be visual. The next aspect is the storage. In order to increase one?s storage ability one must be familiar with chunking. Chunking allows a person to remember more information. By repeating an item over and over again one?s memory can be increased by a method called rehearsal. The third process is retrieval. With retrieval, one can scan memory in order to retrieve items.

Long-term memory is another type of memory where materials are stored for a much longer time. They can be stored as long as a lifetime. Long-term storage is more likely to be achieved when smaller amounts of information are used. The main forms of encoding for long-term memory are semantic, and sometimes visual. There are two basic types of memory, declarative and procedural.

These are two types of memory devoted to facts and skills. Retrieval for long-term memory is dependent on priming by cues. There are also many mnemonic devices that are used to retrieve information from memory.

Two theories of forgetting are availability and accessibility. Availability is information loss. The four theories of this type are trace-decay, disuse, interference, and encoding failure. Trace-decay theory is when there is no trace of memory due to lack of rehearsal. Disuse theory suggests that repeated retrieval of similar information leads to forgetting. Interference theory suggests that what is already in memory competes with newly learned information.

Encoding failure occurs when there is not enough encoding. Accessibility suggests that information is not totally forgotten from-long term memory but may be hard to retrieve. The two major accessibility theories are retrieval failure and motivational. Retrieval theory is where the material cannot be retrieved due to the lack of cues. Motivational theory is where selective forgetting happens in order to reduce anxiety.

For the future, I can now use all of these techniques and strategies to help increase my memory. Making sure I pay close attention to all the lectures and spend more time reviewing my notes will help enhance my study abilities for the first exam. I will attempt to read over and over again the assigned readings. I will try to chunk the new information that I receive. With all of these strategies, I will hopefully be able to do well.


Example #3


Evidence suggests that brain memories are not whole; rather, pieces of information stored in different areas of the brain are combined to create memories (Matlin, 2012). This explains why the recalled information is not entirely accurate. Encoding, storage, and recall of skills and facts (semantic memory) or experiences (episodic memory) involve different parts of the brain. This implies that there is a close relationship between memory processes and brain functioning.

Working and Long-term Memories

Over the years, there has been an intense debate on whether working and long-term memories are related. While there are many similarities between the long-term memory (LTM) and working memory (WM), distinct differences also exist between the two. One difference is that the functioning of LTM does not require the activation of WM.

A study by Morgan et al. (2008) revealed that many qualities of LTM such as procedural memory and motor skills do not depend on the working memory. However, episodic memories, which rely on past experiences, may at some point involve the activation of the working memory (Morgan et al., 2008).

Long-term memory has two distinguishing properties; (1) it has no capacity limits and (2) it lacks temporal decay associated with short-term memory (Morgan et al., 2008). In contrast, WM encompasses tasks of short-term memory that demand more attention but are not directly associated with cognitive aptitudes. It is a combination of different memories working together, including some components of the long-term memory, to organize information in the working memory into fewer units in order to reduce the working memory load.

Both WM and LTM are affected by the level of semantic processing or encoding in the brain. LTM is known to be affected by the qualitative depth of initial memory encoding (Matlin, 2012).

For example, it has been established that encoding during semantic processing results in the improved long-term memory of episodic items compared to the recall of visual or phonological items (Morgan et al. 2008). Similarly, since the performance of WM depends on the level of processing at the encoding stage, semantic processing can lead to improved WM.

Memory Formation in the Brain

Stadthagen-Gonzalez and Davis (2010) propose that memory is formed through dendrite-axonal networks, which become more intense with an increase in the number of events stored in the LTM. Stadthagen-Gonzalez and Davis (2010) also postulate that memory storage involves different cortical areas of the brain, where the sensory experiences are processed.

The neural (brain) cells involved in memory formation undergo physical changes through new interconnections as cognitive and perceptual processes in the brain increase. The synapses (a vast system that connects neurons) are involved in the formation of interconnected memories or neural networks.

It is the neural networks that facilitate the formation of new memories. Karpicke and Roediger (2009) postulate that, through a closely related activity (relayed through similar synapses), a new memory is formed causing changes to the neural circuit to accommodate the new item.

Also, new neurons can be joined to the circuit, if they are correlated with previously formed neural networks (Matlin, 2012). Long-term potential (LTP) is associated with reverberation (depolarization) in the post- and presynaptic neurons during learning. It is induced through prolonged stimulation of synapses during learning. New memories are maintained through repetitive excitation of LTP, which increases the release of neurotransmitters that can persist for several days or even months.

Adaptive Recall and Forgetfulness

Evidence suggests that the amygdala and the hippocampus regions of the brain interact during the formation of verbal and visual memory (Matlin, 2012). However, the amygdala identifies and stores emotionally important information while the hippocampus creates new neural networks for cognitive material.

It is through the amygdala-hippocampus interaction that emotionally important memories are recalled. The same applies to less emotionally significant events, which are less arousing. Thus, personal and emotional experiences are easily recalled than neutral events. It also explains why reinforcements improve memory while damaging to hippocampus and amygdala results in impaired memory functioning.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the neural relationship between the hippocampus and the amygdala is an adaptive response to life experiences. Karpicke and Roediger (2009) suggest that stressful conditions affect the processing and storage of new memories. Also, the retrieval strategies of the hippocampus may be repressed under stressful conditions.

Consequently, it becomes adaptive to remember relevant and emotional memories for survival purposes. Also, through amygdala-hippocampus interaction, it becomes adaptive to forget or repress some traumatic or unpleasant memories in order to maintain normal cognitive functioning.

Accuracy of the Memories

Studies have shown that human recollections are often not accurate. This raises questions regarding the extent of the accuracy of the memory. Unsworth and Engle (2011) demonstrate that the hippocampus-amygdala interaction is essential in memory encoding and retrieval, with the amygdala regulating information encoding, storage, and recall from the hippocampus.

Thus, for some time, the recall accuracy of emotionally arousing events is high compared to neutral ones. Evidence also suggests that physiological changes in the level of arousal affect the way memories are replayed. For instance, Unsworth and Engle (2011) show that, at the encoding stage, the level of activation of the amygdala influence memory retention while its damage impairs memory arousal. This highlights the fact that emotional arousal enhances memory accuracy, at least in the short-term.

Memory Aids for Memory Impaired Individuals

Memory impairment or loss may have a number of causes, including neurological diseases, aging, trauma, stroke, or brain injury. Individuals suffering from poor memory, amnesia, and PSTD can benefit from memory aids that enhance their memory. Prospective memory (PM) aids can help such people to recall essential actions in their daily lives (Matlin, 2012). They are normally external aids that facilitate semantic memory or systems that allow caregivers to monitor the cognitive functioning of patients with memory problems.

Karpicke and Roediger (2009) group memory support systems into three; assurance systems that monitor a person’s cognitive health at home or care setting; compensation systems, which involve functionalities that accommodate the user’s memory impairments; and assessment systems, which are technologies that continuously monitor the cognitive status of users under rehabilitative care.

Developers of these systems rely on the knowledge regarding the functioning of the brain and memory encoding processes to make memory aids. Also, understanding the type of memory affected can help in the treatment of the individual through psychoanalysis.


Example #4

Memory is defined as the accuracy and ease with which a person can retain and recall past experiences (Webster’s Dictionary, pg. 611). It is often thought of as a capacity, such as a cup, that could be full or empty. A more common comparison is one to a computer.

Some minds, like computers, can have more ?software?, being able to save and recall more experiences, information, and memories than others can. And like a computer, minds can be upgraded. This is not done with a simple installation of a chip, but by following a number of small procedures that will enhance and sharpen memory. As people age, many people believe that the loss of memory is inevitable.

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Once people go over a certain age, they begin to lose their memory and will be thought of as old and forgetful. People who forget things often complain about a bad memory, but in most of these cases, these people never took the time to learn whatever they thought they could remember.

Most scientists believe there is no such thing as a good or bad memory, only good and bad learners. Depending on the amount of attention a person gives something depends on how well a person will remember that fact or event (Reich, pg. 396).

Beginning at the age of 50, people of similar ages begin to differ more and more from one another in their mental performance. Some memories drop noticeably, but many stay the same or even rise. Most investigators agree that no mental decline occurs before the age of 65 or 70 that affects a person’s ability to function in the real world (Schrof, pg. 89).

In many societies still today, such as in China, elders are considered the wisest and are very well respected. There are two types of memories, long and short term. Anything remembered under 30 seconds is considered short-term memory, and anything after that is considered long-term memory (Kasschau, pp. 57-58).

Endell Tulving has broken it down even further into “episodic” and “semantic” memories. Episodic memory is remembering specific events or names. Semantic memory refers to general knowledge, like speaking a language or doing math problems (Corsini, pg. 355).

Many things can be done to increase and keep a person’s memory sharp. Seeking variety provides a broad range of experiences that provide reservoirs of knowledge to search through in old age. A willingness to try new things and improvise give that mind more experience.

People who are at peace and find life fulfilling have a memory that is stronger and lasts longer than those who are often angry or depressed do. Strengthening a memory can start during childhood. Eating right as a baby leads to strong, healthy brains, while nutritional deficits can permanently impair mental functions.

Getting lots of stimulation and staying in school are two ways to make your memory last longer. Enriched environments cause brain cells to grow as much as 25 percent more than those in bland environments (Schrof, pg. 91). When a person reaches young adulthood, making many friends can keep a person sharp. People with many friends often score higher cognitive tests and are able to adapt better to new situations. Finding a mentor and marrying someone who is smarter than you help also, leading you to strive to match your mate’s abilities (Schrof, pg. 91).

As a person enters middle age, putting away money for trips can be beneficial. People with extra money can treat themselves to mind nourishing experiences like travel and cultural events. Achieve major life goals now to avoid burnout.

People who head into retirement fulfilled will feel at peace with their accomplishments (Schrof, pg. 91). When a person enters the late sixties, they should search for things that continue to challenge them and intrigue the mind. In other words, do not get bored. Doing things that make you feel like you are doing something constructive also helps. Those who do not feel like they have no purpose and tend to burn out. Taking a daily half-hour walk can increase your scores on intelligence tests.

Too much exercise at too much of an intense pace hinders the memory (Schrof, pg. 91). Neurologists today are finding that later in life the brain stops producing a hormone involved in the memory process, acetylcholine. So far results have shown that drugs can act like the hormone to recharge the memory. Another method of remembering more is called chunking.

Short-term memory is limited in its duration as well as in its capacity. Your short-term memory can store and retrieve about seven unrelated items. After you already have your immediate memory-filled, attempting to store more will cause confusion. In order to store more information and avoid confusion, grouping items into “chunks” will allow for a person to remember more.

Using the initials of a string of words can minimize three or four unrelated items into one. Items that are often minimized are items such as phone numbers and names of favorite radio stations (Kasschau, pp. 57-58). There are many elderly people who are or have been considered great people with great minds. The late Mother Teresa was considered by all to have a great mind, and she was in her late eighties. Nelson Mandela is also over eighty and is admired by many because of his experiences and mind.

Grandma Moses has to be one of the more popular of old great minds, painting and remembering many of her experiences past her 100th birthday. It seems every day more theories come out about how memory can be improved and kept sharp. Most are simple everyday steps that the majority of people never think about, some are more complicated than the average person will understand. Even today researchers are nowhere near completely understanding memory. With all the continuing study of the memory going on, it is safe to say that much more advice will come out in the future about how to strengthen memory

With the continuing knowledge about memory still coming out, no one knows how much humans will be able to expand the strength of the average memory. With so little of the brain being used at this point in age, maybe in the future more of the brain will be available for use. This would no doubt lead to the expansion of memory. One final comparison that the memory can be made to is a car. Lots of cars break down, but with the right maintenance and tune-ups, many never do.


Example #5

If we think about what life is made up, we can say that memories build a life. We save all the important and happy events that occurred in our lives as well as the saddest and worst moments. It is said that the brain is the most powerful part of humans, but as part of the brain, memory is an essential piece of it.

As I mentioned before, memories build a life, each day we put on practice what we have learned and live. I believe that in life we don’t have anything secure but our memories, once we die we don’t take anything we have right now. When we remember happy moments we have life, it’s like re-living them again and feeling the joy we felt at the moment.

Memory as the Topic of Psychology Class

I decided to choose the memory as the topic of my Psychology class essay because from a while ago I started to have issues with my memory. At first, I thought it was because of the problems that I was going through at the time, and also preparing for college. Time passed and I still was having trouble with remembering stuff, I came to think it was a hereditary health problem because my dad and grandmother never remember something. I feel frustrated because without a memory is like we never have lived, we constantly live through memories. Remembering what we have gone through and manage to take a positive attitude even if the memory brings us negative feelings.

In this essay, I will cover specific topics about memory which is “the retention of information or experience over time as the result of three key processes: encoding, storage, and retrieval”, according to Laura A. King in Experience Psychology. Throughout the essay I will discuss the basic memory process, also I will talk about the different stages of memory as well as the different types of memory, along with the explanations of when the memory fails (forgetting).

In my opinion, these three subjects are a very essential part to understand how memory works and find an explanation of why we forget things, which in my case. But also relate these topics to our daily lives. To begin with, I will explain the process of memory so later on, I can discuss the different possibilities of why we forget.

The first step in the process of memory is called encoding which is the processing information into memory accordingly to a Sparknotes article, Memory. For instance, we might remember where we ate in the morning even if we didn’t try remembering it but on the contrary, it is possible that we are going to be able to remember the material in textbooks we covered during elementary school, high school or even more recent in college. It is stated that in the process of memory encoding, we have to pay attention to the information so we can later recall all the information.

In the content of Memory, the second step in-memory process is storage, the retention of information over time, and how this information is represented in memory (King). In this process is often use the Atkinson-Shiffrin theory that is made up of three separate systems: sensory memory- time frames of a fraction of a second to several seconds, short-term memory- time frames up to 30 seconds and long-term memory- time frames up to lifetime (King). The third and last step of this course is memory retrieval, the process of information getting out of storage.

Sensory or Immediate Memory

Likewise, I will explain the first stage of memory called sensory memory or immediate memory. As stated in Experience Psychology, the sensory memory holds information from the world in its original sensory form for only an instant, not much longer than a brief time. In this stage of memory, the “five” senses are used to hold the information accurately. In Sensory Memory by Luke Mastin, the stimulus that is detected by our senses has two options, it can either be ignored meaning it would go away at the instance or it can be perceived staying in our memory.

As I mentioned before, our senses are being used in the sensory memory stage and have their specific name for example when we perceived the information through our vision it is called iconic memory also referred to as visual sensory memory. The iconic memory holds an image only for about ¼ of a second. Not only but also, we also have the echoic memory which refers to auditory sensory memory, this function is in charge to hold part of what we listen to/hear.

For instance, when the professor is dictating a subject, we are trying to write fast so we can hold on all the information given at the moment and not forget what the professor said. Another stage of memory is called the short-term memory (STM), according to a web article Short-Term Memory, of Luke Bastin, the short-term memory is responsible for storing information temporarily and determining if it will be dismissed or transferred on to our third stage called long-term memory.

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Short-term memory sometimes is associated with working memory, which is a newer concept that the British psychologist Alan Baddeley came up with. Although working memory emphasizes the brain’s manipulation and how it collects information so we can easily make decisions as well as solve problems and mostly understand the information. It said that the working memory is not as passive as the short-term memory but both have limited capacity to retained information.

Additionally to this stage, we have the finding of George Miller which wrote in his book called The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. In this book, Miller talks about two different situations. The first kind of situation is called absolute judgment which states that a person should correctly differentiate between very similar items such as shades of green and high/low-pitched tones.

Short-Term Memory

The second situation states that a person must recall items presented in a sequence, meaning that a person must retain a certain number of chunks in their short-term memory. King also mentions that to improve short-term memory we consider two ways of doing it, chunking and rehearsal. According to King, chunking involves grouping or packing information that exceeds the 7 ± 2 memory span into higher-order units that can be remembered as single units.

For example, when the professor is dictating a list of things like cold, water, oxygen, air, rain, and snow, we are likely able to recall all words or even better all six words instead of having a list like S IXFL AGSG REATA MERI CA.

When we have a list like that it will be harder to remember it because none of the six chunk words make sense, but if we re-chunk the letters we get “Six Flags Great America”, and that way we have better chance to remember it. The second way to improve our short-term memory is by rehearsal, actually, there are two types of rehearsal, maintenance rehearsal, and elaborative rehearsal.

Maintenance rehearsal is the repeating of things over and over; usually, we use this type of rehearsal. On the other hand, we have the elaborative rehearsal which is organizing, thinking about and linking new material to existing memories.

Long-Term Memory

Continuing with the stages of memory, now I will talk about the third stage which is the long-term memory. In the article, What Is Long-Term Memory? by Kendra Cherry, long-term memory (LTM) refers to the continuing storage of information.

The indifference of the other two stages of memory, LTM memories can last for a couple of days to as long as many years. LTM is divided into types of memory, declarative (explicit) memory, and procedural (implicit) memory. Later on, I will explain in detail what are these two types of memory. Now that I have gone through the three stages of memory which are sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory, I will discuss the different types of memory.

The different types of memory rely on the long-term memory section, the first type of memory that I will talk about is explicit memory also known as declarative memory. This type of memory “is the conscious recollection of information, such as specific facts and events and, at least in humans, information that can be verbally communicated” (Tulving 1989, 2000).

Declarative (Explicit) Memory

Some examples when we use our explicit memory is when we try to remember our phone number, writing a research paper or recalling what time and date is our appointment with our doctor. It said that this process type of memory is one of the most used in our daily lives, as we constantly remember the tasks that we have to do in our day. In another article by Kendra Cherry called Implicit and Explicit Memory, Two Types of Long-Term Memory, informs us about two major subtypes that fall into the explicit memory. One is called episodic memories which are memories of specific episodes of our life such as our high school graduation, our first date, our senior prom, and so on.

The second subsystem of explicit memory is the semantic memory; this type of memory is in charge to recall specific factual information like names, ideas, seasons, days of the month, dates, etc. I can easily remember my quienceañera party, it was May 24, 2008, at this exact moment I can recall what was the first thing I did when I woke up that and also what I did before sleeping but there are episodes on that day that I’m not able to remember.

Procedural (Implicit) Memory

Moreover, I will discuss the second type of memory which is implicit memory. Started by King, implicit memory is the memory in which behavior is affected by prior experience without a conscious recollection of that experience, in other words, things we remember and do without thinking about them. Some examples of our implicit memories are driving a car, typing on a keyboard, brushing our teeth, and singing a familiar song.

Within the implicit memory, we have three subtypes; the first one is the procedural memory that according to King is a type of implicit memory process that involves memory for skills. The procedural memory process basically is the main base of the implicit memory, since all of us unconsciously do many things throughout the day, as I mentioned before driving a car or simply dress ourselves to go to school, work, or wherever we have to go.

The other subtype of implicit memory is the classical conditioning which involves learning a new behavior via the process of association, it is said that two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response. For instance, phobias are classical conditioning as the Little Albert Experiment result was. I personally I’m more than afraid to spiders, in other words, my phobia is called arachnophobia which can control and learn to overcome the fear and anxiety it gives me every time I see a spider or even think about a spider.

The last subsystem of the implicit memory process is the priming, Kings states that priming is the activation of information that people already have in storage to help them remember new information better and faster. Priming it is sometimes called recognition memory; an example of priming is when little kids are learning colors, they associate two things such as apple and the color red. To learn the red color they will remember the apple and it would be easier for them. Furthermore, I will talk about what I think is the most important part of my essay that is forgetting.


As I said at the beginning of my essay I have experienced difficulties with my memory, I forget simple things. For instance, on daily bases my mom gives me a message to give my dad or sisters or just ask me to do something for her, I say yes I will do it but later on, I totally forget. Before taking this class, I believe that the reason I forget things is that I’m distracted at the time and didn’t pay attention so that’s why later I’m not able to remember it.

Now that I have taken the class and researched the topic I found reasons why we forget things, one reason is the retrieval failure, which is the failure process of accessing stored memories. It is what we do when we have exams; we try to remember what we have learned/study and we just don’t remember anything. Within the retrieval failure, we have what is called interference theory, it is the theory that people forget not because memories are lost from storage but because other information gets in the way of what they want to remember (King).

There are two kinds of interference that can be a possible reason for forgetting, are is called proactive and retroactive. In the proactive interference occurs when the current information is lost because it is mixed up with previously learned, similar information. This happens to me when I try to study two different subjects right after another, I get confused about both subjects and sometimes I even stop studying because I’m not able to focus and understand the material. The second type of retroactive interference is when the new information interferes with the old information memories, an example of it is when at jobs we learned a new task but forget older tasks.

Moving forward, we have another possible cause of forgetting is called decay theory. In another article by Kendra Cherry, Explanations for Forgetting, Reason Why We Forget, decay theory is a memory trace that is created every time a new theory is formed.

The only problem is that over time this trace disappears. The failure to store is also a possible reason that causes us to forget, this is because encoding failures sometimes prevent information from entering long-term memory (Cherry). In conclusion, I believe that one of the most essential parts of the brain is our memory.

We can have billions of dollars and buy anything we want but in the end, the only thing we are taking of us is what we have lived (memories). We need memories in our life not just to drive from A place to B place or to get the right answer to pass an exam but to remember who we are and what people we have by our side.

To revive all the moments we encounter happiness and even sadness, “memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose” from the television show The Wonder Year.

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Memory Essay. (2020, Aug 02). Retrieved January 28, 2023, from