What is memory?
The brains ability to encode, store, and retrieve information is called as memory. It is thus crucial to perform our daily activities. The structures of brain associated are hippocampus, fornix, cingulate gyrus, mammillary bodies.
Types of memories
- Sensory register
- Short-term memories (STM)
- Long-term memories (LTM)
Sensory register (SM) – It is responsible for receiving stimulus from the five senses.SM thus translates into short term through the process of attention.
STM is the capacity to store information for a short time. It is usually upto 30 seconds. LTM however relates to storing the information for an extended period. It could be upto an indefinite period.
LTM can be of 2 types- explicit and implicit. The explicit memories refer to as declarative memory,it is expressed voluntarily, through communication manners. Explicit can either be semantic, which represents the conscious memory of concepts or episodic memory which is the conscious recollection of an episode. Implicit memories, however does not require conscious intervention. It represents our abilities (e.g., swimming, cycling, driving)
Explicit memory develops throughout life, upto 60 years and then diminishes.rapid progression occurs in first 2 years of life.
Why Memories are Sometimes Forgotten?
Forgetting memories is a common event. It occurs due to-
- Failure to store information
- Motivated forgetting
- Retrieval failure
If people do not actively rehearse the information, it can therefore be forgotten.
Either information is simply lost or it was never stored correctly. Sometimes people actively try to forget things that they simply don’t want to remember.
How to Improve Memory?
A few useful strategies are-
- Writing and referring to it later
- Attach meaning
- Repeat and rehearse
- Take a mental picture
- Lifestyle changes- healthy diet and regular exercise; avoiding sedentariness.
What are false memories?
Human memory is fragile. We can trigger false memories due to subtle errors.
False memory can happen to anyone.
People remember entire events that never actually happened to them.
Memories may disrupt each other through a mechanism called interference.
Difference between Short and Long-term Memories-
These memories differ in two aspects, the duration and the chunk capacity limits. Long-term lasts months and years while short-term memories lasts a few seconds. There is also a difference in capacity. Short-term stores only a tiny bit of information, however the capacity of long-term is thought to unlimited.
Physiologically, the process of establishment of long-term involves a change in neuronal structure. New neural networks are created which communicate with each other through synapses. This process does not take place during short-term memories.
The difficulty in recalling the information refers as memory loss.
- Forgetting early life events
- Mixing up names of people
- mood changes
- Forgetting words
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Trouble in recalling details of events
Causes of Memory Loss
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Mental health problems
- Excess Alcohol intake
- Brain infections
- Brain tumors
- Oxygen deficiency
- Drug abuse
Diseases such as alzheimers and dementia are also associated with memory loss.