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Human memory appears to consist of a number of systems. Outline ways in which these have been described and examine the evidence - Essay Example

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Human memory appears to consist of a number of systems. Outline ways in which these have been described and examine the evidence

Neuropsychological perspective describes and classifies human memory systems using various methods. One of the approaches is classification by dissociation, where the evidence for the method is derived from clinical and experimental observations concerning the working or functioning of the memory (Tulving 2006). Using this approach, human memory consists of three interrelated subsystems namely short-term sensory storage (STSS), working or short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM). Short-term sensory storage system is fast and automatic system that stores information for a period of less than one second. The sensory system perceives and stores visual and auditory information temporarily (Tulving 2006). According to Baddeley (1997), dissociation contributes an important but insufficient condition for classifying tasks in various categories and making conclusions about memory systems and subsystems. However, credible evidence supporting the multiple memory systems have been provided by congruence of findings from experiments in neuropsychological, neurochemical and developmental studies. In context to short term and long-term memory systems, various experiments across different scientific fields have been conducted to establish their differences and the similar characteristics. The convergent element of these experiments indicate that short term and long term memories show distinct characteristics indicating that both are different but interrelated systems. The systems have different capacities, duration of storing information and they store different types of information (Cohen and Eichenbaum 2001). Short-term memory has a limited storage capacity of up to seven items or chunks. Another distinguishing characteristic of short-term memory is that information is stored for brief duration of about 30 seconds (Anderson1983). Therefore, the type of information stored in short-term memory includes visual images, words and sentences and other information that is of little significance to a person. Christian et al (2000) attributed the quick forgetting of information stored in short-term memory to displacement of the old information by incoming material. The effectiveness of short-term memory decreases with increase in age and it could be improved by chunking of information and consistent rehearsal. Experimental evidence have proved that long-term memory has unlimited capacity and the duration of storing information ranges from days to the lifetime of an individual (Christian et al, 2000). In this respect, long-term memory stores meaningful and significant events and information. Baddeley (1997) noted that information stored in long-term memory is mainly forgotten due to interference and poor organization of the stored material. The ability to store and recall information in the long-term memory depends on the age, and it is poorest in children below three years and old people. Neuropsychologists have further classified long-term memory into distinct but interrelated systems. These systems include episodic, procedural and semantic memory (Tulving, 2006). Although the classification has elicited criticism from some theorists, it has enabled b better understanding of the structure and the functioning of human memory. According to Christian et al (2000), episodic memory is the highest memory system and it ...Show more

Summary

Human memory consists of systems used for storing and recalling information such as personal experiences, facts, emotions, procedures, skills and habits (Tulving 2006). Different scientific disciplines have examined various aspects of memory from diverse perspectives and as a result, the topic has been subject of intense debate and controversies…
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Human memory appears to consist of a number of systems. Outline ways in which these have been described and examine the evidence essay example
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