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Human Memory - Essay Example

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Human Memory

In contrast, as is attested by anyone who knows a person ravaged by Alzheimer's disease, even with normal sensory input, lack of memory is profoundly debilitating (Smith 267).
Earlier work in the study of memory was confined to association between stimulus and response. However, current studies emphasize cognitive or mental processes over stimulus response association ( Morgan 184).
How does the brain memorize information In order to answer this question, one must study the three stages of memory- encoding, storage and retrieval. Suppose you saw a parakeet for the first time in your life when your friend showed you one in the park last week. Subsequently when you went to the bird sanctuary today and saw a similar bird you immediately recognized it as a parakeet. This simple act actually entailed three steps; when your friend showed you the parakeet, you transformed the information that this bird is called a parakeet( the sound input) and that's what it looks like (the visual input); which are physical inputs into the kind of code that your memory would accept. This stage is called the encoding stage. The storing of this information for a week was the storage phase and when you retrieved the information to recognize the bird this morning; that was the retrieval stage.
Memory can fail yo
Memory can fail you at any one of these stages. Recent studies have shown that while encoding most of the activated brain regions are in the left hemisphere and during retrieval in the right hemisphere.
Long Term and Short Term Memory.
When a friend gives you his or her phone number verbally, its relatively easy to repeat it immediately. However recalling it after a day becomes difficult. Repeating the number immediately is an example of short term memory while recalling it after a day is constitutes long term memory. Experiments on small mammals and observation of people with damage to some parts of the brain have shown that the hippocampus a brain structure beneath the cortex is responsible for short term memory; whereas, the front of the cortex is responsible for long term memory (Atkinson 258).
Usage Of Different Memories For Different Types Of Information
Recent evidence has indicated that that different types of memories are used to store two different types of information; a fact such as the name of the current president- this uses explicit memory and a skill such as playing a piano- this uses implicit memory ( Atkinson 259; Smith 269)
Even though short term memory involves recall of information in a few seconds it still goes through the three stages of encoding, storage and retrieval. To encode information we must first attend to it. Most issues with memory lapses can be attributed to a lack of attention. Since we are selective about what we attend to; only that memory will be encoded and can later be retrieved. The three types of coding used are- visual when the input or representation is visual such as a picture, acoustic when the information is verbal, such as somebody saying something, and semantic when the infor ...Show more


The human memory is akin to the hard drive and RAM of a computer, just like the most powerful CPU would be futile with memory, so also human intelligence would be futile without memory to remember and retrieve information. Not only would studying pose a problem but also tasks such as talking to somebody or doing something hold no relevance since you wouldn't remember what you were talking about or doing…
Author : terrenceabbott
Human Memory essay example
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