Memory is the vital tool in learning and thinking . We all use memory in
our everyday lives. Think about the first time you ever tied your shoe laces or
rode a bike; those are all forms of memory , long term or short. If you do not
remember anything from the past , you would never learn; thus unable to process.
Without memory you would simply be exposed to new and unfamiliar things . Life
would be absent and bare of the richness of it happy or sorrow. Many scientists
are still unsure of all that happens and what and how memory works. They are
certain , though , that it is involvement of chemical changes in the brain which
changes the physical structure (Loftus p. 392). It has been found after many
research , that new memory is stored in a section of the brain called the
hippocampus (Loftus p. 392). Memory is acquired by a series of solidifying
events , but more research is still needed to discover and fully understand
(Loftus p. 392).
Memory is broken down into three systems or categories . These different
systems are sensory memory , short-term , and long-term memory. Sensory memory
is the shortest and less extensive of the others. It can hold memory for only an
instance (Memory p. 32). Suppose you see a tree , the image of the tree is
briefly held by the sensory memory and quickly disappears unless you transfer it
to your short-term memory (Rhodes p. 130). The next level is called short-term
memory. The image or fact can be held as long as the brain is actively thinking
about it (Loftus p. 392). For example , if you look up a number in the phone
book and repeat it to yourself until you dial it , that is a form of short-term
memory. Short-term memory lasts roughly half a minute unless it is transferred
to long-term memory . Long-term memory is the last and final stage of memory .
It is so large and limitless it can hold nearly anything (Loftus p. 392). Long-
term memory can hold something that is only a few moments old to many , many
Memory can be measured in three ways . These techniques include recall,
recognition, and relearning (Loftus p. 393). Suppose someone asks you who was at
a party . When you try to list everyone you saw , that is known as recall. The
other form is recognition , which contains recall. For example, the person
asking you a list of names. The list contains names of people who were at the
party and names of those who were not at the party. " In relearning you would
memorize the guest list after apparently forgetting it " (Loftus p. 393).
There are many questions to why people forget . Scientists still do not
know exactly how people forget . Not surprisingly , people forget more and more
as time progresses. The chief explanations for forgetting include interference,
retrieval, failure , motivated forgetting, and constructive processes (Loftus p.
393). " Interference occurs when the remembering of certain learned material
blocks the memory of other learned material " (Loftus p. 393). Retrieval failure
is the inability to recall material or data that has been stored (Loftus p. 393).
An example of this is when you try to think of a certain date or number , but
fail to remember . Later it will come naturally without any effort. The third
reason is a loss of memory caused by conscious or unconscious desires called
motivated forgetting (Stevenson p. 393). Scientists believe that many of us
forget in purpose because we choose to. Motivated forgetting is closely related
to a process motivated by the needs and wishes of the individual called
regression (Memory p. 33). A very good example is when people gamble. When
people gamble they choose to remember all the times that they have won , and not
the times that they lose. The last explanation of forgetting is constructive
process. This is involves the unconscious invention of false memories . Memories
became systematically distorted or changed over a long period of time (Memory
p.33). When people try to remember a certain fact that has occurred a long time
ago , the individual will tend to fill in the gaps with information that is not
true .
There are many ways to improve memory. Not surprisingly, practice makes
perfect and the way people use the devices include rhymes, clues, mental
pictures , and other methods (Rhodes p. 130). Another method provides clues by
means of