WHAT IS MEMORY?

by Kateryna Biskup

Memory is the mental processes that enable us to retain and use information over time.

Basics of Memory

Rather than being a single process, memory involves three fundamental processes: encoding, storage and retrieval

STAGES OF MEMORY

Memory involves three distinct stages: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.

MEMORY DISORDERS

  • Amnesia is the general term for a condition in which memory is disturbed or lost, to a greater extent than simple everyday forgetting or absent-mindedness. There are two main types of amnesia: anterograde amnesia (where the ability to memorize new things is impaired or lost because data does not transfer successfully from the conscious short-term memory into permanent long-term memory; and retrograde amnesia (where a person's pre-existing memories are lost to conscious recollection, beyond an ordinary degree of forgetfulness, even though they may be able to memorize new things that occur after the onset of amnesia).
  • Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive, degenerative and ultimately fatal brain disease, in which cell to cell connections in the brain are lost. The most commonly recognized symptom of AD is an inability to acquire new memories and difficulty in recalling recently observed facts. As the disease advances, symptoms include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, language breakdown, long-term memory loss, and ultimately a gradual loss of bodily functions and death.
  • Parkinson's Disease is a chronic and progressive degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills, speech and other functions. Symptoms include slowed cognitive speed and memory problems, particularly with working memory, episodic memory and with recalling learned information.

Everyone forgets things occasionally. Although there are no guarantees when it comes to preventing memory loss, there are some tips that can help you sharpen your memory:


  • try to stay mentally active,
  • socialize regularly,
  • get daily rest and sleep well,
  • try to eat healthy,
  • include physical activity.

References


  1. Sandra E. Hockenbury and Don H. Hockenbury (2008, Hardcover). Psychology. Fifth edition, 246-255
  2. Mc Leod, S. A. (2007). Stages of Memory
  3. http://www.human-memory.net