Memory is the process by which information is encoded, stored and retrieved from the brain. This information can be stored in the short term or long term memory. Tracing the memory system from stimuli into the long- term memory involves various steps. They occur chronologically and involves, stimuli-sensory memory-selective attention-short term memory-encoding and finally into the long term memory. These processes can be broken down into three processes that are involved in memory. The first is called encoding. This is where information is transformed to be kept or stored by way of converting it into a memory that is meaningful. This is achieved by associating this information with various things such as sound, images, colors or to some extent we associate it with already known or existing memory. The next process is the storage. This is where physiological change has to take place so as the memory to be stored. Finally, there is the retrieval process which is where a person retrieves memories that had been kept originally during the process of encoding.
Encoding forms the first step of making a new memory. It allows the observed item of attention to be changed into a construct that can be kept within the brain and later recalled from the long term or short term memory. The process of laying a memory starts with attention which is brought about by a stimulus such as a sound. There are numerous sensations that a person gets from other human beings such as a visual system that registers things like physical feature about them. Other things that can be registered are the color of their eyes or the color of their hair. All sensation or stimuli received travels to the hippocampus in the brain. The hippocampus integrates a person’s perceptions of the experiences one have had before. Together with the frontal cortex, the hippocampus analysis the various sensory inputs and identify whether it is worth remembering.
Features of each step and Factors that enhance or impede information flow in each step of the process
A feature of each step includes the neurons and the neural circuits. These are cell that are highly specialised in relying information to and from the brain. The medial temporal lobe is essential for long term memory encoding. It also plays a minor role for the working memory sustenance. The brain is an intricate organ, and this does not end with its chemical and structural composition. It is a dynamic organ and is usually under constant changes which mostly are governed by life experiences. Every time that a person learns something new, forms a new memory or experiences a disease, the bio-chemical composition of the brain changes. This in the long run affects information flow. Brain disorders are the most impeding factors that limit information flow.
Proactive and Retroactive interference
When an individual is unable to retrieve the information they have experienced because previous information is interfering with the recovery process, the interference is said to be working forward in time and is referred to as Proactive. In contrast, when an individual is unable to retrieve the information they have experienced because of later material is interfering with the recovery process, the interference is said to be working backward hence referred to a Retroactive. An individual can counteract each of the effect when learning or when taking an exam in order to enhance maximum incorporation of information into the long term memory. For instance, few students were given a set of three words in a grouping that was followed by 10 distractor words, which were to be spelt backwards and in which each student was to say forwards. The students were then provoked for the first three words for three consecutive times. In the fourth attempt, the students were given a hint before seeing the words, and being provoked to remember the words. The students that were not given a hint failed in remembrance performance.
Types of Forgetting
There are seven different types of forgetting. They include repressed erasure, structural amnesia, prescriptive forgetting, forgetting as planned obsolescence, forgetting that is constitutive in the generation of a new identity and forgetting as result humiliated silence.Normal memory problem includes absentmindedness, transience, misattribution, blocking, and suggestibility. It is usually normal to forget sometimes. However, it is not normal to forget too much information. The human being memory normally has a Use-It-Or-Lose-It quality. When a person forgets an event or a fact over a period of time this is usually referred to as transience. Some people views transience as memory faintness. Nevertheless, transience can be beneficial since it helps in clearing of the used brain memory thus allowing the creation of new space for newer memories. All human being experience transience of memory, but to individuals with Amnesia can actually be debilitating to them.
Absentmindedness occurs when person’s fails to pay attention hence end up forgetting comprehensible information. This normally occurs as a result of failure to encode the information to the brain. Memory block is usually common as people advance in age. Misattribution is another type of forgetting. It normally expressed when an individual has the right memory about a particular event, but a wrong source. For instance, a person can recall the details of an event accurately, but misattribute details such as time and the person involved. This type of forgetting is usually common as people advance in age due to difficulties in concentrating. Another type of forgetting is Suggestibility. Suggestibility is a false memory people develops to fool the mind into believing that it is a real memory
Strategies to Improve Memory Consolidation and Retrieval
The best strategy to improve the retrieval and memory consolidation is through believing in oneself. This involves ignoring the assumptions from people that aging leads to failing memory. This is because it has been proved that middle aged and older people usually perform poorly on memory oriented task especially when encouraged by persons with stereotypes about memory and aging. Another strategy is taking the time to understand about memory conservation and improvement. It is also essential to economize the brain use through the use of reminders such as maps, calendar, planner, shopping list and the address book. Another strategy is the organization of the thought such as remembering of things such as phone number, social security number rather than trying to recall the names of all the schoolmates. Use of all senses such as sound, taste and odors also plays a vital role in brain retain memory.