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Does Age Affect Memory Essay, Research Paper

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

A person wakes up in the morning, brushes his teeth, takes a shower, puts on his clothes, and starts his day. What would happen if there weren t such thing as memory? People might not be able to get ready every morning to start their day. Why? Because memory allows people to remember what they have done or not done. Memory is the ability to remember something that has been learned or experienced. So, without it, people wouldn t be able to remember anything. They might not brush their teeth because they wouldn t be able to remember how to do it, when to do it, or maybe wouldn t even remember if such thing existed. In general, everything will be new to them, everything

Scientists know a very little about what happens to the brain as it stores memory. They are almost certain that it involves both chemical changes in the nerve cells of the brain and changes in their physical structure. The chemical and physical changes occur in a section of the brain called the hippocampus when person stores new memories. The hippocampus is a part of a larger structure of the brain called the cerebral cortex, which controls more higher brain functions.

Human brains are very good at noticing patterns, and they also store memories as patterns. The brain follows a simple rule for making patterns so that it can file them away as memories. The brain brings together the experiences that happen more or less at the same time. Your brain stores pattern in a physical form. To save declarative memory, it creates new dendrites branches and new synapses and gets rid of the old ones.

There is a junction between nerve cells called synapses. It is held in place by a special family of proteins, called the cell-adhesion molecules, which work like a Velcro to hold the two sides of the junction together. Research shows that when new memories are made, the cell-adhesion molecules detach so that the junctions can separate; new cell-adhesion molecules stick them together again in a pattern, a pattern that forms the memory trace and which may be reactivated when we remember what we have learned.

There are three basic memory types: sensory memory, that holds information for only an instant; short-term memory, which can hold a fact as long as one can actively think about it; and long-term memory, which includes a huge amount of information, some which lasts a lifetime (Loftus, 1994).

Other types of memory are procedural memory, stimulus response memory, event memory, semantic memory, and abstract memory. Procedural memory recalls experience useful in knowing how to do something, such as driving cars. Stimulus response memory will make a person react to a stimulus, for an instance, stopping at the red light. Event memory handles special situations, places, and times. It is one of the types of memory most likely to decline with old age. Semantic memory is concerned with ideas and facts. Abstract memory governs meaning of things. Knowing how to turn on a television would be procedural memory and knowing what a television does would be abstract memory (Barmeier, 1996).

Scientists believe that short-term memory is located in the prefrontal cortex above and behind the eyes. For about 20 years, scientists have known that neurons in the hippocampus react to an increase in action potentials by strengthening their synapses. Synapses are the point at which a nerve impulse passes between neurons to deliver the message (Powledge, 1994).

Short-term memory starts with the stimulus that triggers the senses. For an instant when the experience flows in, the stimulus rests. It holds an image just long enough for the brain to decide how to handle it. A visual image is remained for one second, a sound for four seconds or less. A person s ability to focus on information limits what kinds of data are filtered in. A short-term memory can be described as a memory waiting room. It only lasts about a minute to several days, depending on whether new data has been deleted or rehearsed. If you actively think about the experience, you might remember it for a long time and may turn into a long-term memory (Loftus, 1994).

Almost all of what neuroscience knows about short-term memory has come from brain surgery. Surgeons have discovered that short-term memory might be localized in a tiny section of the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex. Brain patients under anesthesia, who couldn t talk, were having their cerebral cortex explored with an electrical stimulus to locate diseased brain tissue. When the stimulus temporarily numbed a small portion of a cortex the doctor accidentally found out that short-term memory was temporarily inactivated (Barmeier, 1996).

There are some ways people can improve their memory. When they do something, they need to concentrate and shouldn t be bothered by others. When a person focuses on the subject, he/she will accept it better and will be able to store it well. People s attention and focus are turned off when they are sleeping, but always on when they are awake. Focusing attention on one subject can be a challenge. This is because people are afraid that they are going to miss something that is going on around them. Since a person can only do one thing at a time, other subjects should be forgotten, and the attention should be on the subject. If people think this way, it will be easier to focus and remember the things they have learned or experienced (Cermak, 1975).

There are diseases that affect people s memory. One of them is called Alzheimer s disease. It attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, cognitive ability and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which is a medical condition that affects the brain. Over 4 million people have Alzheimer’s disease type dementia. Although Alzheimer’s disease can occur in persons in their 40s and 50s, most of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 or older.

Research shows that 85% of people said good memory is important to their business, remaining 15% either said important or very important, and no one checked off not important. Having a good memory can be a part of success in people s lives. In today s society, large companies support their high rank workers to improve their memory. They don t like to hire people with poor memory. Insurance company sellers need a good memory to deal with clients. When someone asks him about the insurance price, its better to pop up the answer than looking through the book searching for the answer (Loraine, 1988).

Memory is a very important part of people s lives. Without it, people basically wouldn t have a life. They wouldn t know what they are doing, where they are, or what they are thinking of. They wouldn t be able to know anything. Just being able to breath, and just because theirr heart is pumping, that doesn t mean that they have a life. If they don t know what to do and just lie there, its pointless to live. How can they live without it? They basically can t. There is absolutely no way to live without knowing what they are doing. Everything they are thinking of, or doing all comes from memories. Remember, whatever they are doing, they are allowed to do it because of memory and its functions.


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