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Memory Essay, Research Paper

Memory is the process of storing and retrieving information in the brain. Memory is viewed as a three-step process, which include sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Along with memory there is also forgetting. There are two types of forgetting, availability and accessibility.

Sensory memory is memory that continues the sensation of a stimulus after that stimulus ends. The two major types of sensory memory are iconic and echoic. Iconic memory occurs when a visual stimulus produces a brief memory trace. This is called an icon. Echoic memory is the brief registration of sounds or echos in memory. A major factor that influences what will be remembered is attention. Close attention enhances memory by focusing on a limited range of stimuli. The capacity for sensory memory is very small. The duration for icons lasts about a half of a second. Echoes lasts for around four seconds.

Short-term memory holds information for fairly short intervals. It?s duration ranges from 15 to no more than 30 seconds. The capacity of short-term memory is very limited due to the studies of memory span. The 3 basic processes studied with memory are encoding, storage and retrieval. They all have an impact on short-term memory. Encoding is acoustic, where remembering has to do with acquiring the information in the beginning. It also can be visual. The next aspect is storage. In order to increase one?s storage ability one must be familiar with chunking. Chunking allows a person to remember more information. By repeating an item over and over again one?s memory can be increased by a method called rehearsal. The third process is retrieval. With retrieval one can scan memory in order to retrieve items.

Long-term memory is another type of memory where materials are stored for a much longer time. They can be stored as long as a lifetime. Long-term storage is more likely to be achieved when smaller amounts of information are used. The main forms of encoding for long-term memory are semantic, and sometimes visual. There are two basic types of memory, declarative and procedural. These are two types of memory devoted to facts and skills. Retrieval for long-term memory is dependent on priming by cues. There are also many mnemonic devices that are used to retrieve information from memory.

Two theories of forgetting are availability and accessibility. Availability is information loss. The four theories of this type are trace-decay, disuse, interference, and encoding failure. Trace-decay theory is when there is no trace of memory due to lack of rehearsal. Disuse theory suggests that repeated retrieval of similar information lead to forgetting. Interference theory suggest that what is already in memory competes with newly learned information. Encoding failure occurs when there is not enough encoding. Accessibility suggests that information is not totally forgotten from-long term memory but may be hard to retrieve. The two major accessibility theories are retrieval failure and motivational. Retrieval theory is where the material cannot be retrieved due to the lack of cues. Motivational theory is where selective forgetting happens in order to reduce anxiety.

For the future, I can now use all of these techniques and strategies to help increase my memory. Making sure I pay close attention to all the lectures and spend more time reviewing my notes will help enhance my study abilities for the first exam. I will attempt to read over and over again the assigned readings. I will try to chunk new information that I receive. With all of these strategies I will hopefully be able to do well.


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