Memory2 Essay

This essay has a total of 1611 words and 7 pages.

Memory2



MEMORY

Introduction
Memory is defined as the faculty by which sense impressions and information are retained
in the mind and subsequently recalled. A person’s capacity to remember and the total
store of mentally retained impressions and knowledge also formulate memory (Webster,
1992). “We all possess inside our heads a system for declassifying, storing and
retrieving information that exceeds the best computer capacity, flexibility, and speed.
Yet the same system is so limited and unreliable that it cannot consistently remember a
nine-digit phone number long enough to dial it” (Baddeley, 1993). The examination of
human behavior reveals that current activities are inescapably linked by memories. General
“competent” (Baddeley, 1993) behavior requires that certain past events have
effect on the influences in the present. For example, touching a hot stove would cause a
burn and therefore memory would convey a message to not repeat again. All of this is
affected by the development of short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM).

Memories can be positive, like memories of girlfriends and special events, or they can be
negative, such as suppressed memories. Sexual abuse of children and adolescents is known
to cause severe psychological and emotional damage. Adults who were sexually abused in
childhood are at a higher risk for developing a variety of psychiatric disorders, anxiety
disorders, personality disorders, and mood disorders. To understand the essential issues
about traumatic memory, the human mind’s response to a traumatic event must first be
understood. The memory is made up of many different sections with each having different
consequences on one another. Can people remember what they were wearing three days ago?
Most likely not, because the memory only holds onto what is actively remembered. What a
person was wearing is not important so it is thrown out and forgotten. This type of
unimportant information passes through the short-term memory. “Short-term memory is
a system for storing information over brief intervals of time” (Squire, 1987).
It’s main characteristic is the holding and understanding of limited amounts of
information. The system can grasp brief ideas which would otherwise slip into oblivion,
hold them, relate them and understand them for its own purpose (Squire, 1987). Another
aspect of STM was introduced by William James in 1890, under the name “primary
memory” (Baddeley, 1993). Primary memory refers to the information that forms the
focus of current attention and that occupies the stream of thought. “This
information does not need to be brought back to mind in order to be used” (Baddeley,
1993).

Compared to short-term memory, primary memory places less emphasis on time and more
emphasis on the parts of attention, processing, and holding. No matter what it is called,
this system is used when someone hears a telephone number and remembers it long enough to
write it down (Squire, 1987). Luckily, a telephone number only consists of seven digits or
else no one would be able to remember them. Most people can remember six or seven digits
while others only four or five and some up to nine or ten. This is measured by a technique
called the digit span, developed by a London schoolteacher, J. Jacobs, in 1887. Jacobs
took subjects (people), presented them with a sequence of digits and required them to
repeat the numbers back in the same order. The length of the sequence is steadily
increased until a point is reached at which the subject always fails. The part at which a
person is right half the time is defined as their digit span. A way to improve a digit
span is through rhythm which helps to reduce the tendency to recall the numbers in the
wrong order. Also, to make sure a telephone number is copied correctly, numbers can be
grouped in twos and threes instead of given all at once (Baddeley, 1993). Another part of
short-term memory is called chunking, used for the immediate recall of letters rather than
numbers. When told to remember and repeat the letters q s v l e r c i i u k, only a person
with an excellent immediate memory would be able to do so. But, if the same letters were
given this way, q u i c k s i l v e r, the results would be different. What is the
difference between the two sequences? The first were 11 unrelated letters, and the second
were chunked into two words that make this task much easier (Baddeley, 1993)
“Short-term memory recall is slightly better for random numbers than for random
letters, which sometimes have similar sounds. It is better for information heard rather
than seen. Still, the basic principals hold true: At any given moment, we can process only
a very limited amount of information" (Myers, 1995).

The next part in the memory process involves the encoding and merging of information from
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