This paper is about psychology and specifically the long-term memory. Memory can be defined as the capacity of the nervous system to acquire and retain usable skills and knowledge which allows living organism to benefit from experience. Therefore memory of an organism is its ability to store, retain and recall information and experiences. This means that there are processes that information or message must pass for it to be stored and retrieved from the memory. These processes include: Encoding, also called registration involves receiving, processing and putting together the information.
Here, once the information has been received, it is to be processed and finally assembled together to form complete information. The next stage is the storage. At this level, the information which was received is amassed and a permanent record of the information which has been encoded. It implies that at this stage the information is held onto. This involves physiological change. The final stage is the retrieval stage which involves the remembrance and memorizing the information. This means there is calling back of the amassed information in reply to the response to some signal for application to an activity. This stage therefore involves the regaining of information from storage-making the information in the original form from which it was stored.
Information can be categorized into a form depending on how long the information will stay in the memory. This can be divided stages called the Stage Model Memory. This can be used to explain the model and function of memory. The stages includes: sensory, short term also referred as working memory and long term memory.
The term long term memory refers to a situation where memories are stored for along time. However, the information lasts for a period between some minutes and many years or decades throughout one’s life. The long term memory is comparing permanent and has no restriction in terms of storage capacity. The information stored in the long term memory is always a percentage in the memory storage space. Long term memory can further be subdivided into different theories:
Declarative memory which mainly deals with the conscious memory. This type of memory can further be sub divided into Episodic memory and Semantic memory. An important note to be considered under long term memory is that not all information which was stored in this level can be recalled. However, there are concepts that differentiate existence of information and whether the information can be recollected or not when one is given time. Theories that regard Long Term Memories as not being subject to deletion emphasizes that there might be a useful distinction between the existence of information and the ability to retrieve or recall that information at a given moment. This can further be discussed under forgetting and false memory. the main theories that explain: some of the theories explains that the capacity of the long term memory is immeasurable. Some of these include:
The Decay theory which states that when one has to follow some way which if idle for along time, the information decays therefore difficulty to recall information. The other theory is Interference Theory which states that all memories hamper with each other. There are two kinds of these interferences: the proactive interference. Under states that the previous memories manipulate new ones or produce new ones. The other one is the Retroactive Interference which states the opposite of what the other interference states. In this interference, the previous memories are replaced by new ones to an extent that the original one is totally lost.
This theory explains that forgetting is a natural phenomenon and as well as we tend to remember we also tend to forget more. There are varying reasons why we forget. This is because some information never reaches the long term memory. Sometimes it reaches the long term memory but it is lost before it attaches itself on the long term memory. Apart from that, other reasons may include decay where the information which has stayed for a long time without being used diminishes with time there by erasing the data.
Inability to remember some information does not mean that the information is disappeared. This may be due to inaccessibility of the information due to distractions from the environment such as noise. This may also due to repression which prevents the memory from being accessed hence unable to remembered feelings attached to it such as the grown ups forget things like torture when they were infants. These theories about forgetting shows that memory is not a reliable recorder. Nevertheless, it is a build up based on the actual hapeninings added to influences like knowledge, experiences and expectations.
This leads to false memories. Sometimes, one is almost forgetting. Under Flashbulb Memory, it explains that people will always tend remember for a long time events which were emotionally involved such as accidents. One therefore cannot get the accuracy of memories-as time passes, memories change while the accuracy and certainty of ones feelings increases. When one cannot remember an event, it does not mean that the memory is lost. The memories are just repressed-cannot be easily remembered. The information can only be recovered which happens due to a retrieval cue.
The explicit or the declarative memory refers to memories that are available in the conscious. They are programmed by the hippocampus entorhinal cortex and the perirhinal cortex but are combined and stored somewhere else. The exact site of storage for this information is known; the temporal cortex is considered to be the main site for the storage. Declarative memory can also be subdivided into two subdivisions: Episodic memory which concerns the storage of specific events in time that one has experienced in life. These memories are connected to specific times and places where they occurred.
A sematic memory on the other hand concerns the knowledge and understanding about the places that are related to personal events. This level deals with intelligence therefore vocabularies, numbers, concepts, alphabets and facts are stored here. In addition, there are scripts-blue prints of happenings in certain situations in life such as when you go to school, you sit down, look at the timetable and start studying or do work which had not been done. Both levels of memory-Semantic and Episodic Memory are closely related and therefore work closely. Implicit or procedural memory refers to the use things or movements of objects such as use of a computer or how to drive a vehicle.
This memory is programmed and stored by the cerebellum and the striatum. It therefore deals with learning of new experiences or just reminding yourself of what can be done. Other memories which are connected to long term memory is emotional memory which concerns the events that strike strong feelings. Emotion and memory are interconnected hence depends on one another. It involves both declarative and procedural processes. Emotional memories, having distinctive psychological path always exist.
Memories therefore are essential for any organism to perform effectively. Information must be stored for future if not needed immediately. The memory level for this is the long term memory. Memory is an important part of a living organism. It enables information to be retrieved from where it was stored.