Human memory

Human memory is definitely one of the most intriguing aspects of human nature, memory has been studied in terms of computer analogies wherein the memory is like a bottomless vessel where all the information we have come across in our lives are stored (Gleitman, Fridlund & Reisberg, 2004 p. 268). For example, we undergo at least 15 years of schooling which means that for 15 years we have been bombarded by numerous information and data that we have stored in our memory but some are remembered and some are not.

This would mean that our brain actually do a little housekeeping of its own by weeding out the not so important information that we have heard, read or seen or learned about. This led to the concept of short and long term memory, wherein some information are stored only for a limited amount of time while long term memory means that even if the incident happened years ago, we still are able to remember it.

Information is stored in the memory through a process of encoding and some theories say that this encoding does not occur immediately, it would take some time before the brain process and encode the relevant information gathered along the day. Remembering is the process of retrieving information or data from memory and bringing it to consciousness. The process of encoding and retrieval happens in split milliseconds and how intricate the system is has only been studied in recent years (Rosenzweig, Breedlove & Leiman, 2002 p.

331) Since memory is highly associated with the brain because it is the brain that process and catalogue the information that is felt or experienced by the person. Thus, any damage to the brain may affect memory. One of the most common memory dysfunction is amnesia; this condition is manifested when a person does not remember all or some things about the person’s life, family or work. A person who has amnesia will actually not be able to remember anything although there are varying degrees and types of amnesia.

A rare condition is also caused by head trauma such as not being able to remember faces of previous acquaintances. A simpler mix-up in the memory network is called deja vu, wherein the individual would think that the present experience had already been experienced although it was not. They say that the delay is caused by how the neurons in the brain fire their signals to each other to create a visual image as if it was a dream or a memory (Gleitman, Fridlund & Reisberg, 2004 p.12).

A popular affliction among the aged is Alzheimer’s disease whose primary symptom is not being able to remember any person, family member, friend or work that they used to have. Alzheimer’s had been found to be connected to the brain and an over stressed and undernourished brains actually are more prone to the condition as new research showed.


Hothersall, D. (1995). History of Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill. Huitt, W. & Hummel, J. (1997).An introduction to operant (instrumental) conditioning. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from, http://chiron. valdosta. edu/whuitt/col/behsys/operant. html Gleitman, H. , Fridlund, A. & Reisberg, D. (2004). Psychology 6th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Rosenzweig, M. Breedlove, S. & Leiman, A. (2002). Biological Psychology: An introduction to behavioral, cognitive, and clinical neuroscience. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

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