Memory is Essential to Human Life Essay

Memory is Essential to Human Life Essay

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It is stated that memory is the process of maintaining information over time (Matlin, 2005). Memory is essential to all human lives. Without a memory of the past we cannot function in the present or think about or plan for the future. We would not be able to remember what we did yesterday, what we have done today or what we plan to do tomorrow. Also without the memory we would be able to develop or learn anything. The memory is responsible for the processing of huge amounts of information the information which takes different forms like images, sounds etc. Without the memory we would not be able to benefit from the previous experiences in our lives (B, Wood, 1977). The term memory covers three important aspects of information processing according to psychologists and these processes are namely encoding, storage and retrieval. According to William James there are two types of memory which are short term memory (STM) and long term memory (LTM).
During the Encoding process things are stored in the working memory either for immediate use or to be manipulated in conjunction with previous items of similar interests already stored. This is whereby the sensory information is changed or encoded so that we can make sense of it. The three main types of encoding information are Visual (picture), Acoustic (sound) and Semantic (meaning). Storage is the other process whereby the information is stored for future use. How long the stored information lasts, the amount of information stored and what kind of information stored all affects way we retrieve it hence there are differences between how adults, kids and older people retrieve their information. The third process is the retrieval this refers to the getting the information from the storage for...

... middle of paper ... they had to answer one of three questions. Some questions required the participants to process the word in a deep way that is semantic and others in a shallow way that is structural and phonemic way which required medium processing. Participants were then given a long list of words into which the original words had been mixed which they were asked to pick out the original words. The results showed that the words processed structurally lead to the least recall, the words processed phonetically produced the second best recall and the words processed semantically produced the greatest recall. This study explains why we remember some things much better and for much longer than others. This explanation of memory is useful in everyday life because it highlights the way in which elaboration which requires deeper processing of information, can aid memory.

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