Memory Types and Ways to Improve it

information processing system

Memory refers to the processes of obtaining, storing, retaining, and retrieving information in cognitive psychology. Encoding, storage, and retrieval are the three main processes of memory.

Data must first be encoded before it can be transformed into a usable format in order to generate a new memory. Information is saved in our minds after encoding so that it can be used later.

The majority of our stored memory remains hidden from our awareness until it is needed. If necessary, it initiates the retrieval process, which permits the stored memory to be brought into our awareness.

Memory Types

To understand the basic function and structure of memory, one can look at the stage model of memory, which proposes three separate stages:

Sensory Memory

The process of storing information that occurs as the first stage of the memory process. However, because sensory information is raw, it is only kept for a short time (less than a half-second for visual stimuli and up to 4 seconds for auditory stimuli). This keeps us from becoming overwhelmed because there are so many sensory impulses that we can’t possibly store them all.

Only the information that we pay attention to and the process is transferred from sensory memory to deeper storage systems. Sensory memory is the ability to look at something and recall what it looks like after only a split second of viewing. It is an involuntary response that is beyond our control.

There are two types of sensory memory: visual sensory memory and auditory sensory memory.

Short-Term Memory

It’s the information we’re thinking about or aware of, also known as active memory. This data is created by paying attention to sensory memories and will last between 20 and 30 seconds. Although short-term memories are quickly forgotten, they can be transmitted to the next level if they are seen through repetition.

Long-Term Memory

This is the continuous storage of information. Long-term memory, according to Freud, is preconscious and unconscious. The information is not part of one’s conscious awareness, but it is accessible and useful when needed. While certain facts will be easy to recall, others may be more difficult to locate.

Differences Between Short-Term Memory and Long-Term Memory

The distinctions between short-term and long-term memory become clear when we talk about memory retrieval. Short-term memory is made up of sensory stimuli and is maintained and recalled in sequential order.

For example, if you were given a list of words and expected to remember six of them, you would be required to write down each word in the order that you heard them in order to collect the right information. Long-term memory is organized and remembered according to significance and association.

Ways to Improve Your Memory

We all have problems remembering a piece of complex information or even a name, but some of us are so confused and forgetful that our brains can resemble an empty sieve.

Memory loss is caused by a variety of reasons, including aging, genetics, and medical conditions that affect the brain. Other easily controllable risk factors for memory loss include eating habits and a lifestyle.

There’s plenty of scientific evidence to back up a few memory-boosting tactics we could attempt. Some have short-term advantages, while others can be used to play the long game. Here are a few examples:

Repeat and Retrieve

When you learn something new, you’re more likely to remember it if you hear it again. The connections we make between neurons are strengthened by repetition. Out loud, repeat what you’ve heard. Put that into a sentence. Make a list and read it out loud.

The task, however, does not finish there. When used alone, research has demonstrated that repetition is not an efficient way of learning. You’ll have to sit in the future and try to remember where you recorded the information without looking back.

It is more effective to test yourself in the process of retrieving the information than it is to re-study it. Practicing retrieval is an important and long-term learning process.


A large number of students benefit from visualizing what they learn. Take note of the photographs, charts, and illustrations in textbooks. You can attempt making your own if you don’t have any visual hints. Create charts or drawings on the edges of your notes, or use different colored highlighters or pens to categorize similar concepts in your writing materials.

Stay Social

The role of relationships is crucial in the brain and emotional health. Human interaction is an important type of mental workout. Consider learning a new skill that you’ve always wanted to master and then volunteering for a good cause, joining a club or taking a class, making weekend friends, or perhaps getting a pet for an animal companion.

Exercise and Mediation

Mindfulness meditation may help with memory enhancement. Meditation has been demonstrated in numerous studies to increase brain function, reduce signs of brain degeneration, and improve working memory and long-term memory.

The study looked at the brains of those who meditated regularly and those who didn’t. Their findings suggested that frequent meditation practice could lead to long-term changes in the brain, such as an increase in the plasticity of the brain, which could aid in maintaining its health.

Healthy Diet

The most effective way to maintain mental health is to keep a healthy physique. Reduce the amount of sugary, fried, and other foods that contain a lot of hazardous preservatives, and drink more water. A good diet can improve your memory by increasing your energy levels, increasing your exercise levels, and improving your sleeping habits.

Utilize all of Your Senses

Memory experts also employ an approach in which they do not rely solely on one sense to improve information retention. Instead, they use their other senses, such as taste, color, and smell, to link the information they have.

Have Enough Sleep

Researchers have long recognized the importance of sleep in memory and learning. Studies have shown that taking a break after learning anything new will help you learn faster and remember more knowledge.

An experiment released in 2014 discovered that sleeping after learning something new causes physical changes in the brain. Following the learning challenge, the mice who were not sleeping had less dendritic formation than the animals who were well-rested.

Get Organized

Keeping a to-do list is an excellent approach to remaining on top of everyday duties and developing the habit of writing down tasks that you don’t want to forget. Maintaining a clean and orderly work environment might also help you focus on more important tasks, which can improve memory recall.

Memory Failures

Psychologists investigate why we forget. Memory failure occurs because of many factors like we either didn’t encode the data effectively or couldn’t discover it, probably because the information we’re attempting to recall isn’t readily available (causing memories to degrade).

Memory can be affected by interference, which occurs when competing memories interact with existing memories. Interference can be of two types:

Proactive Interference is when the knowledge we have already acquired interferes with the current knowledge we’re learning. This is where memories from the past interfere with new ones.

Retroactive interfering is when learning later interferes with earlier learning in which new memories break the old ones.

Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus was one of the first to research scientifically memory failure (otherwise called forgetting). In 1885, he experimented with three-letter nonsense syllables like FHG, KYT, and others.

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