Thursday, February 19, 2015

How your brain works and how it memorizes

As my mother-in-law was aging she was forgetting things, one fine day she even could not recognize us. On the other hand few days back me and my childhood friend had gone to our old house where we would stay when we were small, there we met one of the Uncle's who could remember the minute details when we were small. This all started creating a curiosity surrounding memory and it functions, I started wondering how our brain memorizes these things?

Memory involves delicate coordination between 3 processes that are:

Encoding (mentally processing information so it can be entered into memory)
Storage (holding that information for a period of time)

Long term & Short term

Retrieval (accessing or recalling stored memories when needed)

There are 2 types of Encoding :

1) Automatic encoding - Some encoding occurs effortlessly, automatically without us having to

think about it e.g. Personal experiences, Information of high interest, some type of basic learing

(motor learning etc)

2) Effortful encoding - Requires special attention, thought and practice. You have to work to

get the infor in

There are 3 types or stages of memory:

1) Sensory memory - brief lasing of sensory experience (visual or auditory)

2) Short term memory (STM) - Here the memory holds information we are actively thinking

about; limited in capacity & duration.

3) Long term memory (LTM) - Items encoded into LTM are held almost permanently. LTM has unlimited capacity.

This memory is not stored in brain as books stored in a library, but it is widely distributed throughout the brain cortex in the scattered form. Therefore there is no complete loss of memory even though one of the areas of brain is damaged.

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