The Three Stages of Memory
Updated on January 31, 2024
3 min read

The Three Stages of Memory

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When thinking of an old memory, it might appear to have a different tone to it. This perspective is supported by the changing reality of that memory’s creation. During the very process of inputting a memory into our ‘encoding storage,’ it might not be stored at one hundred percent. At times memories are forgotten or altered when memory formation occurs because there are multiple components at play, and all have to do their part well for promising results.

The three stages of memory include the process of encoding, storing, and recalling information. The encoding consists of memory creation. Storing or storage – inputs the created memory into our mind for future recall of information.


Get ready. The brain is making memories. The stages of memory begin with the encoding process. It is during this part of memory creation where often information is distorted. A human’s mind might not be focused, or the memory does not seem of importance to the brain at that particular time. Information coming is picked up by the human senses. We hear, see, touch, smell, and taste things. Understanding of what is going through our senses will determine how well information is encoded towards future recall. There is the utmost importance for the brain to make the best translation of what is going on in the model of memory creation. Daily, we perceive tons of information and that information is stored in both short and long-term memory. The short term memory can be forgotten in a day, while the long term memory creates significant pathways for far future recall. Due to the importance or unimportance of a particular memory, these pathways are created.


The second stage in the three stages of memory is just as important as the rest. The hippocampus region in the human brain is responsible for the storage of memories. To add, when scientists examine a human brain, that is perceiving information, different areas of the brain are activated – therefore, our whole brain takes part. When brain damage occurs, this is the stage of memory that gets affected most. All previously stored memories might be tainted with altered information, a mix up can happen. Continuous memories are added to our web of ideas; this is where the pathways are formed. When approached with excellent mental acuity, less ‘corrupt’ files will be stored, and the recall process becomes user-friendly. It is the clarity of mental space, which aids in the whole process.


The inability to recall the desired memory at a particular moment does not necessarily mean a memory is gone. It is the inability to have it remembered. Often, information might come back at a later time. When one of our senses is triggered, our brain sends us a reminder: “Hey! This happened by the way last time you felt that gentle summer breeze.” Something about the smell or feel of the breeze that might trigger past memories to rush back into the spotlight. A long term memory might have been unleashed that has a sturdy imprinted pathway for its remembrance. When fresh, short term memory can be quick at recall.

For example, say you had to learn a poem for class, but you forgot all about it. You begin to encode during lunch break. When the time for the class comes, the storage of that memory with the poem is filled abruptly. All of the mental focus is utilized to aim at reciting this poem verbatim – in this case, that is not enough for long term memory creation. Recalling it might be accessible the same day, but when a few months go by, you can hardly remember a word. In this example, all mental focus was used in an instance to complete three stages of memory. Although, when rushed, the process is hindered by incomplete creation within memory pathways. Similar to the mind palace mnemonic technique, when misused, the process of recalling information from one’s mind palace becomes hard to do. Applying a bit of concentration and practice over time will yield to best results. Firm step-by-step process.


In unison, encoding, storing, and recalling information are the three stages of memory. The three stages of memory depend on each other for an uninterrupted creation in memory. In other words, if each step is executed with the least odds against one who is trying to create a memory, – it will be there! In practice, it is enough to be more aware of what is going on and taking on one task at a time. Full focus mode will produce memories to be recalled at ease. The benefit of such actions will enable better learning skills, problem-solving skills, and all-round life situations where trust in your own self is vital.

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