Human Memory

Types of Memory: Learn More About the Different Types of Memory

Collecting, encoding, retaining, and reproducing memories.

Memory is a unique brain potential to collect, group, and retrieve information. The power of memory grows by memory use, just as our body and health become more robust with physical activity. A strong memory is imperative for learning and acquiring new knowledge. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in almost all aspects of human life. Thus, it is essential to be aware of different types of memory to be capable of its intelligent use, proper development of our cognitive function, and keeping our minds in top shape.


There are four types of memory. Everything that we perceive by the sense organs is processed and retrieved by the sensory memory. Working memory is also one type of memory at work. Short and long-term 'storages' are another two categories that allow collecting, encoding, retaining, and reproducing memories.


Memory Classifications


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Classification of memory is the hottest topic and a prolonged debate for lots of scholars and specialists. Some believe that there are only several major types, such as implicit memory (when acquired knowledge affects our way of behaving) or explicit type (when an individual strives to remember something for its further recalling purposely). In contrast, long and short-term memories are not memory kinds but just stages. So let’s explore in more detail memory types to be able to answer the most burning questions and clear out some concerns:
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  • Why do we have different memory kinds, and how to use them efficiently?
  • How are memories created, encoded, and kept in reserve of our minds?
  • How can memory be improved, and whether it is possible to sharpen outstanding and impressive cognitive skills?


Are you ready for an interesting journey to the most secret regions of our brain? Let’s start our exploration.


‍Sensory Memory and the Importance of its Development


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Our sense organs process most of the information that comes from everywhere. Thus, we can perceive the environment around us and respond to it. Sensory memory captures specific signals, so you can keep them for a short period and retain information for further recognition. Interaction with the surroundings would be impossible without sensory perception of what we see, hear, or smell.


It is considered one of the imperative memory types and plays a significant role in building our short and long-term memories. Discovering how to improve memory, the most useful tip is to activate your sensors since this is where your strong focus, attention, and the capability of your brain to solve problems and keep your mind clear begin. Properly trained sensory memory guarantees the obtaining impressive cognitive skills, improving concentration, and making learning and studying easier.
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Short-term Memory and its Power


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The mind's capacity to keep a small amount of information for a brief period of time is known as short-term memory. In cognitive science, it is recognized as an essential ability and function of the human mind without which a person won't be capable of planning, studying, and generally thinking about things in a logical, rational, consistent, and sensible way. Training different types of memory, the cognitive system that is responsible for short term storage must be your top priority for a couple of solid reasons:
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  • it will help to grow fluid intelligence and flexibility of mind;
  • improving one cognitive skill will definitely lead to boosting the power of other cognitive processes;
  • to retain the sharpness of the mind, you must expand your short-term memory through smartly developed strategies and exercises. Β 


Generally, which memories will be moved to long-term storage depends on the short-term memory.


‍Train Working Memory for Exceptionally Good Mental Capabilities


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Working memory is essential for dealing with cognitive objectives, such as comprehension of speech or language, reading, mathematical abilities application, educating, or reasoning. The important features are that its capacity is limited. However, it constantly updates the stored information. Therefore, working memory helps us to hold in mind the elements for executing simple daily tasks, for example:
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  • combining several actions at once allow, for example, carrying on a conversation and logically answering questions that we were asked;
  • for proper learning, our brain, thanks to working memory, creates connection and correlates fresh information with already acquired knowledge;
  • some studies have found that working memory capabilities may be more crucial than the intelligence (IQ) quotient, and lots of accomplishments in education are associated with the use of this memory.


We use a range of types of memory throughout life; however, working one allows completing an array of objectives from memorizing simple instructions to solving more difficult, multi-stage tasks. Moreover, there is quite convincing evidence that working memory can be increased through constant and regular exercise. Thus, such training can positively affect the development of intelligence and, to some extent, the success of studies and work.


‍Long-term Memory and its Features


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Long-term memory is a system responsible for storing what a person learns for using it in the future. This type of memory can collect and save only what was captured by working memory for a long time. If a few elements limit the volume, then much more details can be held in the storage for permanent memories. It can be attained by repetition or comprehension of the material that should be remembered. For those who strive to achieve exceptional memory and train the ability to accurately and in detail recall almost anything, it is of prime importance to understand that usually, long-term memory has several categories.


‍Explicit long-term memory. Holding a multitude of facts and definitions and some details about episodes and events that have already happened is the task for explicit memory. It is recognized as one that is responsible for our conscious thoughts and knowledge, and it, in turn, can also be cut up into semantic and episodic memory:
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  • Episodic memory: it contains memories of events that took place in the past (for example, some travel memories, new acquaintances, books that were read a long time ago, etc.).
  • Semantic memory: fixing, storing, and updating generalized knowledge about the world (concepts, meanings, definitions, numbers, and facts); semantic memory does not capture emotional reactions to external factors but rather stores them in the form of neutral knowledge.


Comparing these two types of memory, the main thing to be aware of is that semantic memory helps us gain and hold information about our surroundings. In contrast, the episodic type collects our experiences in life.


‍Implicit long-term memory. Sometimes we use obtained knowledge received from the unconscious past experience. Such information is collected by implicit memory. Thus, the subtype of long-term memory plays the most significant role in our cognitive performance and can be divided into:
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  • Procedural memory: it accumulates experience in performing different procedures and actions, such as riding a bicycle or playing a musical instrument.
  • Priming: priming effects are about creating associations between conceptually related objects.


These are fascinating concepts that show us that there are many things that people automatically learn in almost any given situation without trying to remember. These things are simply there, having been learned before, and require no effort to remember. So, as you can see, implicit memory unconsciously affects our behavior.


Our life has lots of distracting moments that lead to a lack of attention and focus. It can be the cause of poor mental skills and sloppy thinking. However, being aware of different types of memory and how they function can be helpful for staying mentally active. So don’t forget to exercise and boost your mind constantly.
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FAQ


What are the 4 levels of memory?


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Everything that we perceive by the sense organs is processed and retrieved by the sensory memory. Working memory is also defined as one of the levels. And, finally, short and long-term storage are another two categories that allow collecting, encoding, Β retaining, and reproducing memories.


‍What is short-term memory?


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Short-term memory exists for holding a limited number of details about the surrounding world for a limited period of time. However, there are many techniques and ways to boost and extend our short-term storage, as it can drastically improve our mental abilities and help shape outstanding memory skills.


‍What is sensory memory?


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Memory has a multi-store mechanism, and sensory type is the first stage in the model. Thus, sensory memory is a great producer of emotions and impressions.


‍What is working memory?


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Working memory mechanism includes brief retention of information processed during the performance of an action. It is a mental space in our memory, where our brain puts the information necessary to perform a task here and now. Its functioning is exceptionally vital for our life, and it determines our emotional and intellectual state. Perhaps working memory is part of consciousness and the key to discovering it.


‍What is long-term memory?


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Keeping things for an extended interval of time is long-term memory. It differs from other types of memories in duration and capacity and can be subdivided into several groups. It would be possible to encode and store an almost unlimited amount of details, concepts, and facts by developing and growing the mental capacity and using some techniques, such as mnemonics.

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Contributors:
Alex Ruzhytskyi

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