How does our memory work exactly? How is it that we do certain things without thinking or how is it that we can no longer recall certain things? Modern scanning techniques and research have shown that our brain is much more complex than often thought. Our memory consists of different memory systems or processes, which work closely together and are always specialized in different types of information. We will list them below.
The sensory memory
When we perceive something, this perception, as it were, makes an impression in our brains of what we have seen, heard, tasted, felt or smelled. All incoming incentives or incentives be put as it were, so that they can then be kept or thrown away. The sensory memory is therefore very large, but also of very short duration.
The working memory
Information received through the sensory memory is then processed in the main memory, or also called short-term memory. So the main memory is actually a kind of worksheet, on which we secure the incoming information and then edit it. For example, it allows us to remember a telephone number that we are looking for. However, this memory can only process a limited amount of information, which is why we cannot remember an entire phone book. New information, as it were, constantly displaces the old information. So if someone reads something or thinks about something, they use the working memory. People who speak quickly can therefore store more in their working memory
The semantic memory
Semantic memory is actually our encyclopedia of the world. It's us memory for meanings, concepts, rules, procedures, ... It ensures that we know, for example, that a dog is an animal, that an apple is fruit, ... This memory has unlimited capacity and the information is never erased. It can, however, become more difficult to access (because, for example, it was long ago). You can compare it to a computer file that you can open using keywords.
The autobiographical memory
This memory contains our personal history, our autobiography, as it were. Our autobiographical memory has three separate systems: the memory for periods of life such as your childhood, general events such as your first job and specific moments. It makes us an individual and gives us a sense of the past. This part of the memory is also the most vulnerable and is more likely to be affected by old age. Some scientists claim that absolutely everything we experience remains in the autobiographical memory. However, we can often remember striking events better because we have experienced them with more attention. In addition to the event itself, the autobiographical memory also records the emotions we felt with it. Hence it is possible that two people remember a certain event differently.
The silent memory
Finally, the silent memory helps us to do certain things without having to think about it, such as the drive home after work. When we cycle home, we don't think about the route whether we have to go left or right. So it is as it were our automatic pilot.
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