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Short Term And Long Term Memory

1245 words - 5 pages


Encoding and retrieval are essential to the workings of the memory, and the fact that there are two main kinds of memory – short term and long term – is significant. Short term memory holds information for fairly short intervals, whereas long term memory stores information for a far longer amount of time. The relationship between both, as some Psychologists claim, is envisaged by stage theory. When information is encoded, it is stored in short term memory. It must remain there for a long time in order for it to be finally stored in long term memory. The means for retaining it in short term memory is known as ‘rehearsal’. By recalling information repeatedly, the chances of this information being transferred from short term to long term memory increases each time.
Information stored in short term memory has a very limited time span, and there are two main reasons for this. Information can be displaced .ie. old information somehow keeps being dumped whenever more recent information enters. Information can decay .ie. where the memory trace becomes eroded over time by an unknown physiological process, so it’s detail becomes progressively extinct. Often, each factor plays an equal role in memory loss. One way to encode information befre it is erased in short term memory is by a process of organisation. This means the individual groups together or pairs off the necessary information given in order to remember it (store it in short term memory) rather than learning information off at random. This process of organisation makes it much easier to remember information.
In order for learning to occur, the information in short-term memory must be manipulated or transformed. The person will have to rehearse it, convert it, link it, or perform some other action with the information or else it will fade. Cognitive Psychologists present a framework for analyzing this process based upon teacher characteristics, knowledge and presentation; learner prior knowledge, strategies, cognitive processing and affective processing. They call this information manipulation process the encoding process. These strategies emphasize one or more of the four fundamental cognitive processes of the encoding process - selection, construction, integration and acquisition. Rehearsal and affective strategies emphasize the selection and acquisition processes, while elaboration and organization emphasized the construction and integration processes. Copying, underlining and taking selective verbatim notes are obviously selective activities. However these activities can be accomplished without any transfer of knowledge into short-term memory, and it is not uncommon to discover that a student may not remember any of the facts in an essay after having spent ten minutes underlining "important" passages. Similarly, chemistry students can organize lists of different types of acids without integrating the knowledge and transferring the...

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