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Do you know the 4 types of memory we have and how to improve it?



Memories come in many different forms. There are many things that researchers don’t understand about human memory and how it works.
Scientists debate classifications of memory. There are many theories about the types of memory in the human brain. Most scientists believe that there are at least four general types of memory:

working memory
sensory memory
short-term memory
long-term memory

Some researchers suggest that they are not distinct types of memory, but rather stages of memory. According to them, memory begins with sensory memory, moves to short-term memory, and then can move to long-term memory. A memory that a person uses only briefly, such as a word they use at the beginning of a sentence, is part of working memory and may never move on to another part of memory.

The 4 types of memory

1 Sensory memory

Sensory memory retains sensory information for very brief periods of time, typically 1 second or less. The processing of memories and other information begins in this type of memory.

If a person pays attention to sensory input, then the information can pass into short-term memory then long term.

Here are some examples of sensory memory:

the recording of sounds that a person encounters during a walk
briefly recognize something in the field of vision
Sensory memory helps a person piece together a sense of the world from recent sights, sounds, and other sensory experiences.

When a specific sensory experience becomes relevant, like the smell of something in the kitchen, it can switch to other types of memory. Otherwise, sensory memories are very short-term, and a person quickly forgets them. For example, a person will not remember all of the specific sounds they heard during the 30 last seconds, 34 minutes or 29 days, unless there is a reason to remember.

2 Short-term memory

Short-term memory allows a person to remember a string limited information for a short time. These memories disappear quickly, after about 50 seconds. Short-term memory is not just memory that does not last long. Rather, it is a type of short-lived storage that can only hold a few pieces of information.

Here are some examples of short-term memory:

memorizing a string of 5 to 7 words and repeating it
remembering a phone number while picking up a pen to write it down

3 Working memory

Working memory is similar to short-term memory. However, unlike the latter, working memory is the space where a person manipulates information.
It helps him to remember the details of his current task. Here are some behaviors that use working memory:

– solving a complex math problem where a person must remember multiple numbers
-cooking something, which requires remembering the ingredients that have already been added
taking part in a debate, during which a person must remember the main arguments and evidence used by each side

While scholars generally separate working memory and short-term memory into two different categories, research often finds significant overlap between the two.

4 Long-term memory

Long-term memory stores a wide range of memories and experiences. Most memories people remember, especially those older than 34 seconds, are part of the long-term memory. Many researchers divide long-term memory into two subcategories: implicit memories and explicit memories.

– Explicit long-term memory

Explicit memories are conscious memories of events, autobiographical facts, or things that a person learns.

Here are some types of long-term explicit memory.

Episodic memory

These are memories of events or autobiographical facts. Examples of episodic memory include remembering an election, childhood events, and personal facts, such as whether someone is married.

Semantic memory

Semantic memories are general knowledge about the world. A person can remember a fact or an event that he did not experience because he learned or studied it.
For example, knowing what the human heart looks like is an example of semantic memory. However, it would be an episodic memory if the person remembered dissecting a pig’s heart at school.

– Memory long-term implicit

Implicit memories are memories that influence a person’s behavior. However, people don’t consciously think about it.

Procedural memory

Procedural memory helps a person perform familiar tasks, such as walking or driving.

At first, they may have to learn how to do these things and remember specific skills, but eventually these tasks become an automatic part of procedural memory.


Priming occurs when experiences influence a person’s behavior. For example, a smoker may crave a cigarette after a meal, or an experimenter may train a person to press a button in response to a photo. Classical and operative conditioning is the conditioning of first-order people or animals to adopt specific behaviors in response to certain experiences.

Memory has Does it have unlimited capacity?

Working memory, sensory memory and short-term memory have lower capacities. This is because these types of memory only last for a short period of time.
With short-term memory, there is usually a specific limit to the amount information a person can remember, usually about seven items.

Some people may increase their short-term memory capacity with practice. The brain is not a computer, and memories do not take up space in physical space. In theory, there is no specific limit to the capacity of long-term memory. However, the quality of memories and their details may vary and change over time because:

Memories may be unreliable

The brain does not store memories perfectly, so memories can change or fade over time.

Many studies suggest that memories are unreliable even when a person remembers something very clearly. In a study done in 2015, researchers have succeeded in just a few hours in convincing innocent people that they had committed serious crimes, such as assault with a weapon, during their adolescence.

Can a person have a photographic memory?

Some people have exceptionally good memories. People with hyperthymia, an extraordinarily rare condition, may recall all or most of their autobiographical memories. Others can exercise their memory to better remember information or remember strings of words or numbers.
There is no scientific evidence that anyone has a memory called photographic. The brain is not a camera and cannot store information perfectly.

Improve your memory

Here are some strategies to improve memory:

-Develop mnemonic devices to memorize new information. For example, memorizing all the names in a room might involve creating a rhyme or association for each name.
-Doing riddles and puzzles .
-Develop strong memory associations to help remember things. Talking about recent memories or keeping a journal can help cultivate these associations.
-Do cardiovascular exercise to promote brain health. Physical activity improves all the markers of good brain activity. Thesis included.


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Camina, E., & Güell, F. ( 2017). The neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and psychological basis of memory: Current models and their origins.

Cascella, M., & Khalili, YA (2203). Short term memory impairment.

Cowan, N. (2008). What are the differences between long-term, short-term, and working memory?

Keane, MM, et al. (2014). Attention and implicit memory: Priming-induced benefits and costs to distinct attentional requirements.

Lacy, JW, & Stark, CEL (2014). The neuroscience of memory: Implications for the courtroom.

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Shaw, J., & Porter , S. (2014). Constructing rich false memories of committing crime .

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