Types of Memory

Memory is the process of encoding, storing and retrieving information received by the senses. Encoding describes how information in the form of stimuli reaches the senses, storage is concerned with maintaining information over time and retrieval is the process of locating stored information and bringing this data into consciousness. Memory also refers to the act of remembering and the act remembered. Memory is not exclusive to human beings; memory is an organism’s ability to store, retain and recall experiences and information. The study of memory started in the field of philosophy and was later included in the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Memory can be classified according to information type and whether the information to be recalled is from the past (retrospective) or to be remembered in the future (prospective).

Physiology of Memory

Certain areas of the brain are believed to be involved in memory processing, like the amygdala (emotional memory), hippocampus(declarative learning) and mammillary bodies.To determine which areas of the brain are involved in memory processing, researchers study animal models and patients with damage to those brain areas. Memory, however, is not dependent on a particular region; adjacent areas and pathways and synaptic changes are also implicated in learning and memory. Memory building starts with encoding, which is the perception of data through smell, sound, taste, touch and sight. Information is then encoded and stored in the form of electrical charges and chemicals. Communication between neurons (brain cells) occurs via the synapse, the spaces between neurons and center of brain activity. The firing of pulses across the synapse triggers the release of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which attaches to neighboring cells. These power linkages form a network between cells and groups of…

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Memory Disorders

The study of memory loss in people with amnesia has created much of the knowledge of memory we know today. Besides amnesia, there are many other memory disorders, nearly all of which are caused by damage or injury to parts of the brain involved in memory processing. ¬†Agnosia Agnosia is failure to recognize certain objects, persons or sounds. Familiar objects lose their relevance. Sometimes the geometric features of a face or object can be perceived, but the person does not know what the object is used for or if the face is familiar or not. Hearing or vision can be exclusively affected. Agnosia is usually caused by damage to the brain from neurological disorder (commonly in the occipital or parietal lobes), strokes, dementia or neurological disorders. Types of agnosia include visual, auditory, prosopagnosia, somatosensory and simultanagosia. Agnosia can disturb routine activities and affect overall quality of life. Although there is…

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