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Human Memory - What Is Memory and How Does It Work?

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,877 Words (12 Pages)  •  2,780 Views

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Our memory is the most remarkable aspect of our mental lives. We would not be the most intelligent species if it weren't for our memory. It is most intriguing how our memory works and our ability to recall things years after learning them. What matters to us most is retained in our long term memory and information not so important is stored in our short term memory. And, sometimes we have the information in our heads, but, we experience interference when it's time to recall that information. In aviation, memory directly affects all aspects of what we do. If we forget things which we must remember, then it could prove devastating to the passengers and crew. Psychological research has provided us with many suggestions on methods for improving memory. Although there are many techniques one can use to improve learning and improve memory retention, different techniques will work for different people.


Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be smarter than others? Is it that they remember more than others or that fact that they don't forget as much, because remembering and forgetting are closely associated with each other. And then there are those people who are able to commit to memory, a large amount of information in a short period of time, only to dump the majority of that same information a short time later. If we didn't have "memory", then we would always be living in the perpetual present, without the ability to recall the past or to relate new experiences to our already stored knowledge. In aviation, with hundreds of lives at risk, it is of the utmost importance that we be able to recall information at a moments notice.

What is memory and how does it work?

Memory can be thought of as the capacity for storing and retrieving information. Scientific study of memory began in the early 1870's by a German philosopher named Hermann Ebbinghaus. Memory process occurs in the temporal lobe of the brain. Hearing and language, which are directly associated with memory also takes place in the temporal lobe. In the past ten years, research on memory has taken a significant turn. Memories were once thought of as a single unit with an identifiable place of residence somewhere in the brain which was recalled at a specific time. Today however, memory is regarded as a reconstruction from many different chunks of information stored redundantly throughout the brain. Human memory is not a single unitary function, it is an entire series of complex interconnected systems which serve different purposes and behave in very different ways. We therefore can say that we do not a have a memory; we have many memories working together. We can also refer to memory as learning that sticks.


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