Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is Memory?

        Different people have different memory spans. Have you ever wondered why some people can remember things that look place five years ago, while others can’t remember an incident that took place a year back? This is due to the difference in memory span.

Human Brain and Functions

            Memory can be defined as the capacity to keep information available for later use. The process of memory can be divided into four aspects- learning, retention, forgetting and retrieval.

            The initial storage of information is called learning keeping the new information available is called retention the loss of old information over a period of time is called forgetting and utilization of stored information is called retrieval.

            According to psychologists there are four kinds of learning. Classical conditioning is the simplest kind of learning. Ivan Pavlov studied it during the early 1900s. He offered a dog food and at the same time rang a bell. The sight of food made the dogs mouth watered. Pavlov called this an unconditioned response because it was not learned. Soon however ringing the bell was enough to cause the dog mouth to water. This was called conditioned response. Classical conditioning is often called respondent learning.

            Another form of learning is called instrumental. Often a person learns to do something as a result of what happens after the person does it.

            Multiple response learning is the third type and it takes place when a skill is learnt. A sequence of simple things must first be learned. Using a typewriter is a kind of multiple response learning. At first a person has person learns to type word by word or phrase by phrase.

            The fourth type of learning is insight learning. It means solving a problem through understanding how the different parts of a problem fit together. A simple example is that of a young child wanting to climb on the top of a table. The child may use a stool to get onto the chair and then use the chair to climb onto the table.

            There are two basic theories to explain the process of memorizing events. According to one theory memory is said to be stored in the bring as a memory trace. When we learn or experience something impulse are generated I the nerves of the brain.

            These impulses impart their effects I the brain in the form of a record. According to the other theory sensations by learning produce some permanent changes in the brain which remain there in the form of memory.

            According to some biologists the RNA present in the brain keeps the record of events. It has been observed that the quantity of RNA present in the brain keeps on increasing from the age of there to the age of forty. During these years the memory of the man also increases.

            The quantity of RNA is almost constant from the age of 40 to 55 or 60. Therefore a mans memory is almost constant during this period. After the age of 60 the quantity of RNA starts decreasing and so does the memory.

             The only effective way of remembering things is to repent them many times. Interest is every important. Boring things are much more difficult to remember than something that we understand and are interested in. motivation or desire to do something is also important.