Types of Memory
Memory is not just about reminiscing on our life experiences when we reach the golden years. It's what makes it possible for all of us to function on a daily basis without even having to give memory use much conscious thought. That changes of course when we have our hands full of shopping bags with toddlers in tow and can’t find the car in the mall’s underground parking garage! By then we know our short term memory recall could benefit from some fine tuning: Steps to improve your memory
Even so, as much as occasional memory lapses can be experienced by people of all ages, with some being both inconvenient and even embarrassing, we shouldn’t be afraid that every slip is necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Our memories take shape in a variety of forms. To the extent we may understand that memory means the storage of information, depending on what information is being stored and for how long will determine what type of memory is being used.
The primary categories of memory types that we are familiar with are short-term memory (also known as working memory) and long-term memory. Both categories (short term and long term memories) can weaken due to age, clinical conditions that impact memory, and a number of other influencing factors.
The conversion of short-term memory to long-term memory requires the passage of time. This process allows it to become resistant to interference from competing stimuli or interfering factors. This time-dependent process of stabilization, in which our experiences achieve a degree of permanency in our memory banks, is known as "consolidation."
To discover how long-term memories have consolidated in your brain, take a stroll down memory lane: Find out now
Memory types defined:
- Short-term Memory
Memory processes associated with preservation of recent experiences and with retrieval of information from long-term memory; short-term memory is of limited capacity and stores information for only a short length of time without rehearsal.
- Long-term memory
Memory processes associated with the preservation of information for retrieval at any later time.
Definitions cited from the American Psychological Association. APA
Within the broad category of Long Term Memory, we further differentiate and classify these distinct memory functions:
- Autobiographical Memory
Also known as the ‘memory bump’ it can conjure up vivid scenes, sounds, tastes, and emotions from our past.
- Explicit Memory
This is what most of us have in mind when we think of memory. Also referred to as ‘declarative memory,’ this is a form of long term memory that requires conscious efforts to recover information through memory processes.
- Implicit Memory
Availability of information through memory processes without the exertion of any conscious effort to encode or recover information.