Types of memory and their functions. (2023)

memoryIt is the ability to store and retrieve information when people need it. The four general types of memory are sensory memory, short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory. Long-term memory can be categorized as implicit (unconscious) or explicit (conscious).

Memories make us who we are as individuals, but we don't think much about how memory works. It is a phenomenon that involves various processes and can be divided into different types, each of which plays an important role in storing and retrieving information.

memory types

Researchers and experts have debated the classification of memories for years. Many experts agree that there are four main categories of memory. All other memory types tend to fall into these four main categories.

Memory is also sometimes divided into stages and processes. People who only divide memory into two different types,implicit and explicit memory, believes that other types of memory, such as sensory, short-term, and long-term memory, are not types of memory butstages of memory.

sensory memory

sensory memoryallows you to retrieve sensory information after stimulation stops. Researchers who classify memory as stages rather than types believe that all other memories begin with the formation of sensory memories. Normally, your sensory memory only retains information for a short time. Remembering the feeling of a person's touch or a sound you heard passing by is sensory memory.

When a sensory experience repeats itself over and over again and you begin to associate other memories with it, the sensory experience no longer lives in your sensory memory. It can go to your short term memory or more permanently to your long term memory.

There are three types of sensory memory:iconic, which is obtained by seeing; echoic, which is auditory; and haptics, i.e. by touch.

short-term memory

As the name indicates,short-term memoryallows you to get specific information about anything for a short time. Short-term memory is not as fleeting as sensory memory, but it is also not as permanent as long-term memory. Short-term memory is also known as primary or active memory.

Research estimates that short-term memory only lasts about 30 seconds.When you read a line in a book or a sequence of numbers that you need to remember, your short-term memory is at work.

You can store the information in your short-term memory by repeating the information. For example, if you need to recall a string of numbers, you can repeat them until you type them. However, if you're asked to remember these numbers within 10 minutes of entering them, you probably won't do it.

working memory

Working memory is a type of memory that encompasses the small, immediate amount of information that a person actively uses when performing cognitive tasks.

Although some experts consider working memory a fourth type of memory, working memory can be classified as short-term memory, and in many cases is even used interchangeably.

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long-term memory

We store the vast majority of our memories in ourlong-term memory. Any memory that we can still remember after 30 seconds can be classified as long-term memory. These reminders range from remembering the name of a friendly face at your favorite coffee shop to important information like a close friend's birthday or home address.

There is no limit to how much and how long our long-term memory can store. We can further divide long-term memory into two main categories: explicit and implicit long-term memory.

explicit long-term memory

Explicit long-term memories are memories that we consciously and intentionally take time to form and remember. Explicit storage holds information like your best friend's birthday or your phone number. It usually includes important milestones in your life, such as: B. Childhood events, graduation dates, or academic work you learned in school.

In general, explicit memories can be episodic or semantic. Episodic memories are formed from specific episodes in your life (e.g. the first time you rode a bike or your first day of school).

Semantic memories are general facts and information that you have absorbed over the years. For example, if you remember a random event while solving a crossword puzzle, pull that memory out of your semantic memory.

conditions likeAlzheimer's diseaseIt strongly affects explicit memories.

long-term implicit memory

We don't form implicit memories as consciously as we do explicit ones. Implicit memories are formed unconsciously and can affect a person's thinking and behavior. Implicit memory often kicks in when we learn motor skills like walking or riding a bike. If you learned to ride a bike when you were 10 and didn't start again until you were 20, implicit memory will help you remember how to ride a bike.

Study shows handwriting boosts brain activity and fine motor skills

Why do we have different types of memory?

Every type of memory we have is important, and they all have different functions. Your short-term memory allows you to process and understand information immediately. When you read and understand a paragraph in a book, your short-term memory is in action.

Your most valuable and important memories are stored in your long-term memory. Your long-term memory makes it easier for you to walk, talk, ride a bike, and participate in everyday activities. It also allows you to remember important dates and events.

In your daily activities, you will certainly rely more on your long-term memory. From getting up to brushing your teeth to catching the right bus to work, your long-term memory makes it easy to remember all of these steps.

How long-term memory retrieval works

How are memories formed?

Memories are made in three distinct phases. It starts with coding. Encoding is how external stimuli and information reach your brain. This can be done through any of your five senses.

The next level is storage, where the information we receive is stored briefly, as in short-term and sensory memory, or more permanently, as in long-term memory.

The final stage is recall. Recall is our ability to restore the memory we created to where it is stored. These processes can also transform sensory memory into short-term memory or short-term memory into long-term memory.

can you improve your memory

It's common to hear people complain about thisweak memory. When we try to retrieve information that we have encrypted and stored and cannot, our memory fails. The good news is that it is possible to improve memory and simplify the process of encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Here are someTips that can help you improve your memory.:

  • Be careful with your body. Taking care of your body with a balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep will improve your healthbrain healththis helps you process and remember memories better.
  • train your mind. There are manyactivitiesmiPuzzleYou could do to give your mind a great workout.
  • Use calendars and planners. Clear the memory space in your brain with calendars andPlanerto remember the little things like shopping lists and meeting times.
  • stay mentally active. Constant reading, writing, and studying will help you stay mentally sharp, which can improve your memory.

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5 sources

Verywell Mind uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to back up the facts in our articles. read ourspublishing processfor more information about how we review our content and keep it accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Stangor C, Wallinga J.9.1 Memories as Types and Stages. No:Introduction to Psychology 1st Canadian Edition. BCcampus; 2014.

  2. Camina E, Güell F.The Neuroanatomical, Neurophysiological, and Psychological Foundations of Memory: Current Models and Their Origins.Farmacol frontal. 2017;8:438. doi:10.3389/far.2017.00438

  3. Cascella M, Al Khalili Y. Short-term memory impairment. In: Stat Pearls.StatPearls publication;2021.

  4. Queensland Brain Institute.storage types.

  5. Harvard Health.7 ways to keep your memory sharp at any age.

Types of memory and their functions. (1)

VonToketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been a multimedia storyteller for four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on issues related to women's health and mental well-being.

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