A person has innumerable memories within his/her life span, and most of it is forgotten over time; while some struggle to remember things, there are others who wish they could forget certain ugly incidents of their life. But not much is known about how all this works, Dr. Curtis Cripe an expert in neuro engineering is closely associated with the NTL Group, he has diverse knowledge on various subjects such as brain injury, aerospace engineering, addiction recovery, child neurodevelopment etc. His immense aptitude in these subjects is reveled through his blogs which enlighten one about what is the basis of memories.
Any particular memory has three separate stages, namely: Encoding, Storage and Retrieval. The first stage Encoding means that the information that is received is being processed in three ways; either by picture or visual, sound or acoustic or by giving it a meaning or semantic. In a visual coding the individual looks at the physical appearance of the thing and memorizes it, in acoustic coding the individual gets involved in self talk and starts repeating the same thing over and over again thereby memorizing it by sound. The semantic coding happens when one tries to remember one particular thing by associating it with something else that is familiar, in other words trying to give it a meaning.
After the encoding has been completed, comes the part of storing it, and Dr. Curtis Cripe has very clearly explained in his blog about how there are three types of storage in the human brain. They are namely : the short term memory, the intermediate memory and the long term memory. The short term memory also known as the active memory lasts for, as its name suggests, a very ‘short’ time; somewhere between a few seconds to a maximum of 24 hours. This actually is dependent on the kind of relevance that has been attached to it in the brain. The intermediate memory is responsible for deciding how one feels at a given situation.
The long term memories are those that have the capability of being recalled over years, at times throughout one’s life time. This again has various types such as – explicit, implicit, autobiographical, etc. It has been found that humans store distinct memories through varied memory systems.
Finally the process of Retrieval happens when the brain tries to draw out the information that has been stored in the separate memories. It is through this process that it becomes clear which memory has been stored as a short term one and which as a long term. The difference between the two lies in the first being sequentially retrieved and the latter being retrieved through association. In fact, the retrieval of a memory becomes easier if they have stored in an organized manner.
A memory might be a very tiny abstract part of one’s physiology, but the innumerable intricate aspects it beyond imagination. However, it is clear that not being able to remember certain things is not entirely the fault of the individual, there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration.