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Memory one of the most important functions of the brain

Updated on March 27, 2013


One of the most significant brain functions is considered that of memory. It is well defined by psychology as the ability of humans (and maybe animals) to maintain, store and recapture information since a very young age. Memory is fundamental to our lives due to the fact that, its existence gives us the ability to memorize what we have learned, as well as to remember faces of people we have met. Thus, there is no limitation in our cognitive behavior.

There is no universal agreement of how memory substantially works; however, a good explanation of how it works has been well showed in many scientific studies (Schacter, 1996). Memory was introduced as part of cognitive psychology, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by philosophers who carried out studies on memory. The first psychologist to study memory was Ebbingaus, who is well known as the father of modern research in memory. Ebbingaus established a new field of memory research which stands until today.

Short term and long term memory

Alan Baddeley: working memory model

Memory models

Two memory models have been proposed. The first was presented by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968 named the multi-store model. According to this model, human memory is distinguished into three types which are the sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory. Sensory memory is defined as the storage which sustains of what we have seen or heard, lasts no more than a few seconds and has unlimited space. Information from this store is then passed, due to attention into short-term memory. Short-term memory is known as the storage area of sounds, as well as remembering words which might be put in as images, and its capacity consists of 7 items. This type of memory is sensitive to any kind of interference or interruption. Therefore, by rehearsal, information retained in short-term memory is passed to long-term, in which it remains permanently. In this storage area information is put in, in many different ways due to its meaning and how important it is. Nevertheless, no one has agreed on whether short-term and long-term memory, are two different systems.

The second memory model was that of working memory which was proposed by Baddeley and Hitch in 1974. This model proposes that memory consists of four categories. The central executive which is similar to attention, the phonological loop in which speech-based information is stored, the visuo-spatial sketchpad which consists information about things we can see, whereas the episodic buffer which temporarily puts in information from the long-term memory, the visuo-spatial sketchpad and the phonological loop.

Alan Baddeley

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    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 5 years ago

      Thank you very much for your very kind comments wwolfs, :) I am very glad that you enjoyed my work.

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      wwolfs 5 years ago

      Great hub and videos on long and short term memory and how it works. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs as they are very informative and interesting.

      From reading your profile it sounds as though you have been working hard toward your chosen career and there's no doubt that you will be successful.

      In such a short time you have captured the interest of many as human behavior is something complex and intriguing at the same time. Also, looking forward to you sharing your knowledge and research.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 5 years ago

      Thank you Bob :)

    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 5 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Lots of interesting things in your hub, Chris. At 60, I tell folks I've forgotten 95% of my life so I can remember the 5% that's really important!