Running head: MEMORY
Memory actually takes many different forms. We know that when we store a memory, we are storing information. But, what that information is and how long we retain it determines what type of memory it is. The biggest categories of memory are short-term memory (or working memory) and long-term memory, based on the amount of time the memory is stored. Both can weaken due to age, or a variety of other reasons and clinical conditions that affect memory. Short-term memory which is closely related to "working memory" is like a receptionist for the brain. As one of two main memory types, short-term memory is responsible for storing information temporarily and determining if it will be dismissed or transferred on to long-term memory. Although it sounds complicated, this process takes your short-term memory less than a minute to complete. For example, it is helping you right now by storing information from the beginning of this sentence, so that you can make sense of the end of it. Short-term memory allows recall for a period of several seconds to a minute without rehearsal. Its capacity is also very limited: George A. Miller (1956), conducted experiments showing that the store of short- term memory was 7±2 items. (Kalat, pg. 241) Modern estimates of the capacity of short-term memory are lower, typically on the order of 4–5 items, (Kowan, 2001) however, memory capacity can be increased through a process called chunking. (Kalat, pg. 241) For example, in recalling a ten-digit telephone number, a person could chunk the digits into three groups: first, the area code (such as 215), then a three-digit chunk (123) and lastly a four-digit chunk (4567). This method of remembering telephone numbers is far more effective than attempting to remember a string of 10 digits; this is because we are able to chunk the...
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