A Study of Human Memory

AStudy of Human Memory

AStudy of Human Memory

Thechapter discusses the different states of mind, why we remember whatwe do, why we forget, and how human memory functions. Further, thetopic brings the debate on intelligence and how intellect is tested,and how powerful the mind is in control of situations of hypnosis andrelaxation (King, 2014). The chapter also looks at the external andinternal factors that affect the state of mind and its ability tofunction, where stress, noise, alcohol, emotions, and drugs areconsidered as factors. The state of mind is crucial in aiding thesmooth running of personal affairs, and any factor that does not seemto support so is the course of this study.


Memoryis the storage component of the human brain that helps us to rememberwhat we see, do or learn today and in the future as and when needed.Just like a computer, there is the need for the human beings to havethe memory to store data and information for future reference (King,2014). The processes involved in memory just like in other softwareis encoding, a data transformation process for storage purposes. Thatinformation comes to our mind as images and sounds. The secondprocess is real storage which is holding of information and beingable to remember in the future. For one to store the information inthe memory, a psychological change must take place to allow thathappen. That comes in the form of acceptance, embrace, anddeclaration to that effect. The final process is the retrieval ofinformation as and when the demand arises. Recovery involves bringingout the memory and reversing the stored information to encoding andhaving the data as it was stored or fed to the mind. Human brainacts just like a computer memory only that people operate computers.The differences between the two are that computers have permanentstorage and deletion while that of the human mind has three distinctparts which are sensory, short term and long term memory. Humanbrain forgets but not permanently while that of the computer isdeleted. It was noted that human memory removes informationtemporarily which is depicted through forgetting, but it ultimatelyregains remembrance after some time.

WhyWe Remember What We Remember

Thetype of memory that the mind has engaged is the reason forremembering what we remember. The human mind may not understand thatout rightly, but psychologists will know the kind of memory at work(King, 2013). However, the three types of memories are the reasonsfor recalling all we do. They are a sensory memory, short-termmemory, and long-term memory. To start, short term memory has sixreasons why information is stored therein. First is the primaryeffect where it is noted that human memory tends to remember whatcomes into the mind first that that which comes later. Numerals thatare initially fed into the memory are retained due to frequentrehearsals than done to those in the middle of the numbers. Recencyeffect is the second where the most recent bit of information or datais easily remembered than the previous one. Thirdly, reason is thefrequency at which one encounters certain characters in informationthus kept in the short term memory. The fourth reason is associationwhere if one is intimately associated with a certain component ofinformation, then it is stored in the short term memory. The finalgoal is destruction which helps us fill the blanks so as to have acomplete image of what is being remembered. For example ten elderlypersons who claimed that they were born again in church were askedwhether they could remember when they gave their life to Jesus, andall could even enumerate the events of that day. They had done sobetween thirty and forty five years ago. That shows how significantgetting saved was to the elderly persons. The information that goesinto the long term memory shows the significance and importanceattached to the incidence (King, 2013). It is hard to forget hisgraduation day, wedding day, the first kiss and even a birthday. Therefore, when information is processed some degree of significanceis attached to the issue and thus, that is transferred to thelong-term memory.


Itis a natural occurrence to remember, and as well to ignore problemsand facts. Further, how would it look like if everybody remembersevery minute and each detail that happens no matter howinsignificant, well, wrong or worthy the case would be made to looklike? On the contrary, imagine a bid to remember where one left thebunch of keys. That brings us to the area of forgetting as we cannotengage in recognizing concept and remember the opposite of the same.The reasons why human beings forget is because some information failsto reach the long term memory, and if it does, it is lost before itis attached to the long term part of the mind. The second reason ishaving redundant information in the brain that remains unused for anextended period. The human brain is formatted in a way that wheninformation is out of use, it decays and thus forgotten. However,failure to remember is not permanent in the human brain, but theinformation is retrievable through various means like creating therequired environmental conditions for one to recall. In an examsituation, much of the information is usually lost during the period,but interestingly it is recovered after the test session.


Thememory functions require one to recall and forget which are bothnatural and physiological. The human mind needs a favorableenvironment to remain memorably viable and help in being productivein human work. It was noted that the reasons for remembering andforgetting are overlapping, and issues that were noted was thesignificance attached to the points in the human mind. The otherissue was association and frequency of encounter with the issues.Those were pertinent to lodge a case that human memory could functionon both sides of remembering and forgetting depending on providedenvironment. It was also noted that forgetting and recalling issuesare both not permanent but timely and are all retrievable.


King,L. (2014). The Science of Psychology. NY: McGraw-Hill.