Memory types

The human being has three types of memory essential: the short – term memory , the long – term memory and sensory memory.

Short-term memory is dedicated to retaining information for short periods of time. On the other hand, long-term memory has a greater temporality, it usually transcends the passing of the years.

For its part, sensory memory is all the processes dedicated to capturing brief stimuli selectively.

By memory we understand different brain processes that are intended to interpret, store and retrieve information. In this sense, both short and long-term memory intervene in different cognitive processes that help shape learning, intelligence and memories.

Short term memoryLong term memorySensory memory
DefinitionBrain processes responsible for interpreting stimuli and keeping that information for a short time.Brain processes responsible for preserving information for long periods.Brain processes that interpret stimuli for much shorter periods than short-term memory.
Derived systems
  • Executive system.
  • Episodic warehouse.
  • Phonological buckle.
  • Visuospatial agenda.
  • Implicit memory.
  • Explicit memory.
  • Iconic memory.
  • Echoic memory.
  • Olfactory memory.
  • Haptic memory.
  • Taste memory.
Time of permanence of the data.Brief (7 to 40 sec).Long (from minutes to decades).Brief (thousandths of a second).
ExamplesRemember the license plate of a car that just passed.Remember how to ride a bicycle.Perceive a sound in the middle of a crowd.

Short term memory

Short-term memory (MCP), also called active memory or secondary memory, is responsible for processing sensory stimuli and converting them into information that will be stored for very short periods.

The duration of a stimulus in short-term memory does not exceed 40 seconds, while the number of stimuli that can be perceived ranges from two to seven stimuli.

Despite the short time in which information is available in active memory, it has great value in cognitive processes related to logical reasoning and problem solving.

In addition, if the stimulus is repeated persistently, it will no longer be stored in short-term memory, but will go directly to long-term memory. This fact is decisive to understand that active memory is not a store of memories but rather an active system that provides information to long-term memory.

For this reason, if short-term memory suffers some type of damage, either for pathological reasons, aging processes, etc., this will directly affect the acquisition of new skills, since they will not have access to long-term memory. term.

Types of short-term memory

Short-term memory is divided into 4 sub-systems that specialize in different types of stimuli:

  • Executive system : responsible for regulating all short-term memory processes.
  • Episodic warehouse : it is the system in charge of processing various stimuli and converting them into a representation with visual, verbal, spatial and temporal information.
  • Phonological loop : it is the system in charge of retaining alpha numeric verbal information (letters and numbers).
  • Visuospatial agenda : it is the system that retains information in the form of images.

Examples of short-term memory

Short-term memory is in permanent activity. Some daily activities in which he intervenes are:

  • Remember people’s names.
  • Remember directions.
  • Remember figures or series of numbers (phone numbers, license plates).
  • Remember people’s faces or specific images (the color of a car).

Long term memory

Long-term memory (MLP) or inactive memory is the information storage system capable of retaining stimuli for periods of time ranging from hours to years.

The ability to store information and keep it available immediately without being forgotten depends on several factors:

  • The depth with which the stimulus was processed.
  • The associations that have been made to retain the information (some people remember long series of numbers because they associate them in a particular way).
  • The number of times the information has been retrieved (the more times something is remembered or recapitulated, the more difficult it will be forgotten).

Long-term memory depends on short-term memory, since the latter is the gateway for stimuli that, if repeated regularly, become part of the inactive memory.

Long-term memory types

The inactive or long-term memory is divided into two large systems:

Explicit memory

Also called declarative memory, it is responsible for storing information that is consciously available. In turn, it is divided into two sub-categories:

  • Episodic memory : stores information about specific moments in time and space.
  • Semantic memory : retains general information, allowing a better understanding of the world, even if the details are unknown.

Implicit or procedural memory

Also called non-declarative memory, it is the system in charge of retaining information related to motor skills.

Examples of long-term memory

Some examples of the use of long-term memory that we do in everyday life are:

  • Remember an episode from childhood.
  • Remember that by pressing a button, you can turn a device on or off.
  • Remember how to ride a bicycle after years of inactivity.

Sensory memory

Sensory memory involves all the encoding processes of external stimuli for very short periods of time and selectively. In this sense, it can be confused with short-term memory, however, the period of permanence of the information is much shorter, since it only lasts a few milliseconds.

Depending on the type of stimulus and its relevance, this information can be discarded or it can be transferred to short-term memory, where it will remain for a few more seconds.

Sensory memory types

Sensory memory is subclassified into:

  • Iconic memory : it is responsible for processing visual stimuli.
  • Echoic memory : auditory information process.
  • Olfactory memory : records smells.
  • Haptic memory : processes the information captured by the sense of touch.
  • Taste memory : records flavors.

Examples of sensory memory

  • The smells that we perceive when we walk down the street (there are many stimuli and not all of them remain in our memory).
  • The sounds, noises and voices that we quickly register at a party.
  • The textures that we perceive when touching everyday objects.

See also:

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *