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How Does Memory Work?

Essay by review  •  December 30, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,637 Words (7 Pages)  •  779 Views

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How does memory work?

You think that going to the gym is enough to work out all your muscles, well that's not true there is one muscle that you can work just through reading a book. Your brain believe it or not is a muscle. I found this fact pretty interesting, so if you don't work out your brain, it becomes weak interesting, huh? Well that is just one interesting fact that I've learned about the brain through my I-search paper on the way memory works.

You may ask yourself if I could choose any topic to research, why I would choose such a "boring" topic to some people. Well I had a lot of trouble in the beginning... I just had random ideas come in to my head but nothing that could be a topic for research. Finally I decided to do something on the brain; I could not narrow it down to a specific questions but in the end I decided to do the way memory worked because I thought it be interesting and something that I would enjoy learning about. Don't you think the way we are able to remember certain events or moments that took place, is awesome; well I became really interested so I decided to find out how the brain was able to do this.

After deciding on this topic, and spending over a half of an hour trying to think what I knew about this topic I came to the conclusion that I really did not know much, just that there is short term memory and long term memory which almost everyone knows so it was not much of an accomplishment. Short term memory well the name kind of explains it for its self but it's when people are able to remember events that occurred very recently. Like when someone crams in before a test the night before they rely on their short term memory to pass the test that they are studying for. Long term memory also the name says it for its self is when a person is able to remember things that took place a while ago even many years ago.

After giving it a lot of thought to all I know about how memory works which was not much I had a lot of questions that I wanted to find the answers to. I came up with a few sub questions that I was curious about. What parts of the brain were involved with memory? What are the different types of memory? Why are there moments when you just can't remember something? Like you know when you're trying to think of someone's name and it just won't come to mind and after going crazy for about ten minutes you finally remember it. It drives me crazy so I am curios to find out why that happens? And my final question was how to improve memory?

After coming up with my main questions, now it was time to start researching. I was dreading this part I didn't think it be much fun. I went to the library and got a few books on the brain and after starting reading I found out it was not bad at all. There are so many interesting facts about the brain I was sitting there, reading and was amazed about how everything worked. The books that I got were interesting but they were mostly on the parts of the brain and the functions of each not really on how memory worked which I was interested in. I decided to try and see what the internet had to offer. After many different searches the only searches I was getting were on computer memory, not the memory I was looking for, but finally I found some sites on memory.

As I was researching I started to understand more about the way memory worked, an easy way to think of the memory process is to compare it to the way a computer works because they are very similar. The first thing that happens is encoding, right when an event takes place it's processed and it's written in the brain. Encoding takes no effort its something that the brain is just able to do. Thinking them way a computer works this can be done by either the keyboard or a scanner, when it's inputting information in the computer. The second step in memory is storing the information that was just encoded, this usually goes in the brain this is the saving the data on the hard drive in the computer. The last step to remembering is retrieving the information that was stored in the brain. Opening the documents saved in the computer is the same processes that the brain has to do with retrieving information. This is one of the reasons why sometimes you just can not remember someone's name or what you did a certain amount of time ago because the brain can not find that certain data. I found all this information out from Mr. Menchel the psychology teacher at my school he was very helpful.

One of my questions was what were the parts involved in memory? There are many hard names that I have a hard time trying to pronounce in the brain, but the ones involved with memory are the hippocampus which is one of the more important parts of the brain that processes memories. The hippocampus is a horseshoe shaped sheet of neurons located within the temporal lobes and adjacent to the amygdala. Psychologists and neuroscientists argue on the exact role of the hippocampus, but, in general, they agree that it has an essential role in the formation of new memories about experienced events know as episodic or autobiographical memory (Restak).Some researchers prefer to consider the hippocampus as part of a larger medial temporal lobe memory system responsible for general declarative memory, which are memories that can be clearly (Memory).

After doing a lot of research trough the books and the internet it was time to set up my interview. You may ask yourself who you could interview for memory... well I though the best person that could help me with this would be Mr. Menchel the psychology

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