Outline and Evaluate Research Into the Nature and Structure of Memory

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Memory is a hypothetical construct in that we know of its existence but we cannot physically see it, it can be described as a ‘the retention of learning or experiences’. Memory is an important part of the learning process, without which experiences would be forgotten and we would not be able to benefit from previous experiences we have had. Unless prior learning can be recorded, it cannot be used at a later date. Early research was constructed by Ebbinghaus (1885) suggested that his own limit for containing memory was 7 items; this was later supported by Miller (1956) with the ‘magic number 7 plus or minus 2). The nature and structure of memory is often referred to two types of memory, Long term memory (LTM) and Short term memory (STM). Long term memory (LTM) is incoming information with the sense that is stored within our memory, and that we can recall when needed. It’s considered to be unlimited, however forgetting long term memory may occur as a result to decay, interference or retrieval failure. There is also more than one type of long term memory; semantic, episodic and procedural memory. Short term memory (STM) is considered as incoming information from the sense which we attend to for only a short period of time. Only when we attend to the incoming sensory information and rehearse it does that information transfer from short term memory to long term memory. Short term memory is thought to be limited to 18-30 seconds, information that is not processed into long term memory is then lost through decay or displacement. The three main areas to memory are encoding, which is the way information is changed so it can be stored in memory. The information enters the brain via the senses including eyes and ears, it is then stored in various forms such as visual codes (pictures), acoustic form (sound based) or semantic form (how we attach meaning or experiences) Encoding
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