Projects Essay

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Briyana Sapp Professor Fuller Article #1 February 17, 2015 Fundamentally, memory represents a change in who we are. Our habits, our ideologies, our hopes and fears are all influenced by what we remember of our past. At the most basic level, we remember because the connections between our brains’ neurons change; each experience primes the brain for the next experience, so that the physical stuff we’re made of reflects our history like mountains reflect geologic eras. Memory also represents a change in who we are because it is predictive of who we will become. We remember things more easily if we have been exposed to similar things before, so what we remember from the past has a lot to do with what we can learn in the future. An understanding of memory is an understanding of the role of experience in shaping our lives, a critical tool for effective learning in the classroom and beyond. In this article we will explore how experiences become memories, and we’ll examine whether the way that we create and store memories can influence the way that we remember and block thing out of our brain. Scientists divide memory into categories based on the amount of time the memory lasts: the shortest memories lasting only milliseconds are called immediate memories, memories lasting about a minute are called working memories, and memories lasting anywhere from an hour to many years are called long-term memories. Each type of memory is tied to a particular type of brain function. Long-term memory, the class that we are most familiar with, is used to store facts, observations, and the stories of our lives. Working memory is used to hold the same kind of information for a much shorter amount of time, often just long enough for the information to be useful; for instance, working memory might hold the page number of a magazine article just long enough for you to turn to that page.

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