The Sense of Smell and Memory

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Smell and Memory Donnell Brown PSYC304 American Military University Erica St. Germain Smell and Memory What is the best way to commit something to memory? Memory is a combination of the processes used to acquire, store, retain, and retrieve information (Cherry, 2012). Students, professionals, children, and researchers would all benefit from knowing how to best encode information and ensure that information remains imbedded in one's long-term memory banks. The study of human memory has been a major priority for cognitive psychologists for many years. One of the main focuses has been with memory and the five basic human senses. Is it easier to recall a memory that one has seen , heard, touched, tasted, or smelled? In terms of quickness and effectiveness, from a biological and physical standpoint, the sense of smell is the most effective in retaining and retrieving information out of all five senses. The process of in which information is transported into long term memory is called encoding (Goldstein, 2011). This process can be completed in several different ways using the different senses. Events in one life can be committed to memory via sight. Most would say that sight is the most effective sense in recovering memories because when one tries to remember a past event, they attempt to visualize it. Simple visualizations of past events usually only come in flashes and don't give an accurate, detailed depiction of the events that occurred. Hearing is the same, if one focuses on the auditory aspects of a memory, they will only recall what was heard and not many other details of the account. The most detailed and fully formed recalls typically come from memories that are linked with strong emotions. Emotional memories cause a release of hormones from the adrenal glands and these hormones influence the effects or neurotransmitters in the brain, enhancing one's
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