• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is Memory and What Causes Memory Loss?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WHAT IS MEMORY AND WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF MEMORY LOSS? What is memory? As part of a continuous process in which living creatures obtain and store information are three phases: Perception, learning and memory. Human memory has been studied and researched in science and philosophy for thousands of years and has become one of the major topics of interests in cognitive psychology. Simply put, memory is the mental activity which refers to the processes used to obtain, store, retain and retrieve information that one may have learnt or experienced. However, such a simple statement covers a complex process. Scientists still do not fully understand how the human memory works but they have carried out many memory tests on humans and animals and studies of brain damage has provided some insight into the memory processes. In the brain, there is no single place where a person can think, remember and learn. These processes are spread out among many different parts of the brain, especially the 'grey matter' of the cerebral cortex; the outer layer of the cerebrum (See figure 1.0), which receives messages from the senses, does most of the thinking and stores the memories of facts and events. ...read more.

Middle

Concentration is needed when trying to remember a certain piece of information. By switching focus to something else or carry out another mental activity completely wipes out the information previously held in the short term memory. The mechanism of rehearsal allows information to be passed from the short term memory to long term memory. The more often an item occurs in the short term memory, the more likely it is to be transferred into the long term memory. Long Term Memory The third part of the system, long term memory contrasts with sensory memory and short term memory in that information can be stored for extended periods of time and has virtually unlimited capacity and can store unlimited amounts of information indefinitely. Long term memory allows a person to remember events that may have happened years before and takes place through permanent chemical or structural changes in the nerve cells which are caused by patterns of electrical activity within the cells. The longer an electrical pattern relating to a particular memory is, the stronger the chemical or structural basis of the memory become. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stress, which leads to lack of sleep and depression is common with aging. People with head injuries and any other infections may experience memory problems as well. Amnesia is the loss of the ability to memorise information or recall information stored in the memory and is thought to be due to damage to the neural pathways in the brain that control memory. Amnesia usually affects long term memories than short term memories. Possible causes of this disorder include: head injury, disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, infections and thiamine deficiency in alcoholics. Memory is the ability to store, retain and retrieve information. When there is some damage to the part of the brain that performs these functions then that is when memory loss can occur. Memory loss is a symptom where a person experiences an unusual level of forgetfulness and inability to recall past events. For a very long time, humans have tried to understand what memory is, how it works and why it goes wrong. It is an important part of what makes us truly human, and yet it is still one of the most elusive and misunderstood of human attributes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Psychology essays

  1. Testing the effect of different types of music on memory.

    Each word will be no more than three syllables long. Uncontrolled Variables Outside music Outside music may influence the independent variable as well as the participants' concentration. Find and use a room with the least amount of exterior disturbance. Variation between participants Participants will be from Queensland Academies for Health

  2. Clive Wearing and HM - Two Evaluations of Brain Function and memory loss.

    This allowed in-depth information to be revealed by both the patient himself as well as noticeable differences by people that are around him Case studies are often longitudinal meaning that we can see changes in behaviour over time HM Clive Wearing As the study of HM was completed over a

  1. To What Extent Is Memory A Reliable Process?

    Furthermore, the study was conducted in a laboratory, issuing the cautionary applicability to the real world. To elaborate, the video played did not elicit any emotional stir or relevance to the participants. In reality, real-life incidents with powerful emotional would impact heighten the accuracy of memory.

  2. This essay will evaluate flashbulb memory on how emotion can affect cognitive process.

    too little arousal, as people would less likely process all information from lack of attention. Moderate levels of stirred emotion, however, general improve recall accuracy. The eyewitness theory (EWT) demonstrates that memory recall is improved by heightened physiological reactions. As explained, flashbulb memory states that the emotional impact of the event is so strong that it imprints a long-lasting memory.

  1. An experiment to investigate whether word connotation truly does have an effect on memory

    To do this, participants were branched into two different groups with different schemas associated with each group. The first group was given the schema of a house buyer and the second group was given the schema of a thief. They were then asked to read a story about a house ? after, the participants were given assignments to complete.

  2. OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES PSYCHOLOGY HL EXTENDED ESSAY

    These occurrences don?t happen simply by going to sleep. There are 4 ways you can induce an OBE (astral projection the OBE that is done on purpose), unconscious, conscious, spontaneous and voluntary (http://www.astraltraveler.com/obe.html). 1st the most common of the four are spontaneous projections. These are the most common and where most reports come back from saying that he/she has had an OBE.

  1. Flashbulb memory

    Additional support comes from a study by Conway et al. (1994). These researchers used both UK and non-UK citizens to study FBMs caused by the unexpected resignation of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1990. There were several data collection points in this study including a few days after the resignation and after 11 months.

  2. Neuroplasticity is the brains ability to change and lay down new neuron pathways as ...

    However, limitations in this experiment must be considered to conclude to a reliable result. Their research was done entirely in a laboratory environment; hence it cannot be applied to reality or real world situations with natural factors. The cages of a specified category of an ?enriched? and ?impoverished? environment are

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work