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What is Memory and What Causes Memory Loss?

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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.


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.


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.

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