Memory is essential to our life. Without a memory of the past, we would not be able to learn, and would not be able to function in the present. Without it, we would not be able to respond to a situation. How does the three-pound mass between our ears hold onto our new and old memories? This involves a complex process in the brain. Every person has a sensory, short term and long term memory. Memories, whether it is good or bad, molds our character – it shapes who we are.
The brain is constantly processing a lot of information, e.g., images, smells, sounds into our memory. As babies, memories help us grow and learn. We use these memories to recognize our parents, our mom by their scent, and our likes and dislikes for various foods. The stimuli are processed and stored in our sensory and short term memory. ‘Brain cells work together as a team, organizing themselves into groups. The groups specialize in different kinds of information processing’ (‘How Do We Remember?’ n.d.). From these simple, yet intricate experiences, we grow and develop our character.
As we try to remember a phone number or a set of instructions for class, we are using our short-term memory. Our brain can hold and manipulate the information in the present moment. However, as soon as we are given another set of numbers or instructions, we will begin to forget the initial information. We can improve our memory by performing brain exercises. Paradis (as cited in Capaldi, 2008, pp. 30-33) states that ‘If you want to increase your memory, EXERCISE IT!’. For example, one can change their routine by using their non-dominant hand to perform tasks the dominant hand generally performs. Any task or game to keep the three-pound mass between our ears pumping.
We would never forget our first kiss, our first love, or lyrics to our favorite song. All those years of memories are stored in our long term memory. ‘Long term memory stores information, experiences, and ideas long after you stop thinking about them’ (‘How Do We Remember?’ n.d.). Where the short term memory is limited, long term memory has a very large capacity. Retention of long term memory can range from a few hours to a lifetime. For example, the information we studied for our test will remain with us for a few days, while vital information that we use daily, e.g., walking, talking and eating we remain with us for a lifetime.
Memory is an intricate part of our lives, it’s who we are. Not a moment in our lives goes by where we do not have to remember anything. Memory is our ability to store, retain and recall information and experiences. Our sensory, short term and long term memory need to be taken care of. With the proper exercise daily, we will improve our memory and keep the three-pound mass happy.