Have you ever been introduced to a new person only to forget their name seconds after learning it? Throughout our lives, our brains create a rich tapestry of memories based on the sights, sounds, smells, and everything else that we experience each day. But why can you easily remember some things, like the make and model of your first car, but not others, like what you had for breakfast last week?
Three Types of MemoryYour memory is basically broken up into three parts: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. The sensory memory is like a small holding tank for split-second information from your senses. So, if you’ve ever looked at the sun and then closed your eyes, that after-image is a piece of sensory memory. This only lasts for an instant because your brain is constantly trying to process everything you are experiencing. If someone on the street gives you directions to the post office, then you are engaging your short-term memory. Short-term memory, sometimes known as working memory, is the information that is in your consciousness right now. The duration of short-term memory has been said to be around ten to fifteen seconds long and the capacity of information is about seven items. Different techniques below can help extend that period and eventually help move pieces into long-term memory.
Additional reading:Long-term memory is like the hard-drive of your computer or savings account and it stores facts, observations, and stories that you experience in life. Major events, anomalies, or highly emotional experiences are usually remembered a lot stronger and longer because they are like breaks from regular workings of your brain’s chemistry. Then, the more that you recall these experiences, the more neuron paths are formed to help strengthen these memories. Scientists don’t know how much storage capacity your brain has for memory because they haven’t figured out a good way to quantify it. However, what we do know is that we forget. A lot. Luckily there are easy fifteen ways to improve your memory.