Scientists recently used electrical stimulation to study the association between brain activity and memory consolidation during sleep in epilepsy patients’ brains. They discovered that using this stimulation to synchronize the firing of neurons in the medial temporal lobe and neocortex increased memory consolidation, particularly for recognition memory tasks.
The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, add to our understanding of memory processes and may have substantial implications for developing therapies for memory problems and dementia.
A Dive into Memory
Memory is the preservation of information across time through the processes of encoding, storage, and retrieval. To be termed memory, anything must be taken in, stored, and then retrieved for future use. Memory is a very complex thing, and it can fail you at times, especially when we are trying to remember something essential in our lives.
Memory can also be confusing, especially when two people witness distinct occurrences. For example, suppose two buddies go on a trip and each remembers things differently. Or I believe it is safe to say that most people have been frustrated when they can’t recollect someone’s name or a location they visited. Memory is obviously not installed in the same way that data is in a computer; human memory is a little more difficult.
Encoding is the earliest stage of memory in which information is processed for storage. When you listen to music or watch TV, you are encoding information into your memory. Some info enters memory almost effortlessly, while others take a long time to enter. Psychology is interested in how information is transformed in data because it varies from person to person.
When we begin encoding, we use selective attention, which means we concentrate on one issue while disregarding everything else. It’s similar to giving your complete focus to a certain factor. Although our brain is wonderful and more powerful than a supercomputer, it has limitations and cannot focus on everything at once.
Divided attention also has an effect on memory, as people attempt to pay attention to too many distinct things at once. When researchers evaluate split attention, they ask subjects to try to remember a set of materials while also performing an additional task.
Participants who concentrate their attention on a single event rather than trying to remember multiple things at the same time do significantly better. However, merely paying attention to something does not ensure that you will remember it.
The encoding procedure is divided into three stages. Processing levels are known as encoding information from shallow to deep, with deeper processing producing better outcomes than shallow.
- Shallow level: The sensory or physical features of the stimuli that are evaluated are included. For example, we could detect the forms of printed characters or the pitch of a specific sound.
- Intermediate level: The stimulus is acknowledged and a distinct label is assigned. For example, we will recognize a moving object on the road as an automobile.
- Deepest Level: Information that is processed semantically, that is, in terms of meaning. When we reach the deepest level, we form connections with things, which increases our likelihood of remembering them in the future.
People’s memories appear to enhance when they create linkages to stimuli employed in deep processing rather than tuning into only the physical aspects. For example, you are more likely to recall someone’s face if you associate it with something other than how they seem. You may give it significance or associate the individual with a renowned person.
However, cognitive psychologists, or psychologists who study the thought process, recognize that memory is more than just deep processing. So to speak, there are several layers of recollection. While we’re on the subject of deep processing, remember that the more comprehensive the processing, the better you’ll recall things. The extent of processing at any level is characterized as elaboration. Rather than simply recalling a definition, you should develop a profound understanding of the word by considering examples that connect to it. This is a popular approach for using Kaplan SAT flashcards. The term is on the front, and the definition is on the back, followed by a sentence that employs the definition correctly.
The first explanation that elaboration is so effective is that it assists in making something distinct in your memory. Consider an occurrence in your life that you recall. The World Trade Center catastrophe, the September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11, in my opinion, had an impact on all persons alive today. Most individuals will recall where they were and how they first learned of the news. People who were present during the incident and survived are likely to have a difficult time forgetting about it and can recall all of the sounds and pictures vividly.
When it comes to perceiving things clearly, imagery is a crucial part of memory. It is critical to use mental imagery to make memories incredibly potent. Remembering where you put your remote control after you finished watching television last night, or where you parked your car on the street, are examples of using mental imagery. Some psychologists feel that employing mental imagery is particularly effective because people recall images rather than words. Images have been shown to aid in the learning of a foreign language.
However, the complexity of storage does not predict how well it will be encoded. Storage refers to the methods by which information is kept for an extended period of time. Some things we remember for years, while others we forget in a minute or less. Sensory memory is a sort of memory that stores information in a sensory form for a brief period of time. It has a lot of detail, however, the knowledge is rapidly lost. Consider the sounds you hear when you get out of your automobile or the sound of a bird singing. These are some examples of common sensory memory.
Next, short-term memory is information that is typically stored for 30 seconds or less; however, there are certain additional ways that can be employed to keep it stored for a longer period of time. Chunking and rehearsing are two methods for improving short-term memory. We’ve all probably had a rehearsal, which is the repetition of anything, usually a number.
If we need to remember a phone number, we can do so by repeatedly repeating the number. Similarly, chunking long numbers can help you recall them. Consider this number – 7525834476 – and then turn away and try to repeat it. How did you fare? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you performed poorly. However, if you had chunked or grouped the numbers together, you could have done better. Instead of trying to remember this large blob of 7525834476, you can chunk it into 752-583-4476. Look at what we got; it looks like a phone number. This is an example of how chunking can aid in the retention of information.