Remembering and Forgetting
…hopefully our students don’t do much of the latter!
In our intermediate class we have been learning about ‘memory’.
Have you ever thought about how our minds create new memories, store them, and then are able to recall them when they are needed? The fact that we can do this is pretty spectacular. It’s this process which allows us to learn about the things around us and interact with the world.
Think about how many times we rely on our memory to help us in everyday life, from remembering the pin to your phone to recognising the person you met in the supermarket last week.
The study of human memory is a major topic of interest within science, specifically cognitive psychology. But what is memory? How are memories made? Let’s find out…
The Stage Model of Memory
Many models of memory have been proposed over the years, but we like ‘the stage model of memory’ (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968) due to it’s simplistic approach to the basic structure and function of memory. The theory proposes three separate stages of memory: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.
Sensory memory is the earliest stage of memory. We take in information from around us through visual and auditory senses and store it for a short period of time, only around 0.5 seconds for visual information and 4 seconds for auditory information. This initial interaction between our senses and our brains leads to short-term memory.
Our most active memory is the short-term memory. This is the information we are currently experiencing and thinking about. The sensory information generates information in short-term memory. Most of this information which is stored in short-term memory is only kept for around 30 seconds. Most of our short-term memories are forgotten quickly, but if we give more attention to this information, then we can convert it in to a long-term memory.
Long-term memory is the ability to continually store information. We are not aware of this information being stored, but it can be called into working memory and used when we need it. Some of this information is easily accessible, while some are more difficult. This is because of how our brains organise information which is stored.
How can we remember better?
We want you to ‘have a memory like an elephant’ not ‘like a sieve’. Here are some tips and tricks to help you store all the information we throw at you during class.
Talking about personal memories
‘Take a walk down memory lane’. What kind of event was it and why do you remember it? When did it happen? Where were you? What was the background to the event? What were the main things that happened? How did it end?
Our intermediate class answered these questions in class. Here is some of their work…
For a link to the idioms used in this blog, click on the button below.