Memory is responsible for the storage and retrieval of information. In this process, three memory processes are involved which include the encoding, storage and retrieval. These three processes are tasked with determining whether information or something is lost of forgotten.
The role of Encoding and Retrieval
Encoding is the process through which information is processed. This process is automatic and even conducted without the knowledge of a person. For instance, many people recall the meals they had the previous day. This is done by the encoding function of the memory. In some cases, attention has to be paid in order for encoding to occur. This can be explained by the fact that college students have to remember the readings on their books if they need to remember whatever they are taught. Encoding can take various forms including structural encoding whereby the memory considers what the words look like, for instance, capital letters, long words, and short words among others. Phonemic encoding on the other hand is focused on the way in which words sound. Sematic encoding deals with the meaning of the words and requires an in-depth processing compared to other encoding functions of the memory.
Retrieval is the process of accessing information in the memory and drawing it into consciousness (Bernstein, 2014). It takes place when cues are sent into the long-term memory and the information stored is selected. An example of this in the test is that fact that the individual undergoing the test has to remember the faces and determine which ones resembled those of the winners.
Storage, Short Term, Working and the Long Term Memory
After information enters the brain, it is either stored or maintained. For this to occur, the process of storage in the brain is comprised of three stages that were explained by psychologists Richard Atkinson and Richard Schiffrin in their models. These models include the memory system that includes the sensory memory, the short term memory and the long term memory.
The sensory memory is one of the storage stages. It is responsible for storing information that comes into the brain in details but only instantly. This kind of memory is quite volatile although it has a very large storage capacity. The information that is carried in this memory is not processed. In a dark room, if a flashlight was shone across the room with people, individuals would see circles of light instead of their figures. This is because the sensory memory holds the images of the flashlight as it spans across the room long enough for the brain to see a circle or the pattern created by the torchlight. Iconic memory is accorded to the visual memory while the auditory memory is known as the echoic memory.
Working memory is the active memory that stores information in the mind. According to Terry, it is the operational memory that can be recalled at any given time (Pastorino, & Doyle, 2011). It has two different storage phases that include the short term and the long term memory (Gozal, & Molfese, 2005).
The information that is stored in the sensory memory is at times transferred to the short term memory, which can hold information for up to about twenty seconds. If rehearsal is done, the information can be kept for a longer period, for instance, when an individual repeats new phone numbers severally to him or herself. Rehearsing the information ensures that it is maintained in the short term memory for a longer time. Although the short term memory is volatile, it has limited capacity for keeping up to seven pieces of information plus or minus two. The information therein can be small or large, or bear familiar numbers, words and sentences.
To enhance the capacity of short term memory, chunking process is applied to aid in the transformation and combination of small pieces of information into familiar pieces of larger capacity. To explain this, a sentence like. ‘IW IL LB EC OMING GT OM OR RO W’’ would not be easier to remember since it consists of 11 pieces of information. On the other hand, the arrangement of information can impact their memorization or storage in the short term memory and can stay longer. For example, by rearranging one gets, ‘’I WILL BE COMING TOMORROW’’ which can be easily remembered since it only has five pieces.
The long term memory stores information for a long time. The information from the working and short term memory is stored for an extended period of time. There is little distortion and the information in the long term memory is mainly based on the rehearsal of the short term, or repetition of information that is kept in the short term memory.
Selected Test and Result
The tests involve both visual and verbal tests. Visual test was chosen and there were 12 pictures of children who took part in a marathon. Six of them completed the race and won while the others flopped in the course of the race. The limit number of the test was 60 while 35 test score was attained. The rules of the game recommend that one gets a low number and based on the test survey. Majority finished with an average of 45 to 55 trials. The score achieved was 35 attempts due to its complexity, since the children who were thought to have completed the race did not. It was established that the faces were repeatedly shown and this resulted into the confusion. When the faces now became familiar, it was easier for one to pick the winner.
Encoding and Retrieval of Information
The score of 40 in the memory test was influenced by various variables that impacted the retrieval and encoding of the information. The child participants cried all the way, distorting the concentration of the person taking the test. Besides, the hooting of cars and noise from factories caused distraction to the test-talking program. This resulted into the loss of focus on the test and lack of concentration. This made it challenging for the test taker to identify the winners’ faces correctly. If there were no distractions, there are chances that the score would have been higher.
From the test scores, the retrieval of the memory is made easier if it is enhanced by a past effort at recalling. The various cues (association, mood and context) trigger to refresh the memory, enabling one to recall and retrieve information. If the association was enhanced, it would have been easier to retrieve information. Similarly, as pointed out by Samenieh (2010), the retrieval of some information was preceded by the retrieval of certain events (2) this is basically a fact that retrieval of specific memory is attenuated to the retrieval of a particular memory (Samenieh, 2010).
The memory process is quite complicated. In the study of the memory processes, the aspect of the visual memory test has been applied and scores received. The role of the short, long term and the working memory has also been explained in the encoding and retrieval of the memory process. The various factors that impact the memory encoding and recall have also been identified. The understanding of the way in which information is achieved, viewed, stored and reviewed is important in knowing how the short and long term memory works.
Bernstein, D. A. (2014). Essentials of psychology. Belmont, CA : Wadsworth Cengage Learning
Gozal, D., & Molfese, D. L. (2005). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: From genes to patients. Totowa, N.J: Humana Press.
Pastorino, E., & Doyle-Portillo, S. (2011). What is psychology? Essentials. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Samenieh, A. (2011, September 26). Selective Memory Retrieval Can Impair and Improve Retrieval of Other Memories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Retrieved on November 20th, 2013 available from University of Phoenix EBSCOhost.
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