Is memory important to you? How often do you think you use yours? Actually, you use it every moment of every day. You remember who you are, where you live, and what you are doing. Without memory, you could not survive!
There are three kinds of memory: sense memory, working memory, and long-term memory. Think of them as three connected rooms in which you store different kinds of memories.
The first kind of memory is sense memory. Everything you are sensing right now is stored here. Perhaps you feel the Sun on your face or smell the aroma of food.
Sense memories last only a few seconds, but they connect one moment to the next. They give your life a flow, even though they are quickly forgotten.
You keep a few items in working memory. These are memories you need for what you are doing. Suppose you look up a friend’s telephone number in the phone book. You’ll probably remember the number for a little while. But if you get distracted, you might quickly forget it.
A memory usually stays in your working memory for just a few days at most. Working memory has another limit, too. Only a small number of items fit into it at any given time.
Memories you want to keep for a long time go into your long-term memory. They can stay with you all your life. In long-term memory, you can store a huge number of items.
Can you remember how to play your favorite game? Do you recall your first birthday party? If so, you are bringing up memories that are stored in your long-term memory.
Sometimes, people have trouble finding a particular long-term memory. Have you ever struggled to remember a familiar name or fact? When this happens, people sometimes say the information is on “the tip of the tongue.”
Learning and remembering are connected. The trick to remembering something is learning it well in the first place. That way, you can store what you’ve learned in your long-term memory.
One way to improve your memory of something is by using a mnemonic (neh-MON-ick) device. A mnemonic device puts information into a form that’s easy to remember. For example, students sometimes memorize the Great Lakes with the word homes. It stands for Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Source: Microsoft ® Encarta