Human memory is among some of the most complex phenomena in the universe. Because brain memory is so complex, scientists have came up with theories to understand this complicated phenomena. The major theories of memory are associationism and theories from cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. The major forms of memory are generally defined as short term, long term, and sensory memory. Short term memory is separated by three major characteristics: trace life, storage capacity, and nature of code. Long term memory is broken down into two categories: episodic and semantic. Episodic memory addresses events that have temporary association with one’s life such as recalling events that may have happened. Semantic memory addresses skills or lessons that one has learned over his or her life. Sensory memory is the idea that the human senses have an effect on the recollection of information from past experiences.
Human Memory Human memory is among some of the most incredible wonders of the brain’s capabilities. Memory is defined as the mental process of preserving information acquired through the senses for later use. The brain’s memory is very important to daily life, and without it, humans would not be able to perform everyday functions. Memory is directly tied to learning, planning, reasoning, and it lies at the core of intelligence. To further understand the complicated area of memory, theories have been created to help scientists better understand the complex phenomena of memory (Gaddis, 2009). Theories of memory have been important to psychology for a long time. These theories have been extremely important in the area of brain memory. A scientific theory is not a permanent proclamation about an idea, but rather a systematic way to understand complex ideas that occur in nature. With this, the theories of brain memory are needed. The goal of theory of memory is to explain the processes that make it work. Three major theories are associationism and theories from cognitive psychology and neuropsychology (Gaddis, 2009). Associationism is the oldest of the three theories. This theory suggests that memory relies on forming links and bonds between two related things. This theory comes from works of Hermann Ebbinghaus, who first conducted the laboratory experiments in the study of memory during the early nineteenth century. According to his idea, the ability to remember must have established connections between stimuli and responses. If the bonds between the stimuli and responses become strong, it suggests that a habit has been formed. This theory assumes the idea that internal stimuli produce behavioral responses. These responses in return become stimuli for other behavior responses, which then form a chain. By this, complex physical behaviors and mental associations are formed (Gaddis, 2009). The second theory is known as the cognitive psychology. This theory emphasizes the study of complex memory in the real world. This theory comes from the works of researcher, Sir Frederic C. Bartlett, who was interested in the study of meaningful memory. In his book, Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology, he states, “Meaningful memory is a person’s effort to make sense of the real world and to function effectively in it.” His research suggests that cognitive psychology recognizes personal experiences as inevitably linked to human behavior. This theory is based on the idea that past experiences and future intentions make a difference in what is remembered and how well it is remembered (Gaddis, 2009). Neuropsychology has contributed the third major theory of brain memory. Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain as they relate to specific psychological processes and behaviors. Neuropsychology has used both “natural” and experimental lesion techniques to explore memory processes (Oley, 2009). The brain consists of billions of nerve