Essay on Human Memory: a Passive Mechanism or Dynamic System?

Words: 2713
Pages: 11

Memory is a capacity that humans rely upon to relate to different events, experiences, conditions, and people. It is a vitally important process and system whereby the brain receives information from (external or internal) stimuli, stores it (encoding), and makes it available on a future occasion (retrieval). It provides continuity to people’s experiences across different periods of time.

Research is increasingly concluding that the brain works as an integrated whole rather than a series of discrete parts. In forming memory the brain passes information along the Papez circuit which involves a number of regions of the brain. Brain research indicates that memory formation produces physical changes to the way neurons are organized and
…show more content…
When the pieces were organized otherwise their recall was no better than that of non chess players. It might therefore be concluded that semantic processing has an important role in the dynamic interplay between information from LTM and STM recall.

This expertise effect has been observed across a range of contexts. For example, Morris et al. 1985 (Ibid), observed how keen football fans remembered match scores better than more casual fans. Logie at al., 1992 (Ibid) observed how experienced burglars can remember details of houses seen in photographs, for only a few moments, better than police officers or householders.

Tulving’s (1975, 1983) highly influential ‘encoding specifity principle’ focuses on the relationship between encoding and retrieval, and suggests that we remember more if the cues that are available during retrieval overlap or match with cues that were registered at encoding. This theory states that memory utilizes information both from the specific memory trace as well as from the environment in which it is retrieved.

Many of these retrieval-enhancing techniques seek to capitalize upon the highly connectionist and elaborate processing at the encoding phase. By creating a richer network of associations these processes endeavor to increase the likelihood of overlap between the features. As a theory it may have some advantages over the two-stage theory as it accounts for the fact that, in practice,