Human Memory System and Process

The human memory system has no equivalent even the most advanced of technologies have not been able to replicate it with success and they are still at it.

This compilation seeks to establish the memory process from stimuli to long-term memory. It also outlines the causes of forgetfulness and how to curb them.

The memory is a mechanism in the brain that registers the external and internal proceedings of human lives over time and makes it available to them when they need it. There are factors that are unique to the human memory system. The memory can store information in various forms like a feeling or a touch or smell. It registers it all in and produces it in various ways which is the second attribute. The third is that for it to register information, it analyses the content available prior. The memory can be choosy on the type of information to take in at a time, which is the fourth aspect. Finally, the memory can store a great deal of information at once and alter the content of the information by adding or organizing it in a different format.

When information gets to the memory it is put in a language that the brain can interpret. After interpretation the information is retained for later use, this is called storage. When the information is required by the brain the memory makes it available, the process is known as retrieval.

Human beings collect information via the five senses. The sensory memory can only hold information for a short while say half a second, after that the information moves on to the other stages. Since there are so many issues or stimuli that a person goes through all the time, the body decides which ones to respond to and these are the ones that are passed on to the short term memory.

The short-term memory only stores information for as long as one needs it for example when a child is sent to the store and is told the list of items to buy. They remember the list until they have bought the items then they do not any more. It is also known as the working memory (Human memory system, n.d.). The information can usually last for only thirty seconds give or take depending on the circumstances. The content of material that is stored is majorly pictures some words or even sentences with a maximum of seven pieces. Once new information comes in one forgets the former.

The long-term memory is more of the permanent memory that stores information for retrieval at a later dispensation. Immeasurable amounts of data can be stored here and for a longer time the content can be as vivid and as complex as it could get. Information can only be forgotten due to disorganization or interference.

Some of the reasons why people forget information are as follows: first is interference this could be proactive or retroactive depending on the information that is influencing the other. If the pieces of information are too identical, there is a higher risk of interference and vice versa.

The second reason is as a result of the decay of the person’s memory traces. Somehow over time the information becomes dim. This happens mostly in short term memory when there is no rehearsal. The third is a lack of motivation or displeasure in whatever someone is trying to recall. Freud called it repression. He said that people tend to remember pleasant things more easily. Sometimes there just happens to be an absence of workable cues for information to be remembered at the time when one wants to recall (Freud, 1900). Another reason is reconstruction of the information by the memory when it was retrieving such that it highlights details and not the whole story like how rumors are told.

However, memory can be enhanced in the following ways: for starters information should have an order or a format to it when being assimilated, this is the aspect of organization. This helps provide relevant cues when retrieving I future. Secondly, when receiving the information, an individual has to purpose to concentrate so that the material is stored away appropriately. Providing physical associations to the information is another way, this way there are enough cues to relate with when recalling it also helps distinguish from previous information. Recoding of the information into meaningful acronyms could help in quick remembering in future (Human memory system, n.d., p. 109).

The memory is a powerful and as outlined above stores information in three categories: the sensory, the short-term and the long-term memory. One may forget the information due to interference, decay of memory traces, a lack of motivation, retrieval failure or reconstruction. Methods by which one can ensure this does not happen include organization of information, concentrating when receiving the information, having a method of associating place and information and recoding information to ways one can recall easier.


Freud, S. (1900). The interpretation of dreams. Web.

Human Memory System. (n.d.).Psychology (p.103-111). 2010. Web.