Understanding How Human Memory Works

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About this sample


Words: 683 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jan 25, 2024

Words: 683|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jan 25, 2024

The human memory remains an interesting research subject for psychologists. Typically, human beings live in the present. However, the past constitutes an integral component of life, and this makes the memory a fundamental element in daily operations. According to Zimmerman and Kelley (2010), the recall of the past and recent events involves intricate mental processes that integrate the multiple complex domains of the brain. Our memory is not a physical object nor component within our body; rather, it is comprised of past events and the meaning that is attached to them. The ability to store past recollection of experiences makes up our memory. The work done by the brain involves processing information and classifying each piece by its importance. The ability to break down information into manifold relevant and irrelevant pacts ensures that the most relevant information is stored. Consequently, the human memory is comprised of the complex process of perception and retention of events.

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Schwabe and Wolf (2010) assert that without memory, one cannot learn. Memory is the internal mental record that gives people access to personal and past events. The human brain captures succinct information from the environment and stores it for future use. Encoding experiences or personal information embodies a mental process that allows for the retrieval of information from the various compartments of the brain. Scientists suggest that the hippocampus in the brainstem is the center where information is kept. Our brain has the ability to recall bits of information and discriminate said information in which the most relevant data is retained appropriately (Wimer & Shohamy, 2012). Human memory underpins learning the process; through retention of information, learning takes place.

The process of recalling begins from the perception of things or people. Depending on how the object or an individual relates to another entity, there is noticeable retention of clear or unclear memory. The human memory process involves the perception of various tastes, retention, and retrieval of information. From tastes, sounds, smells, or sight, human memory captures the distinct feature of the object and stores it subconsciously. Senses comprise various elements that make up perception. Since there exists numerous information within the environment and not everything is remembered, the human brain can classify different information and retain the most valuable. These bits and pieces of information make up the human memory.

According to Farrell (2012), distance in terms of time, relevance, and sensitivity of the events to an individual determines how long the information will be kept. For instance, loss of a relative is likely to be remembered for a longer duration than a football match. The process of information retrieval from the memory compartment depends on how the events impacted an individual. Some events are recalled instantly while others may take time because the information is kept depending on the magnitude of the effects it has on an individual.

Concisely, the reliability of human memory depends on an individual’s state of health. Apart from mentally ill individuals, ordinary people will instantly recall all the relevant information almost instantly. Passing an exam, for instance, demonstrates the ability to retrieve learned content and regurgitate it on paper. Besides examinations, good memory allows people to locate their homes, utensils, and perform other activities of daily life. Sensory information is the instantaneous information retrieved because it is readily available. Similarly, sounds can easily be discriminated due to the previous experiences of similar sound. The human brain shows the difference in the retrieval of information. However, the most critical information is almost automatically retrieved.

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Works Cited:

  1. Farrell, S. (2012). Temporal clustering and sequencing in short-term memory and episodic memory. Psychological Review, 119(2), 223–71.
  2. Schwabe, L., & Wolf, O. T. (2010). Learning under stress impairs memory formation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 93(2), 183–188.
  3. Wimer, G. E., & Shohamy, D. (2012). Preference by Association: How Memory Mechanisms in the Hippocampus Bias Decisions. Science (New York, N.Y.), 338(October), 270–3.
  4. Zimmerman, A., & Kelley, M. (2010). “I’ll remember this!” Effects of emotionality on memory predictions versus memory performance. Journal of Memory and Language, 62(3), 240–253.
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Understanding How Human Memory Works. (2024, January 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Understanding How Human Memory Works.” GradesFixer, 24 Jan. 2024,
Understanding How Human Memory Works. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Understanding How Human Memory Works [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 24 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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