Process of Memory

Process of Memory

Memory is characterized with the ability of storing, encoding and recalling information. Human memory is propelled by three main processes identifying with the encoding information, storage of information and retrieval/recalling of the information. Consolidation of the memory falls in the encoding of information and also in the storage of information. The neurology and physiology involved in the mental processes lender the processes highly technical and complex.

The processes involved in the human memory enables people to interact with one another and also with the environment (Baddeley, 2009). Taking an example of a classroom setting, it has been noted that some students are good at facts and memorizing while others are not. Processes of the memory enable human beings to store new information for a short time or a long time and at the same time retrieve the memory (Neath & Surprenant, 2002).

There are different models used in explaining the memory processes; this paper use stage model of memory in explaining the functioning and structure of the human memory. Stage memory model was designed by Shiffrin and Atkinson in 1968 (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). Stages involved in the stage memory model identify with sensory memory stage, short term memory stage and the long term memory stage.

Sensory memory stage is part of the earliest phase, sensory information or stimuli from the direct environment is stored in the human memory. In the sensory memory, information is stored for half a second for information related with visual issues and three to four seconds for information relating to auditory issues (Baddeley, 2009). Human only attend to part of the sensory memory, which is then passed over to the short term memory stage; an example, not everything that arrives to the sensory memory that is stored the choice of what to be passed over to the short term memory varies with the individual.

Short term memory is also referred by the term active memory. This phase is characterized with the information in which the human mind is willing to think about or process. It is part of the conscious mind that involve information gathered by the sensory memory (Neath & Surprenant, 2002). Information gathered in the short term memory stays for seconds, and then the information is forgotten. Information attended by the human mind moves to the next level known as the long term memory phase.

Long term memory phase is characterized with storage of information for long terms. It is also referred to as the unconscious or preconscious memory. The information can be retrieved to the sensory memory to be applied if the need arises; it is outside the awareness of individuals (Radvansky, 2010). An example, thinking or seeing a classroom building trigger generation of information relating to studying, classes, socializing, examinations and time management among other information. Maximum retention of information is made possible through grouping of related information (Baddeley, 2009).

Decision making processes works under the influence of the long term memory. The organization of the memory is structured in groups that allow individuals to retrieve information and use it in making relevant information in solving problems. Information is stored in groups or clusters (Radvansky, 2010). Taking an example of students, most people remember things taught by the tutor through color, images, formulae and examples among other ways. Students remember information through semantic network model.

The external environment triggers human brain to remember memories that are associated with the stimuli. Memories in a certain place may make individuals remember other issues that took place in that place.


Atkinson & Shiffrin. (1968). Human Memory. Retrieved March 06, 2014, from

Baddeley, A. D. (2009). Essentials of Human Memory (Cognitive Psychology). London: Psychology Press.

Neath, I. & Surprenant, A. (2002). Human Memory. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Radvansky, G. A. (2010). Human Memory. London: Pearson.





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