What is long term memory?

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long term memory

Psychologists explain long-term memory as the type of memory with an unlimited storage capacity. Anything you did just a few minutes ago is stored there. As short-term memory last only for about 15-30 seconds, so anything you did before this period will travel up to your long-term memory. It can retain information from longer periods, even if it had happened years ago.

All the important and unimportant stuff is stored there, and you can recall it whenever you need it. Some of the events and information are easy to recall while you feel difficulty in remembering some.

The events that were important to you, or hold a special place in your life would be easier to recall even if years have been passed by. It gets stronger if you keep remembering the same events again and again. And the things that you think about less, or not recall, often will get fuzzy and foggy.

You may still remember what happened after long periods but might not be able to recall every single detail. Here arises the conclusion that all the memories stored in long-term storage are not equal; it depends on their importance to you and the frequency of remembrance.

Long-term memory has two types; Declarative memory (explicit) and non-declarative memory (implicit).

Declarative memory refers to all the information that is available in consciousness. It is further classified into two; semantic memory, and episodic memory. Semantic memory is the area of general knowledge. It has nothing to do with the personal experiences, while episodic memory is the collection of all the past experiences and events, how and when they happened, etc.

Non-declarative memory is the type that doesn’t need to be recalled consciously; the autonomic actions and the skills you’ve mastered, e.g., driving a car. You do it without thinking about it. It is also referred to as procedural memory, the knowledge of doing things without thinking about them consciously.

Researchers suggest that every single time you access a memory, it transforms every time. Because every time, a new set of neurons re-code them. This is why, over time, some areas of the information get stronger, some get weaker, and some are lost completely.

Besides, having exceptional storage, long-term memory is susceptible to decay, interference, change, and misinterpretation. A theory explains this susceptibility is because of the void spaces that develop when we forget specific details about an event and to fill these gaps, the brain invents similar scenarios, and they seem sensible and real.

So, you might think that you remember a particular event accurately; you don’t realize that your mind has already manipulated it. These changes make long-term memory susceptible to misinterpretation and interference. In many cases, it interferes with the formation of new ones.

Long-term memory is an essential part of your mind that will allow you to think critically and will enhance your decision making power by constantly keeping you aware of the past experiences, so you don’t make a mistake again.

How good is your long-term memory? And how many events are there that you still remember accurately even after a long time has passed?

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!

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