The objective of this paper is to answer questions pertaining to; the development of memory, the effect of memory processes on schema development, the various forms of memory and their effect on information processing as well as the generation of false memory. Additionally, this paper will explain the importance of the transition of information from short term to long term memory and the strategies that can be employed to achieve this transition effectively.
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Memory Development Process
Memory development is a process that leads to changes and advancements in the various forms of memory and is mediated by the acquisition of knowledge. For instance, semantic memory is a system of interconnected nodes that buildup within the brain throughout the course of an individual’s life. Each item such as; a word, concept or rule is contained within a specific node and is connected to other nodes. The number of nodes as well as the strength and number of connections within them will change throughout the various developmental stages of an individual’s life through the acquisition of new knowledge and its integration into this semantic network (Schneider, 1997).
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As a person acquires new knowledge, his node change and develop in interrelatedness and number which is why children, who have acquired little knowledge will not have an extensive memory database as compared to adult experts in specific fields who have been exposed to an incredible amount of information and therefore accumulated a high number of nodes and strong interconnections between these nodes. However, memory development may not continue to develop through this system of upward mobility throughout the life of an individual. For instance, the recognition of certain objects and assignation of meaning to them develops in childhood and through the early stages of adolescence. However, the performance of some kinds of tasks related with this kind of episodic memory may decline from the onset of middle-age and continue declining through old age.
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Importance of Transition of Information from Short term to Long term Memory
It is important to move information from the short term memory to the long terms memory because the short term memory only holds information for a limited time frame, sometimes lasting for very few seconds. Moreover, the short term memory can only hold a limited amount of information at a time. Information that stays in the short term memory for more than a minute is forgotten, which is why an individual may see a phone number on a poster or telephone directory and forget it almost immediately. To maximize the capacity to retrieve information, one must effectively encode the information for processing and storage in the working memory. Working memory consists of executive areas that control attention, action and enable problem solving capabilities, a phonological loop that manipulates and retains information and a visual-spatial domain that stores material in categories based on visual and spatial features. After storing information in the working memory, one must implement strategies that are deliberate in their intent to facilitate memory by storing said information in the long term memory. This can be achieved by actively working on the information or perpetually studying it. The long term memory system provides infinite capacity for storage of information in duration and amount. Therefore, information stored in the long term memory can be easily retrieved when needed as opposed to the information stored in the short term memory system that may not be present at the time an individual requires to retrieve it. It is therefore important to adopt strategies that maximize the chance that new information will move from short term to long term memory in order to reduce the inconvenience that arises from being unable to remember.
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How Achieve Transition of Information from Short term to Long term Memory Effectively
When one wants to remember something, one must encode this information by directing all their attention to the information in question after they perceive it, and initiate measures to comprehend it by giving it structure, meaning and association. The provision of these aspects will provide for easier storage and easier access during the process of remembering since the knowledge will be organized in to a coherent narrative (Treisman, 1996). It is therefore important that the processes utilized during encoding be deliberate and targeted at facilitating this smooth transition of information in to long term memory. This can be accomplished by the utilization of active memory strategies that organize information within your working memory so that it is effectively stored within the long term memory. These strategies can comprise general memory strategies or specific memory strategies. For instance, one can adopt a spaced practice type of studying habit where they space their learning activities over long periods of time instead of taking on large quantities of information in one sitting. Moreover, one can employ overlearning and repetition principles where they continue to study learning material consistently even after they have learnt it, this can be an incredibly efficient method of learning especially for individuals that suffer from anxiety attacks that often encumber the process of information retrieval in highly tense environments such as examination halls and interview rooms. Additionally, one can employ specific memory strategies such as mnemonics that aim to formulate association between the contents of learning material so as to provide a kind of structure to material that may be lacking in this aspect. Examples of mnemonic devices include; acronyms, acrostics and associations. It is important to not however, that mnemonic devices can only be utilized to retrieve information once you have successfully completed the task of learning it. For instance remembering the acronym N.A.S.A would be an incredible waste of time if one does not know what it stands for. Another strategy that can be employed to facilitate this transition is rehearsal, which is especially useful for practical oriented learning where you can practice the information that you learn continuously.
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The process perception, which comprises attention as its initial process, enables human beings to select and interpret information from their surrounding and integrate this information in to an existing system of related experiences that they utilize to interpret new experiences. To achieve this function, human beings must focus their attention on incoming sensory information based on its salient nature, their prevailing expectations, its capacity to meet their needs at that particular time and their interest to that particular stimulus. The schemata allows us to assign meaning to the information presented by the stimulus based on knowledge and information that we have accumulated through our lives. It is through this function that the role of attention and perception comes in to play to aid in the successful development of the schema. When one acquires knowledge about a new situation, either through perception and attention, (For instance a child that gets attracted to the salient nature of a flame, interacts with it and gets a thermal burn.) they are able to integrate this information in to their schema and this information will guide their actions when they encounter a similar stimulus. When we receive new information through studying, visual and auditory cues, we perceive it, we pay attention to it and it forms part of our database (schemata) and once we encounter a similar situation we retrieve the related schema from memory and execute it.
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Memory can be divided to two fractions based on awareness or intent to remember and these are; implicit and explicit memory. Implicit memory regards remembering without the intent of doing so while explicit memory is defined as remembering with awareness. Within the confines of explicit memory lies episodic memory and sematic memory. The type of memory will affect information processing due to the differences that exist in the way knowledge contained within each type of memory was encoded and how it can be retrieved. For instance, the retrieval of episodic and semantic memory can be accomplished through free recall, cued recall and various recognition tests and its encoding involves the employment of specific strategies to maximize its chances of being recalled. These recollection strategies are prone to the effects of critical lures through the activation of semantic relations. On the other hand, Autobiographical memories does not depend on these strategies as they are factual pieces of information about an individual, his/her emotions, experiences and his/her life. This description affects how this kind of information is processed when specific events become more memorable than others since they include specific details that fit into an existing script typical of the experiences of an individual. Moreover, first time experiences become more memorable as compared to events that one encounters on a daily basis. Additionally, the emotional effect of experiences leads to more accurate descriptions of events and less chance of false memory.
False memory is an error in memory that occurs when individuals misremember details of a learning experience and create their own illusory memories of these events. Due to the diversity of information that human beings have to perceive, interpret and store through practically every moment of their lives, no one is immune from generating false memories. This is due to the fact that the unceasing learning of everyday life is mediated by a complex interplay of the processes of perception and the creation of memory. Human beings have to take in numerous amounts of sensory information, interpret it and give it meaning in order to store it in their memory. False memory critical lures enable individuals to recall events that did not happen by activating sematic relations and taking advantage of absent monitoring strategies that are able to detect false memories and suppress them (Neisser, 1976). To reduce the influence of these critical lures one must focus on individual perceptual details of each piece of information/event he/she encounters in order to reduce the activation of semantic relations, reduce critical lures and enhance the effect of monitoring strategies. However, this is not always possible and an individual that undertakes this detailed view of every single aspect of life is likely to become incredibly overwhelmed and miss out on a lot of his/her life. It is therefore important to incorporate these robust encoding practices in to activities that demand more accurate retrieval processes and learn to be aware of the effects of false memory especially when recounting events that may prove to be of critical value to legal institutions, family and friends.
To conclude, it is clear from the discussion presented by this paper that; memory development is mediated by the acquisition of information up to a point in that, the more knowledge on acquires, the more their memory develops up to the point where individual differences and age factors come in to play. It is important to move information to long term memory due to the low storage capacity and duration of short time memory through the utilization of general and specific memory strategies. Perception and attention play a crucial role in schema development due to their capacity to facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge and experiences. Finally, the formation of false memory occurs out of our responsibility to perceive numerous amounts of stimuli in our daily lives and nonhuman being can claim to be immune to it, we can only minimize its effects.
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