Memory Tracing and Cognition

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Date Submitted: 09/03/2016 02:10 PM

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Psychology SSCI206 IP2 Resubmit

Michael Schaad

American Intercontinental University


In this project I will discuss the steps in tracing the memory process from the perception of stimuli to the consolidation into long term memory. Other elements that will be included are the definition and differences between proactive and retroactive interference and what impedes or enhances the memory processes, types of forgetting and memory problems, and culminating with some suggestions to improve memory retention and recall.

Psychology SSCI206 IP2 Resubmit

Using the Atkinson-Shiffrin Model of memory there are three distinct elements which are the sensory memory, short term memory and the long term memory. Each interrelates with the other as a building platform for memories.

Sensory Memory

Sensory memory is the initial perception of stimuli that we register through our five senses and usually only lasts fragments of a second to just a few seconds and then is either transferred into the short term memory or discarded/overwritten by new information. Sensory Memory has an unlimited capacity but nothing is retained permanently there. There are 3 elements to sensory memory which are echoic(hearing), iconic(visual) and haptic(touch). The memories are encoded into different sensory memory stores.

Short Term Memory

Short Term Memory(STM) lasts on average about 18 seconds but not usually longer than a few minutes and has a capacity of less than 10 items and are mainly auditory memories. According to research STM’s decay rapidly unless they are rehearsed or repeated several times in a short span of time. STM is also known as the working memory or “workspace”. These memories are then either converted to long term memory or discarded as the STM capacity as stated is very small. It is where problem solving, creativity and other thought processes take place. The common term is our conscious memory. Things in our short term memory are broken up into “chunks” as the...