The ability of one’s brain to create, store and access the memories created is a vital part of our daily life. This happens on the basis that the latter process range from simple memories like remembering where you might have left your keys, learning a new language to memorizing what is learned in class, which in this case is the everyday experience that I can relate to.
As an activity that I undergo every day, studying and memorizing the information that I have read is part of my daily routine, but despite the number of times that I memorize or even concentrate in class, memory loss is a daily occurrence in that it is so common that as a student, one has to rely on methods to help them remember important information in activities such as writing down notes. In the daily course of learning, there are factors that contribute to how well information can be retrieved in the memory, and they include how the information is learned and how frequently it is rehearsed.
Some of the reasons as to why what I learn is easily forgotten is due to factors such as distractions which mean that the information is ‘not retained long enough’ for it to be stored. Other reasons as to why there is memory loss on what I study include retrieval failures, whereby the brain is unable to retrieve a certain piece of information and is motivated to forget, which might not always be me because the information may be unconsciously suppressed (Hancock, 1987, p 4).
The daily loss of memory that occurs after studying can be explained as follows: during the encoding of the information that has just been learnt, information is sent to the brain whereby it is disassembled into forms of its most significant elements of composure. Ensembles of brain cells process the incoming stimuli and thereafter translate the information received into ‘special neural codes’ (Dukas, 1998, p 11). The encoded data must be retained in the phase of memory formation over extended time periods. Retrieval of the stored information constitutes the right of entry into the stored information where the old information is ‘brought back from the permanent part of the memory to the working one’ (Plotnik, 2011, p 252).
A subset of dopamine neurons is actively involved in the regulation of the memories that I learn during the day. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that plays a big role regarding memory, which range from cognition, memory input and learning. When studying, new memories are formed and with the help of dopamine mechanisms based on forgetting, the memories begin to be erased unless importance is attached to them in a process called consolidation which shields the ‘dopamine activated forgetting process’ (Squire, 1996, p 216).
- Hancock, P. A. (1987). Human factors psychology. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
- Dukas, R. (1998). Cognitive ecology: The evolutionary ecology of information processing and decision making. Chicago [u.a.: Univ. of Chicago Press.
- Squire, L. R., & Society for Neuroscience. (1996). The history of neuroscience in autobiography. Washington DC: Society for Neuroscience.
- Plotnik, R., & Kouyoumjian, H. (2011). Introduction to psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.