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  1. 1. Memory A primer
  2. 2. A class to improve your memory?
  3. 3. What is Memory? Simply, activity within the brain that allows you to recall information that you have learned or experienced.
  4. 4. Short Term vs. Long Term Memory Short Term Memory Long Term Memory • Stores information for a • Requires an effort to few seconds or minutes retain • Your brain is meant to • Motivation to remember hold an average of 7 if it is meaningful to items at a time, just you, you need it, or it is right for a phone emotional number but not so great for a credit card.
  5. 5. Examples of Long Term Memories • Episodic memories (personal memories about events at specific times) • Semantic memories (factual data not bound to time or place) • Procedural memory (skills that you do so often that no effort is needed)
  6. 6. Quick quiz: Choose Episodic, semantic or procedural • What type of memory would it be if you could name all of the planets? • Would it be a different type of memory if you had visited Mars? • How about if you had constructed a 3D replication of the solar system with all of the planets? Answers: Semantic memory, episodic memory, procedural memory
  7. 7. A Memory Quiz on: Your memory • Describe how to fill your gas tank with gas. • How many of the city in Metro Manila can you name? • What was the phone number of your last home? • How many of the major highways can you name in the Philippines ? • How do you make a good cup of coffee? • What was the most unusual thing you have done for a vacation?
  8. 8. How Memory Works 3 Steps: 1. Acquisition: Information is “learned” and stored in temporary nerve cell pathways in the brain 2. Consolidation: As nerve pathways are strengthened and reinforced by constantly reviewing the information, the information becomes consolidated in the long term memory banks 3. Retrieval: When you want the information, the brain reactivates the pathway and the information is remembered.
  9. 9. Visual representation A memory is a connection between nerves in the brain. Memory involves the use of several mental processes, including memory, attention, thinking, sensation and representation.
  10. 10. Acquisition: Information sent through neural pathways Information travels along one neuronal pathway. At the end of neuron is a space (synapse). The sending neuron releases a neural transmitter which is received by the second neuron. The key to a successful memory is CONCENTRATION.
  11. 11. Consolidation: Short term to long term Every time the pathways are engaged in remembering something, they become stronger and reinforced. This is called consolidation. When a memory is consolidated, it goes into long term memory. • Consolidation can take days, weeks or even YEARS • Factors which enhance consolidation of memories include having a preexisting memory, or having an emotional response to the memory. • Sleep has been shown to be very effective in consolidation of memories.
  12. 12. Retrieval: Recalling the information When you need to recall something you have remembered, the brain needs to follow the same pattern of nerve cells. Obviously, the more you retrieve information, the easier it is to restore. This is because those nerve connections are so healthy and developed due to use!
  13. 13. Neurons & neurotransmitters A memory relies on the action of neurons which are comprised of millions of cells, and are activated by neurotransmitters. As we age, we are less able to produce neurotransmitters, which is a possible reason for loss in memory ability as we age.
  14. 14. Why the fuss about neurotransmitters? Neurotransmitters are important for focus, mental clarity, better recall, energy & decreased brain fog. Specifically, four neurotransmitters are especially important in learning & memory: • Dopamine • Acetylcholine • Norepinephrine • Serotonin
  15. 15. The big picture Since we are producing less neurotransmitters as we age, we need to look for ways to increase production, so we can remember, learn, focus & feel more alive. We can cause increased production by engaging our brain. What releases neurotransmitters? • Norepinephrine is released in a new, novel or surprising experience • Dopamine is released with pleasure, reward or joy • Acetycholine is released with focus
  16. 16. Brain Science: Areas of the brain involved in Memory •Hippocampus (largest role in processing memory) •Amygdala (helps imprint memories that involve emotion) •Cerebral cortex (stores most long term memory in different zones, such as language, sensory, pro blem solving, etc.)
  17. 17. A common fallacy about Consolidation
  18. 18. 3 facts about consolidation from research 1. Overtraining can disrupt performance. It might be better if learning occurs in short sessions which include naps along with a good sleep schedule. 2. To remember something from the past, it is necessary to rehearse the memory and periodically reactivate the memory. 3. Tests may be one of the best ways to consolidate a memory
  19. 19. Practical techniques to improve memory • Attention and focus are key to memory! Tune out everything else. • Elaboration (add visual, auditory and other information) helps cement idea • Repetition helps strengthen the pathways • When studying, take breaks so facts won’t interfere with one another • Engage your brain when you want to remember something…Think of the spelling, a picture of the word, perhaps even pronounce it.
  20. 20. Bottom line • Concentration is the key to a good memory • Also significant is if it involved an emotional experience or if it ties in with another memory • Use multiple senses to enhance learning • Releasing neurotransmitters will help you to remember it easier • The more often you rehearse or retrieve information, the more developed your pathways will become, and the easier it will be for you to remember • Make sure to add periods of sleep to your studies