What is Memory?
Simply, activity within
the brain that allows
you to recall
information that you
have learned or
Short Term vs. Long Term Memory
Short Term Memory
Long Term Memory
• Stores information for a • Requires an effort to
few seconds or minutes
• 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
number but not so great
for a credit card.
Examples of Long Term Memories
• Episodic memories (personal
memories about events at specific
• Semantic memories (factual data not
bound to time or place)
• Procedural memory (skills that you do
so often that no effort is needed)
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
A Memory Quiz on: Your memory
• Describe how to fill your gas tank
• 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
• What was the most unusual thing
you have done for a vacation?
How Memory Works
1. Acquisition: Information is “learned” and
stored in temporary nerve cell pathways in
2. Consolidation: As nerve pathways are
strengthened and reinforced by constantly
reviewing the information, the information
becomes consolidated in the long term
3. Retrieval: When you want the
information, the brain reactivates the
pathway and the information is
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.
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
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
• Consolidation can take days, weeks or
• 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.
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!
Neurons & neurotransmitters
A memory relies on the action of
neurons which are comprised of
millions of cells, and are activated by
As we age, we are less able to
which is a possible reason
for loss in memory ability as
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:
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
• Dopamine is released with pleasure, reward or joy
• Acetycholine is released with focus
Brain Science: Areas of the brain involved in Memory
role in processing
imprint memories that
•Cerebral cortex (stores
most long term memory
in different zones, such
language, sensory, pro
blem solving, etc.)
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
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.
• 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