DisordersMuch of the current knowledge of memory has come from studying memorydisorders, particularly amnesia. Loss of memory is known as amnesia. Amnesia canresult from extensive damage to: (a) the regions of the medial temporal lobe, such asthe hippocampus, dentate gyrus, subiculum, amygdala, the parahippocampal,entorhinal, and perirhinal cortices or the (b) midline diencephalic region,specifically the dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus and the mammillary bodies ofthe hypothalamus. There are many sorts of amnesia, and by studying their differentforms, it has become possible to observe apparent defects in individual sub-systems ofthe brains memory systems, and thus hypothesize their function in the normallyworking brain. Other neurological disorders such as Alzheimers disease andParkinsons disease  can also affect memory and cognition. Hyperthymesia, orhyperthymesic syndrome, is a disorder which affects an individuals autobiographicalmemory, essentially meaning that they cannot forget small details that otherwisewould not be stored. Korsakoffs syndrome, also known as Korsakoffs psychosis,amnesic-confabulatory syndrome, is an organic brain disease that adversely affectsmemory.While not a disorder, a common temporary failure of word retrieval from memory isthe tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. Sufferers of Nominal Aphasia (also calledAnomia), however, do experience the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon on an ongoingbasis due to damage to the frontal and parietal lobes of the brainMethodsMethods to optimize memorizationMemorization is a method of learning that allows an individual to recall informationverbatim. Rote learning is the method most often used. Methods of memorizing thingshave been the subject of much discussion over the years with some writers, such asCosmos Rossellius using visual alphabets. The spacing effect shows that an individualis more likely to remember a list of items when rehearsal is spaced over an extendedperiod of time. In contrast to this is cramming which is intensive memorisation in ashort period of time. Also relevant is the Zeigarnik effect which states that peopleremember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones. The so-calledMethod of loci uses spatial memory to memorize non-spatial information.Interference from previous knowledgeAt the Center for Cognitive Science at Ohio State University, researchers have foundthat memory accuracy of adults is hurt by the fact that they know more than childrenand tend to apply this knowledge when learning new information. The findingsappeared in the August 2004 edition of the journal Psychological Science.Interference can hamper memorization and retrieval. There is retroactive interference,when learning new information makes it harder to recall old information andproactive interference, where prior learning disrupts recall of new information.Although interference can lead to forgetting, it is important to keep in mind that there
are situation when old information can facilitate learning of new information.Knowing Latin, for instance, can help an individual learn a related language such asFrench – this phenomenon is known as positive transfer .Influence of odors and emotionsIn March 2007 German researchers found they could use odors to re-activate newmemories in the brains of people while they slept and the volunteers rememberedbetter later. Emotion can have a powerful impact on memory. Numerous studieshave shown that the most vivid autobiographical memories tend to be of emotionalevents, which are likely to be recalled more often and with more clarity and detailthan neutral events.Memory tasks Paired associate learning - when one learns to associate one specific word with another. For example when given a word such as "safe" one must learn to say another specific word, such as "green". This is stimulus and response. Free recall - during this task a subject would be asked to study a list of words and then sometime later they will be asked to recall or write down as many words that they can remember. Recognition - subjects are asked to remember a list of words or pictures, after which point they are asked to identify the previously presented words or pictures from among a list of alternatives that were not presented in the original list.PhysiologyBrain areas involved in the neuroanatomy of memory such as the hippocampus, theamygdala, the striatum, or the mammillary bodies are thought to be involved inspecific types of memory. For example, the hippocampus is believed to be involved inspatial learning and declarative learning, while the amygdala is thought to be involvedin emotional memory. Damage to certain areas in patients and animal models andsubsequent memory deficits is a primary source of information. However, rather thanimplicating a specific area, it could be that damage to adjacent areas, or to a pathwaytraveling through the area is actually responsible for the observed deficit. Further, it isnot sufficient to describe memory, and its counterpart, learning, as solely dependenton specific brain regions. Learning and memory are attributed to changes in neuronalsynapses, thought to be mediated by long-term potentiation and long-term depression.Hebb distinguished between short-term and long-term memory. He postulated thatany memory that stayed in short-term storage for a long enough time would beconsolidated into a long-term memory. Later research showed this to be false.Research has shown that direct injections of cortisol or epinephrine help the storage ofrecent experiences. This is also true for stimulation of the amygdala. This proves thatexcitement enhances memory by the stimulation of hormones that affect theamygdala. Excessive or prolonged stress (with prolonged cortisol) may hurt memorystorage. Patients with amygdalar damage are no more likely to remember emotionallycharged words than nonemotionally charged ones. The hippocampus is important forexplicit memory. The hippocampus is also important for memory consolidation. The
hippocampus receives input from different parts of the cortex and sends its output outto different parts of the brain also. The input comes from secondary and tertiarysensory areas that have processed the information a lot already. Hippocampal damagemay also cause memory loss and problems with memory storage.Looking To Improve Your Memory?Improved memory can help you in many facets of your life. Having greater and quickerrecall will give you an incredible advantage at school and at work. If you are looking forthat advantage through increased memory there are three systems that I would highlyencourage you to look at: The Mammoth Memory Course - This is actually three courses in one. Mammoth memory teaches you how to increase your recall through many different techniques like Association and training your sensory memory. Mammoth memory actually comes with 2 other courses FREE, Power Thinking and Lazy Learning, which give you practical tools to increase your cognitive skills and absorption. Check out their free preview! Infinite Memory - Another extensive offering that includes loads of bonus material. At the core Infinite memory teaches you how to train your brain to remember using 5 central techniques or systems; Link, Room, Alphabet, Phonetic and Body. Ryan Cameron, the author, believes (as do I) that the brain a;ready has the ability and capacity to be an incredible recall machine, its simply a matter of re-asserting that ability. Take a look, and notice all the bonus material, its a great value! Memory Improvement - This is a combination of books and software. It was designed to get results in with the minimal of time investment, 5 minutes a day. But of course, there is no free lunch. You need to be extremely consistent with your training. This resource centers around 12 memory techniques and is bundled with the classic Roth Memory Course, among many other bonuses. There are a staggering number of free games that improve your memory online. While most are designed to be amusing distractions, they can also help expand the capacity of your memory. Perhaps the most well known game that can improve your memory is the game called concentration. While various free versions exist online, the game can be played with a regular deck of playing cards. Concentration (sometimes called Memory) can be played alone or with opponents and can be made simple or complex. The object of the game is to identify pairs of cards that are randomly placed face down. On each turn the player gets to turn over two cards. If the two cards are a pair, they are removed from the field and the player continues. If they do not match, all players see the location of both cards and they are again turned face down. The players take turns turning over cards and identifying the location of each type and pair. Over time, the opponent with the better memory and recall performs better and wins by accumulating the most pairs.
Computer Memory GamesComputers have facilitated an explosion of free games that improve your memory that gofar beyond a table and a pack of cards. With graphical browsers, mouse-controlled cursorsand color screens, our memory can be challenged in any number of ways. Some games testspatial memory and sequence by requiring the player remember the location of objects inspace and in a specific order. Other games require memory for tones, colors or patterns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory http://www.brainhealthandpuzzles.com/human_memory.html http://human-factors.arc.nasa.gov/cognition/tutorials/ModelOf/Knowmore1.html http://www.funbrain.com/cgi-bin/fm.cgi http://www.buzzle.com/games/MetroMatch.asp