Using relevant research evidence, explain what is known about the Human Memory System?.
Memory is the capacity for storing and retrieving information. Every aspect of daily behaviour even ones as automatic as knowing who we are and where we live is guided by memories of past experiences. We would have no language to communicate and no personal identity. In short, without memory, we would be intellectually dead.
Human memory is not a single unitary function like the heart or the liver. It consists rather of a whole series of complex interconnected systems that serve different purposes and behave in very different ways. (Baddeley, 1982) The one function that these systems have in common is that of storing information for future use. Lets look at the memory in more detail. First of all I will look at how the memory works, then I will examine the different forms of memory, and continue on to the research that has been carried out on memory .
Scientists do not yet understand many things about human memory and many of the ideas and theories about it are still quite controversial. The following discussion emphasises some of the more widely agreed upon ideas. For instance, most scientists agree that it is very useful to describe human memory as a set of stores which are "places" to put information, plus a set of processes that act on the stores. A very simple model might contain three different stores: (1) The Sensory Information Store (SIS), (2) The Short-Term Store (STS), and (3) The Long-Term Store (LTS). The three processes are: (a) Encoding (putting information into a store), (b) Maintenance (keeping it "alive"), (c) Retrieval (finding encoded information). .
In the relatively simple model of memory presented here, sensory information (from eyes, ears, etc.) enters the Sensory Information Store (SIS) and is either ignored or paid attention to. Ignored information doesn't last very long.