Short Term Memory
Short Term Memory is, as its name suggests, fleeting. It is theorized that 7 items of information can be stored in our memory for 20-30 seconds at a time, at which point they are stored, or forgotten altogether. Short term memory is necessary for various tasks which we perform on a daily basis like reading, mathematic computation, and even conversation. Short term memory is the first step in the creation of long term memories. In order to transfer a memory to Long term storage there must be active measures taken. Repetition is a common form of consciously converting memory from short term to long term. Students use this method when studying for exams and preparing for research papers. Another active technique, and arguably a more efficient method, is forming associations with previously acquired knowledge.
Long Term Memory
Long Term memory is the extended storage of information of facts and events which we are able to recall both unconsciously and consciously. Long term memory can span anywhere from a couple of days to decades. There has not been any research that has dictated a capacity of information able to be stored, leading scientists to theorize that an infinite amount of storage space is available, with limitations in the ability to actually retrieve them. Long term memory can be divided into several categories. The main division is Explicit and Implicit memory.
- Explicit memory refers to memory of events or facts that can be consciously recalled.
- Implicit on the other hand encompass procedural memories that happen on an unconscious level such as playing an instrument or riding a bike.
Explicit memory can be further divided into two categories: Episodic and Semantic memory.
Semantic memory is a structured record of facts, meanings, concepts and knowledge about the external world that we have acquired. For example learning mathematics, vocabulary, directions and other fact based knowledge. Semantic memory has strong associations with visual cues, repletion and other methods of active attempts to add memory.
Episodic memory is specific to memories of events, places, relationships and other things that have a personal impact on the individual. This is also referred to as autobiographical memory, although this is an incorrect synonym. Autobiographical memory is yet another subdivision of memory, specifically episodic. Autobiographical memory is a compilation of episodic memories that are specifically about oneself. It is this memory which will be the focus for the relationship with identity.