Human memory represents one of the important topics which always draw attentions and gain a lot of interest. In the beginning, traditional researches of memory were associated with philosophy, and although they were not subject to rules and scientific principles at that time, they expanded to the point that touched on “the techniques and mechanisms of improving the memory through artificial methods” which are a short term to indicate large meanings to help a person remember certain things then later on psychology adopted that definition. Psychology also defined them as the ability of human beings to memorize and recall information and expertise in the time of need. In the late nineteenth century and in the beginning of the twentieth century, memory had been one of the branches of cognitive psychology which is one of the modern branches of psychology dealing with internal mental processes, cognitive processes, recalling, thinking, and problem solving.
During the last decades, memory has become one of the basic topics of modern science which is called cognitive neurology which is the knowledge that combines common fields of neuroscience and cognitive psychology. However, the issue of memory has taken another dimension after the huge technological development, followed the techniques of electronic calculators and showed the complex nature of memory work. All scientists have looked at the processes of registration, storing, and data retrieval from memory as complex processes composed from different multiple stages that are amazingly highly organized and complex after they counted them as a simple impression process on the surrounding area and an automatic restoration to what has been recorded therein.
From the perspective of processing information in the memory, there are three main stages include other stages for this processing:
* Recording and encoding stage: In which all information are gathered and processed.
* Storage in which the memory creates a permanent record of encoded information.
* Retrieval which is retrieving and recalling information from the memory as a type of response to an action or a certain activity. Scientists and researchers believe that there are three types of human memory each one delivers to the next: Physical memory during which things do not stay in mind but for few seconds which is similar to short-term impression of tangible effects which we see after the disappear of these material effects. This memory is characterized by a huge ability to record un-coded information which soon fade away if they are not complete then it moves to the second type which is short-term memory.
Short-term memory which is known at scientists with operating memory can hold a countless number of information and retrieving them for a period of time ranging between few seconds to a full minute which is limited if compared to the physical memory which has limitless capacity to receive new data. Short-term memory can usually store four or five pieces of information but it can increase this capacity by chunking. So, for example when a person wants to recall a phone number composed of ten digits, he divides it into three chunks representing the area code, the first three digits, then the last four digits which is much easier than memorizing all the ten digits.
Unlike short-term memory, long-term memory can store a large number of information for a very long time, which in most cases can extend to the entire human life, but the differences between short-term memory and long-term memory exceed the difference of the size of storage capacity and storage time where it is connected with the core of processing itself. A long-term memory processes information in a complex overlapping dimensions which means that our long-term memory; which contains full records of what we know about the world around us, our expertise, feelings, and the incidents of our life, memories; works according to the complex mechanism of thinking. Stored information are arranged and organized precisely rather than randomly managed. When restoring these information, they are reformulated or forgotten according to expertise or experiments which a person passes through. As a result, inputs and outputs do not match all the time, therefore we deal with information extracted from long-term memory as probable or expected.
According to the above, we can consider that the word “memory” metaphorically means long-term memory. We can imagine a wide and interlaced memory restores connected information in a form of connected packages which is called “Networking model for long-term memory,” that immediately reminds us of the chaos theory, which is one of the latest physical mathematical theories that seeks to discern the implicit system hidden behind the apparent randomness.
Neural anatomy of the brain shows that there are certain areas responsible for the function of the memory, for example, the area on the bottom lobe of the brain, known as “hippocampus”, is responsible for information acquisition, process, and preservation in the long-term memory. As for linguistics, the areas responsible for storing them are distributed on multiple nuclei and peels in the brain. The information of pronunciation and the exits of letters processed and stored in Broca area.
As for understanding terminologies, it is connected with the activities of Wernike area.
Everything related to the form, size, direction, and positioning of objects is stored in cerebral areas to handle visual and sensory information. As a result, any damage to the passage of information that must be retrieved can cause loss of storing new information. Therefore, man fails to remember or invest information in the future properly and disorders of remembering process show up to prevent the retrieval of stored information even before the occurrence of injury or damage. A person may forget the name of a thing but only remembers its shape or function and tries to describe it with his hands or facial expressions without uttering its name.
What has been done and known about the function of memory in human beings is much, but the mysterious part about the nature of memory is more, especially the field which deals with the role of genes in keeping and recalling information where researches in the field are still in the cradle, and recently researches were published in 2006. Researchers succeeded in discovering a gene related to memory that called KIBRA gene which its function had not been unknown before, and later on it turned out that the function of this gene is to organize the work of memory. So, scientists began to clarify the partial foundations for the work of memory which is beneficial for the patients who suffer from oblivion diseases such as the patients of Alzheimer and the victims of a nervous breakdown, then the benefit goes back to specific scientific areas such as cognitive psychology on understanding the nature of cognition exists in human beings in general, as it answers multiple questions such as the reason for recalling important incidents of man’s lifetime more than recalling regular events familiar to him.