Sensory Memory | Short Term and Long Term | Long Term Potentiation
Recognition and Recall | Case Studies | Memory Manipulation | Memory Sources

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. ~Saul Bellow
Photo Credit: a_trotskyite@Flickr

Without memories, humankind as we know it could potentially cease to exist. Progress of any kind, be it
technological or social, would be impossible. Relationships could never be built. Personalities and other features which make each and every one of us unique would be non existent.Life would be a daily struggle for survival and would have less meaning than that of a goldfish circling its bowl. At least a goldfish has a fleeting memory lasting but a few seconds. Fortunately, most people have working memories and are able to learn from experiences and discover meaning in their lives. And yet we can't control every aspect of our memories. Some facts or experiences we remember without any effort, and even without any desire to remember them, while other times our brains can't quite seem to keep a certain detail in mind.
Photo Credit: Alex-S@Flickr

As addressed within the chapters of this section, not all memories are equal. From storage to significance to scale, our memories vary and are treated differently. Even the way we learn and make memories isn't a constant. For something as vast and integral to our survival as our memories,it isn't surprising that it encompasses a highly complex system, one which the leading edge of science is still struggling to understand to its fullest extent. There is one thing that is widely understood, however, and that is the importance of preserving a healthy and functional memory. Those familiar with Alzheimer's disease have witnessed the ravaging effects severe memory loss can have on an individual. As is the case with almost every other part of the human body, our memory centers are susceptible to damage and deterioration, and function best when well maintained.

If you want the Khan Academy's 7 minute overview, watch the video on the right. It's got all the keys but it's pretty... uh... dull.

On a related note, don't forgot the whole issue of "false memory" as researched by Elizabeth Loftus and others. She definitely calls into question the reliability of retrieved repressed memory and makes a forceful case that an unfounded memory can be instilled in someone.


Colin & Kayla, Mary J