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Memorization is used on a daily basis.  We use it to remember people’s birthdays, important meetings, and to take your medicine if you have a condition.  All of these, and many more, are dependent on you being able to remember things.  In the following paragraphs, I will explain to you just how we manage to remember all these things and many more. First of all, you need to know that there are 3 types of memory.  Immediate, working, and long term.  Each of these types of memory’s is linked to a specific type of brain function.  Long term memory is used to store facts and stories of our life, and it can last from many months to your entire lifetime.  Working memory holds similar types of information, but for a much shorter amount of time.  It usually lasts less than a minute.  The last type of memory is the immediate memory which holds small details that are only pertinent to the next few seconds of your life, such as a page number.  This memory usually only lasts a few seconds.    Another way to classify memory is to split memories about what something is, which is called declarative memory, and how to do something, which is called nondeclarative.  Skills like riding a bike or throwing a football and nondeclarative because they are done almost automatically with ease.  Things that require a verbal explanation or we have to think about are declarative because they require thought. Our memories are different than those of technical devices and such.  They can automatically remember anything but they lack the richness that the memory of the brain has.  The brain remembers things through affiliation.  When we experience something, we remember the sight, the smell, the taste, and sounds of everything happening.  All of those wrapped 2 / 4together becomes a memory.  Now, if the memory is nothing out of the ordinary it will become an immediate memory and will most likely be forgotten in the next couple of seconds or minutes.  It can become a working memory if you for example were trying to memorize the words “pig frog cow dog sheep horse cat” and used repetition, or repeated study to try to remember it.  For something to be stored in the long-term memory, it must have something in it that would stand out, like something funny or something really cool.   There are multiple parts of the brain that help with memory.  Deep inside of the Medial Temporal Lobe is a part of the brain known as the Limbic system.  It includes the Hippocampus, the Amygdala, the Cingulate Gyrus, the Thalamus, the Hypothalamus, and the Epithalamus.  The Hippocampus transfers things in short term memory to long term memory, and also controls special memory and behavior.  The Amygdala processes the memory of emotional reactions and social behavior, and also controls your sense of smell.  The Cingulate Gyrus has functions in emotion and behavior as well.  The Thalamus communicates sensory impulses from receptors in different parts if the body to the cerebral cortex.  The hormones from the Hypothalamus direct functions like temperature regulation, thirst, hunger, sleep, mood, and the release of other hormones in the body.  Finally, the Epithalamus regulates the movement of melatonin and other hormones.   If you ask any student from middle school to college what types of studying help them the most, it will most likely be different for each student.  Some use notecards, some use the textbooks, some use study guides that they make by themselves.  All of these ways of remembering the information work, but what really matters is actually remembering it on the test.  In 2014, an article was released by Michael L. Mueller, John Dunlosky, Matthew G. Rhodes, and Sarah K. Tauber that tested whether or not it was easier to remember things if they 3 / 4were in a bigger size font.  In the experiment, the college students thought that it would be easier to remember things if they were in a bigger font.  After the testing completed, the researchers found that the size of the font actually didn’t affect how well the students could recall the information at all.  In this article, it didn’t include anything about different fonts affecting the memory, which is what is now being tested with my project.   There are a couple ways you can improve your memory.  The first one is to give your brain a workout.  The more you work out your brain the better your brain will be able to process and remember things.  The workout should teach you something new, it should be challenging, and it should be rewarding.  It should be something you are interested in learning.  The second things that greatly helps you remember things is sleep.  Many people stay up late right before tests to help them remember things, but this could even be detriment.  Make sure you get enough sleep, and it will greatly help.  The third way is to keep stress levels low.  Over time, stress can destroy brain cells and damage the hippocampus, and as it was stated above the hippocampus is an important part of the brain.  The last way to help memory is by having a diet that helps brain function.  A diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats is physically good for your body, but it also helps brain function and memorization.  A couple different foods in specific can help memory such as fruits and vegetables, green tea, wine or grape juice, and seafood or foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids.  There are also a few things that negatively affect your memory.  One of them is medical disorders and diseases such as thyroid problems, heart problems, and strokes.  Another one is emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.  The third one is medication.  Some anti-depressants, anti-histamines, anti-anxiety, and high blood pressure medications may affect your memory.  The last one is a 4 / 4poor diet, mainly consisting of high fat, too high cholesterol, and too low cholesterol.  All of these have the possibility of affecting your memory and can also do worse things to your body.  There are a couple diseases that affect your memory.  One of them is called Parkinson’s Disease.  When you have Parkinson’s, nerve cells are killed.  These cells release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that carries messages from one cell to another.  If you lack dopamine, it messes up communication pathways between that control movement.  As more cells die, movements become harder and harder to control.  The disease also can cause psychological effects.  These effects include depression and dementia, which is a variety of conditions that can damage judgement and can affect your memory.  People usually contract Parkinson’s disease from ages 50-70.  Parkinson’s is usually treated with a drug called Levodopa that enters the brain where the nerve cells that are still alive turn it into dopamine.  Some other side effects include sleeplessness, vivid nightmares, hallucinations, and confusion.   Another disease that affects your memory is called Alzheimer’s.     

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