Types and types of memory - Psychology

Types and types of memory

Human memory is associated with different systems of the body, different analyzers and is included in various activities. With all these factors in mind, there is a complex classification of types and types of memory for different reasons.

• Sensitive, short-term and long-term memory is allocated for the duration of information storage.

Sensory , or instantaneous , memory is implemented at the receptor level and retains the physical characteristics of the stimuli from 0.25 to 2 seconds. A necessary condition for translating information from sensory memory into short-term is the focus on the subject's attention to it. If the information is not evaluated as meaningful, the traces are erased.

Short-term memory distinguishes storage of information up to 30 seconds. Information arrives in short-term memory from sensory or long-term memory in the form of memories of something. This information is processed and interpreted by the brain, after which a decision is made to erase the trace or transfer it to long-term memory. In short-term memory, a limited number of elements can be held, i. E. it has a certain capacity, or volume.

The amount of short-term memory is the ability to simultaneously store a certain number of disparate pieces of information.

The American psychologist JA Miller measured the amount of memory using various Stimulant material. It turned out that the amount of memory is 7 ± 2 elements regardless of the nature of the memory material. It can be numbers, letters or names of objects. Miller called the number 7 "magic", comparing it with many aspects of a person's life and the peculiarities of his psyche: seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins, seven days of the week.

If you need to store information for a short time that includes more than seven elements, a person consciously or automatically groups the elements so that the number of groups does not exceed seven.

Short-term memory as its subspecies also include RAM . The time of information storage in it is determined by the specific task, operation of the operation and can be somewhat more than in short-term memory. So, the human operator keeps the information coming from the control panel before making the appropriate decision, and then forgets it.

Long-term memory is characterized by an almost unlimited time of storage of material and unlimited volume. It stores all knowledge acquired by man, formed skills and abilities, diverse impressions, everything that makes up the past experience. Not all information stored in the long-term memory is accessible for playback. Its availability is determined by the conditions of memorizing the material, its significance for the subject, the structure of associative links, the organization of the reproduction processes.

Remembering can be carried out in the course of various activities, to achieve different goals. In accordance with the nature of the goal, there are involuntary and arbitrary memorization. Involuntary memorization occurs without a special purpose to remember. A person can perform some kind of activity: reading, building a house, playing chess or just walking, without thinking at all about remembering something, nevertheless he remembers certain information. In other cases, a person deliberately, intentionally sets a goal to remember something, for example, educational material, the text of a report, etc. This goal is called mnemic (from Greek mneme - memory), and memorization is arbitrary.

Arbitrary memorization is a specifically human form of memory, in which memorization is allocated to a special mnemonic activity. To implement it, a person needs to apply efforts.


In psychology, a lot of experimental material is accumulated regarding the conditions for successful memorization. Soviet psychologist AA Smirnov (1894-1980) studied the factors that affect involuntary memorization. He was interested in what his employees remembered on the way from home to work. In advance, no one was warned about such a poll. Summarizing the data obtained, Smirnov came to the conclusion that new, unusual, bright events that are somehow connected with human interests, are significant for him.

In the experiments of PI Zinchenko (1903-1969), the subjects were offered 15 cards with an image of the object and numbers written on them. If the subjects were tasked to divide the cards into groups according to the content of the images, they memorized the objects and almost did not memorize the figures. If the task required them to work with numbers, they memorized the numbers, not the objects. Thus, it has been shown that, involuntarily, a person better remembers something that relates to the goals and content of his activities.

People often have to randomly memorize this or that material. The actor needs to remember the text of the role, the lawyer - the relevant articles of the criminal or civil code. Without any memorization, no training is possible. But for some people, arbitrary memorization causes difficulties. Having spent a lot of time to remember the material, they can not reproduce it at the right time.

A. N. Leontiev wrote: "In order to see, we must look, in order to hear, we must listen, and in order to remember, we must remember."

Techniques that improve random memorization are divided into two groups. The former are based on the identification of internal links existing in the most memorable material. They are related to his understanding and logical analysis.


A. A. Smirnov showed that understanding and understanding the material, highlighting the main idea, dividing up into semantic parts, including in the structure of associations, increase the productivity of arbitrary memorization.

The second group of techniques is based on applying artificial connections to the material, or mnemonic techniques, for example, grouping or the "mediation method".


So, the phone 836-12-83 is easier to remember, presenting it as 83-612-83. The method of intermediaries is often used by students to memorize complex material. For example, the number i = 3,1416 ... is remembered using the phrase "What I know about circles & quot; (but the number of letters in each word). Comprehension of the material and application of mnemotechnical techniques can make the memorization process manageable and significantly expand the possibilities of human memory.

• LS Vygotsky divided all mental processes into two types: natural and cultural. Natural processes are carried out without the use of special means. The use of various means is peculiar only to man and characterizes mediated processes. By this criterion, direct and mediated memory are highlighted. From ancient times to the present, people used as a means of memorizing a nodule for memory, notches, notes, later writing and other external means. Mastering speech made it possible to turn external means of memorizing into internal ones. As internal means, people began to use logical operations.

Logical memorization is performed by establishing the semantic links of the new material with the already known material.

If a person does not have internal means to memorize the material, he will memorize it mechanically.

Mechanical memorization is only achieved by repeated repetition, as reflected in the saying "repetition - the mother of learning."

Repetition is an important and effective way of remembering, but only if it is based on the understanding and semantic processing of the material being repeated.


For example, a student is very difficult to remember and reproduce the definition of a complex scientific concept. If he understood the essence of the process or phenomenon described by him, correlated with his personal experience, compared with other processes, i.e. comprehended the memorable material, the result of memorization will be much better.

F. Ebbingauz, using his method of "meaningless syllables", showed that the amount of memory when memorizing senseless material is several times lower than the meaningful one. Sometimes a person has to remember something mechanically. It can be separate fragments of educational material, for example multiplication table, but the basis of the teaching is meaningful logical memorization.

• Another classification of memory types is based on differences in the nature of the stored material. It can be images, words, movements or emotions. Accordingly, figurative, verbal, motor and emotional memory are allocated.

In shaped memory , traces of sensations and perceptions are preserved. We remember the color of the grass, the singing of birds, musical tunes, the smell of roses and many other impressions, as well as complex perceptual images: works of painting, music, perfume fragrances. In turn, figurative memory is divided into separate types according to the leading analyzer: visual, auditory, tactile, tasteful and olfactory.

Verbal memory is the basis for mastering a person's native and foreign languages, as well as the entire amount of knowledge acquired in the learning process. Through motor memory, motor skills, skills and a significant part of habits are formed.

The motor memory is very strong. If a child has learned to swim or ride a bicycle in early childhood, and then did not do it, then even after 30 or more years, the skills are preserved.

Emotional memory is the preservation and reproduction of emotions and feelings experienced by a person. Situational emotions are mostly forgotten. The fate of the experienced affects can be different. Affects that traumatize the psyche are sometimes completely superseded from consciousness. In other cases, traces of experienced affects can persist in memory throughout the life of a person. If the situation that caused the affect is repeated, it can occur again. The method of prevention in these cases is the mitigation of trace affects or their eradication.

In psychology, there is a wealth of factual and experimental material on the patterns of remembering and forgetting .

Thus, G. Ebbinghaus found that a person loses more than 50% of the information by the end of the first hour after finishing the work with the material. Then another 30% is lost within a day ("Ebbinghaus curve"). This law is useful to take into account when choosing the time and determining the number of necessary repetitions of the material. If you repeatedly repeat words, text or numbers without interruption, a person becomes tired, his attention and memory are dulled. If the material does not repeat over the next 24 hours, the whole process of memorization will have to be started anew. It is advisable to repeat the material in an hour. In this case, the repetition will stop the process of erasing the tracks and fix them.

Another pattern reveals differences in memorizing the initial and final stimuli - the "law of the series". If a subject is required to memorize a series of 10-12 stimuli (numbers or words), he will remember the first and the last much better. The average stimuli, as a rule, are not remembered. This happens due to the influence of interference traces, or proactive and retroactive inhibition:

proactive inhibition is manifested in the erasure of traces under the influence of what the person remembered immediately before;

retroactive braking is manifested in the fact that each subsequent material erases the previous information. Thus, the middle part of the material undergoes double bremsstrahlung.


It is important for the teacher to take into account this pattern when planning a lesson, in particular when choosing a time to explain a new, especially difficult material. According to the law of the series & quot; it's best done at the beginning or end of the lesson.

Sometimes a person can not correctly reproduce a memorized material even after numerous repetitions. He gets tired, decides that he has a bad memory and stops unsuccessful attempts. However, in the morning, she is surprised to find that she remembers everything. A similar phenomenon is called reminiscence - more complete and accurate reproduction of the stored material in comparison with the originally recorded or learned. If you forget, the reproduction of the learned material worsens, and when you reminisce, it improves, so it is considered a phenomenon that is the opposite of forgetting. The causes of reminiscence are the restoration of the functional state of the brain and & quot; hidden & quot; repetition, unconscious man. In artistic creation, reminiscence is often used as a special device that evokes memories that help to better understand the meaning of a work of art.

B. V. Zeigarnik established the relationship between forgetting and the degree of completeness of action. A person remembers an unfinished business longer than the completed one ("The Zeigarnik effect").

Each person is characterized by individual-typological features of memory . The type of memory is determined by its specific qualities and preferential development of one or more species. There may be a predominant development of verbal, imaginative, motor or emotional memory. The type of memory is useful to consider when choosing classes or professions. With good motor memory it is easier to achieve success in sports or choreography. Emotional memory is useful in the acting profession. Tin memory is formed by the influence of the characteristics of the nervous system and the main activity, in which a person is included. Teaching a child to music creates conditions for the development of his auditory memory, drawing - visual. In some people, the individual typological features of memory make it sharply different from the average. In such cases, one speaks of phenomenal memory.


From historical examples, the memory features of Napoleon, who knew his soldiers in person, remembered their names and features of character. Academician AF Ioffe knew from memory the table of logarithms. AR Luria described the memory of his patient Sherishevsky, who practically memorized all the information and was deprived of forgetting. It did not benefit him: in fact, he could not engage in any productive activity.

Knowing the characteristics of your memory is useful for every person. A teacher who has to memorize a large amount of material, depending on the type of memory, can use various means, for example, reference notes, records, diagrams, drawings. It is also important to take into account the peculiarities of memory and the level of development of the mnemonic abilities of students. This helps to more rationally use the system of individual assignments, more objectively evaluate the results of oral or written answers, advise high school students on the choice of profession.

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