Memory and stages of memory

Memory and stages of memory


Memory is the ability to take in information, store it, and recall it at a later time. In psychology, memory is broken into three stages: encoding, storage, and retrieval. The three stages of memory are encoding, storage, and retrieval. Problems can occur at any stage of the process.

The Memory Process

Introduction to Memory | Boundless Psychology


Encoding (or registration) is the process of receiving, processing, and combining information. Encoding allows information from the outside world to reach our senses.


Storage is the second memory stage or process in which we maintain information over periods of time.


The third process is the retrieval (or recall) of information that we have stored. We must locate it and return it to our consciousness.
Problems can occur at any stage of the process, leading to anything from forgetfulness to amnesia. Distraction can prevent us from encoding information initially; information might not be stored properly, or might not move from short-term to long-term storage; and we might not be able to retrieve the information once it’s stored.

Types of Memory

Sensory Memory

Sensory memory allows individuals to retain impressions of sensory information after the original stimulus has ceased. Two other types of sensory memory: echoic memory (the auditory sensory store) and haptic memory (the tactile sensory store). Sensory memory is not involved in higher cognitive functions like short- and long-term memory; it is not consciously controlled. The role of sensory memory is to provide a detailed representation of our entire sensory experience for which relevant pieces of information are extracted by short-term memory and processed by working memory.

Short-Term Memory

Short-term memory is also known as working memory. It holds only a few items and only lasts for about 20 seconds. However, items can be moved from short-term memory to long-term memory via processes like rehearsal.

Long-Term Memory

Long-term memories are all the memories we hold for periods of time longer than a few
seconds. Long-term memory has an incredibly vast storage capacity, and some memories
can last from the time they are created until we die.



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