Havinggone through the psychology course successfully, I have been equipped withknowledge on various aspects of human behaviors and the scientific reasonsbehind them.
Subsequently, in this personal reflection paper, I will select thetopic of memory given its intrigues and interesting findings from the textbook.Memory refers to the process of encoding, storing, and retrieving information.It has been described as the means that enable human beings to use theknowledge that has been acquired over time in their present situations. In thiscase, the brain helps in storing information in the form of sounds, images, orinterpretation of various situations. Therefore, it is an essential function ofthe brain since it enables human beings to interact appropriately based on pastencounters. Memory can be categorized into various types depending onthe context. For instance, sensory memory involves the ability to recognize anobject after perception.
It is deemed as an automatic response that is notcontrolled cognitively. George Sperling who conducted experiments to explorethe sensory memory first brought up this concept. He also explained threesubtypes of sensory memory. Iconic memory is responsible for encoding andstoring visual information, echoic memory for auditory information, and hapticmemory for touch perceptions. These types of memories explain the reason behindthe recognition of objects perceived over a short duration.
Memory can also be categorized into short-term andlong-term based on the timeline in which recall is allowed. Short-term memoryrefers to the information that can be remembered for several seconds or minuteswithout having to rehearse. The capacity for this type is limited but can beincreased through what has been described as chunking. It relies on acousticand visual coding. On the other hand, long-term memory stores much moreinformation over a longer period.
The capacity is unlimited, and unlike theshort-term memory, the information is encoded semantically. It also involvesepisodic memory for capturing more details of an event. The two types of memoryare supported by different regions in the brain through different patterns ofneuronal communication. Other categories of memory described in the textbookinclude the procedural and declarative types. Procedural memory refers to therecall on how to do something based on implicit learning. It is evident inlearning motor skills, and it is becoming perfect through repeated practice.Subsequently, as in the example of riding a bike, the information becomesautomatic and indescribable. On the other hand, declarative memory involvesexplicit storage and retrieval of information.
It is further divided intosemantic and episodic types based on the principles. In this case, the episodicmemory describes events that were experienced at a particular place and timewhile the semantic memory bases its information on abstract knowledge, mostoften facts. Consequently, autobiographical memory for events in one’s lifecould be attributed to the episodic form of memory. Memory is said to undergo the stages of encoding,storage, and retrieval.
On the perception of information through the sensorysystem, the brain processes it into a form that can be stored in the brain. Itis encoded visually, semantically, and acoustically as pictures, sounds, ormeanings respectively. Storage is then done on different parts of the brainaccording to the duration and capacity in the form of short-term or long-termmemory. The final stage is the retrieval of the information retroactively orproactively, which depends on how it was encoded and stored. Loss of memory isassociated with disorders such as amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease, in whichsome parts of the brain are damaged.
ApplicationMemory can be applied tovarious experiences in our day-to-day lives. Most of the activities carried outare based on what people perceive and remember. Personally, I have recognizedseveral ways in which memory, as described in the course book, has beenapplied. Reading through the topic, I discovered the importance of memory giventhat some activities done as far as when I was in the elementary grade arefresh in mind. I can vividly describe some of my milestones and events thathave been happening in my life.
The memory of such activities can only beattributed to the long-term and short-term memory as described in chapter eightof the course book.Inmy childhood, like every other person, I had to learn how to ride a bike.Initially, it seemed impossible to balance, pedal, and keep a straightdirection. I fell severally before I was able to ride successfully.
However,since then, I would never have to practice again, and the process of ridingbecame automatic. Up to now, I can ride a bike very well despite the fact thatI have not ridden one for several years. However, I have always had a hard timein explaining to my younger siblings the same process. They also pass through thesame stages of falling severally before mastering how to ride a bike.
Thisexperience is related to the topic of memory and how it is encoded and stored. Learning how to ride a bike can be classifiedas the procedural type of memory that involves implicit learning. Once theactivity is stored in the brain, it is retrieved unconsciously and translatedinto appropriate motor and cognitive responses.
As discussed in the textbook,this type of memory is made through procedural learning, where one repeats theactivity severally. Consequently, the neural systems adapt to the process toproduce it automatically in the future. Given that it is a part of long-termmemory, it may take some time before being actualized, which explains thereason why I had to be persistent before learning how to ride a bike. It isindicated that this implicit learning helps in developing all cognitive andmotor skills. The acquisition of skills such as riding bikes, playingmusical instruments, and driving requires repeated practice.
In addition torepeating a task, one is required to observe a particular behavior and changeappropriately through experience. It starts with the learner identifying whatthe observed skill entails and developing the interest in the cognitive phase,which is followed by the associative phase, where the person acts repeatedlyuntil the skill is integrated into the mind. The autonomous phase entailsmaking the skill perfect by automating it and using less thought to implementit.
Reflectingupon how I acquired the skill of riding a bike, I have recognized the essentialaspects of retaining memory. Consequently, I have improved my studying habitsto ensure that I retain what I learn in class as much as possible. I like goingover concepts severally to ensure that they stick in the mind even long afterthey are taught.
Similarly, the ability to acquire skills such as riding bikesor playing musical instruments is built on continuous practice until the braincan automate the process. Memory is a critical aspect of psychology since it isapplicable in most aspects of life.