Most people believe that everything they remember is true and happened in the exact way they remember. However, sometimes it might not be the case. For example, I clearly remember the day I was learning how to ride a bike for the first time. I can recall many details from the color of the bike, the location, or my dad teaching me. It was terrible training, as I remember it, with me injuring myself and crying over being so clumsy and unable to ride a bike even a few feet.
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However, I have no memory of managing to maintain the balance, and neither do I remember my major achievement when I was riding without my dad holding me. For years, I was convinced that I couldn’t ride a bike and started to learn it again as if with a clean slate. The problem of disagreeing with memories can be explained by a closer look at the process of memory acquisition.
Memory processes are basically the mental activities we perform to put information into memory and make use of it later. Researchers identify three processes vital to the act of memorizing: acquisition, retention, and retrieval (Wingfield & Byrnes, 2013). Information that people will remember later should first be acquired in the form of a memory code. Disagreeing memories can result from an encoding problem such as a piece of the original information missing or wrong interpretation of the experience.
The next stage determining the failure or success of the memorizing process is retention. Information acquired during the first stage should be stored for future use. Retention problems are problems connected with the storage of correctly coded information resulting, mostly, from the acquisition of new information interfering with the initial data.
Problems may arise during the process of retrieval even if the information was properly encoded and stored. Sometimes people have a feeling that they definitely know something but cannot remember it. Such failure might result from the incorrect reactivation of the memory code.
Memories are stored and processed in a particular way. According to the studies by Scripps Research Institute (2017), memories are stored in an area of the brain called the infralimbic cortex. To describe the way they have processed scientists use the three-box model.
Sensory memory grasps the smallest amount of information perceived with the help of our senses to transfer it to the next level of short-term memory. Most part of the sensory information is not encoded due to selective attention. Short-term memory is also temporary. If the information is not processed further, it fades. To be transferred to the unlimited storage of the long-term memory information needs to be rehearsed.
Scripps Research Institute (2017). Mapping how the brain stores memories. NeuroscienceNew. Web.
Wingfield, A., & Byrnes, D. L. (2013). The psychology of human memory. New York: Academic Press.