Memory: What is it, what are its types, and how to improve it?

Victoria MenesesJuly 2, 2024

Memory is a cognitive function that allows us to store, process, and retain information. It is crucial for human development and learning, meaning that retaining information also involves having knowledge of past decisions and experiences that have impacted some area of our lives, like passing an exam, learning to speak, or even riding a bike. In this article, we will explore the types of memory according to Richard Atkinson's theory and how we can improve it.

Short-term Memory

Also known as working memory, this is where information is stored for a short period of time, between 15 and 30 seconds. It is used for immediate tasks like memorizing a phone number for a moment. An important thing to remember is that short-term memory has limited capacity. Did you know that the number 7±2, known as the "magic number," is the number of elements this memory can handle?

In school learning, it is important to exercise the efficiency of short-term memory through practices like repetition and organizing information into small chunks.

Long-term Memory

Long-term memory works as the storage where information is kept for long periods, from days to decades. It has a basically unlimited capacity and includes categories within itself, such as declarative memory (facts and events) and procedural memory (skills and procedures).

During the school period, it allows us to retain knowledge acquired over years of study, such as when you learn a new language or basic math skills. Techniques like spaced repetition help you transfer information from short-term to long-term memory. Here, sleep and rest play a fundamental role in the constant improvement of memory.

Sensory Memory

Sensory memory is the ability to retain information perceived through any of our senses for a very short time. It acts by filtering information to decide what passes to the next level of processing. There are several types of sensory memory, such as iconic (visual) and echoic (auditory).

This memory is essential for perceiving the world continuously. It allows us to explore what we perceive at first glance quickly and effectively, like watching a movie or seeing a presentation in class.

Understanding the types of memory and how they work is essential to improving our learning and retention skills. Each type of memory plays an important role in our learning process inside and outside the classroom. An effective way to strengthen memory in a fun and easy way is by using tools like Parafraquiz from Parafrasist. Here, you can create quizzes on your exam topics or texts and practice them in real-time. When you finish, you can review and check your answers or practice again if necessary. You can choose the language, number and type of answers, as well as the difficulty level.

These kinds of practices, along with a study routine adapted to your needs, will help you enhance your retention skills to constantly improve your memory and help you achieve the best possible grades.