Memory and why we forget some things and remember others essay

Memory plays an important part in everyday life. It reminds people of the important things to do and determines the relationship of one thing from another. However, there are instances when memory weakens its function and people tend to forget things and remember others. This is caused by several factors like stress, diseases, head injuries, vices, memory overload and shallow encoding/retrieval process. In this fast changing world, people cannot escape the fact that often times memory and stress correlates each other.

Cognitive functioning of the brain and stress levels are being examined by various scientists because there are certain explanations that relates stress/ remembering and stress/forgetting. Stress impedes memory (Berkowitz, 2000, p. 85). Intense emotions and too much stress from doing things will eventually reduce memory accuracy. Recalling things is never easy for a stressed person, he/she will only remember the things that enters first in his/her mind.

Memory is just one of the complex processes the human mind is responsible. It is the process that provides flow of consciousness and sense of continuity between past and present experiences. It undergoes three basic processes known as encoding, storage and retrieval (Perez, 2004). During the said processes, there are malformations in the brain that causes incomplete recording of information. Shallow encoding of information causes short term memory and makes people forget things.

On the other hand, elaborative encoding method involves transformation of information to long term memory by connecting the incoming information with the ones that is remembered (Schater, 1996). The storage process of memory also has something to do with forgetting and remembering things. The brain has two memory systems: the short term and long term memory (Perez, 2004). This varies according to the significance of the event to the person who is encoding and recording the information. People prioritize the things that they should memorize.

A good example of this is ATM’s pin and e-mail passwords. The two aforementioned things are of great importance for a professional. On the other hand, the color of dress of a recent client can be easily forgotten because this is not that relevant to the job per se. Retrieval is the process that brings stored information back into consciousness (Perez, 2004). Unused memories are not easily recalled and eventually fade in time. On the contrary the things that are always done become dominant since it is reinforced by recall exercises and repeated practice.

External factors can also cause memory loss. A person who clings on to alcohol tends to forget things because of its effect on brain functioning. The day after the person drank alcohol, only blurred details of what he/she has done will only be remembered. Emotions also play a great role in remembering things. People who are shocked because of a recent accident or loss of a love one tends to be in denial of the situation and tries to put the situation at the back of their mind.

But sooner or later they will learn to accept the truth and makes them remember what has happened. The human brain’s memory capacity is limited which makes it normal for a person to forget things. Because forgetting is a reality of life, significant information must be encoded and stored appropriately and be retrieved through recall practice. Less significant information must not be retained long enough in the memory and continue to occupy space as such information will just limit our brains of storing more important ones.

Like computer users, human beings must be able to filter which files are needed to be kept into the computer memory and which files are to be thrown to the recycle bin and while remembering when will be the best time to empty the bin. Reference: Berkowitz, L. (2000). Causes and Consequences of Feelings. Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press. Perez, P. (2004). A Short Introduction to Memory Processes, Part I. April 22, 2004. Retrieved 12 March 2009 from: http://www. suite101. com/article. cfm/did/108128/1 Schacter, D. B. (1996). Searching for Memory, the Brain, the Mind and the Past. New York: Basic Books