A quick review of important brain areas will help in understanding how to improve memory storage for later recall.
Different parts of the brain are responsible for forming and retaining memories:
1) The hippocampus is the big player in processing information as memory.
2) The amygdala is for the emotion memories.
3) The cerebral cortex stores the long storage memories in different areas or zones of the brain depending what the information is. This includes language, problem solving, sensory input and items of that nature.
Be mindful that memory requires communication among the network of neurons, these are cells activated by brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters which number in the millions.
All of the above goes into formation of improving your memory 24 hours a day. There are three actions required for the brain to process the information it is receiving in the different zones of the brain.
1) ACQUISITION: New information enters your brain along neuron pathways. However the key to having successful storage of the information is the concentration you used to retain it. Unless you focus on the information it will not store.
2) CONSOLIDATION: If you concentrated and focused on the information well enough to put it in storage, the hippocampus will send a signal to store the new information as long storage memory. If the new information is already something you are aware of or if it is an emotional issue this will happen quicker and easier.
3) RETRIEVAL: In order for information to be recalled it will travel the same pathways to store it originally. The more frequently you recall this information the easier and faster it will retrieve for you.
Review of the meanings of short storage memory and long storage memory:
short storage memory is information your mind stores for a few seconds or a few minutes. This kind of memory is very fragile. In spite of the enormous brain capacity that we have we could easily fill it to the top if we remembered every phone call we dialed or remembered every little thing we saw on television.
Long storage memory holds the information we have consciously or sub-consciously made an effort to remember. The reason we do that is the information has a value to us. This information pertains to friends or family or something equally important.
It could also be of material you need to study for a test or it could be job related.
There are also emotional memories that we may want to hold on to, an example is the day you lost someone close to you.
There are also memories in the long storage area that you must make a conscious effort to recall and this could cover some specific experience that you had at one time.
Semantic memories are also long storage and could be anything from the name of your dogs to the color of your wife’s eyes.
Procedural memory is long storage memory that requires no conscious effort to recall and these will pertain to the skills and routines you have developed so often the memory just comes naturally.
Please be mindful of the brain’s continuous effort to help improve your memory.