Human Memory: a Passive Mechanism or Dynamic System? Essay

2709 Words11 Pages
Memory is a capacity that humans rely upon to relate to different events, experiences, conditions, and people. It is a vitally important process and system whereby the brain receives information from (external or internal) stimuli, stores it (encoding), and makes it available on a future occasion (retrieval). It provides continuity to people’s experiences across different periods of time.

Research is increasingly concluding that the brain works as an integrated whole rather than a series of discrete parts. In forming memory the brain passes information along the Papez circuit which involves a number of regions of the brain. Brain research indicates that memory formation produces physical changes to the way neurons are organized and
…show more content…
(Gross et al.2000:16)Their research could however be said to support Atkinson and Shiffrin’s (1968: Ibid) theory of a separate store storage facility for STM and LTM.

Craik and Lockhart (1972: Ibid) examined how information is encoded once registered and proposed the levels of processing theory, which focuses on the depth to which data is processed as a means of improving retention. According to this theory encoding is carried out by a central processor which can analyze stimulus on a shallow level, an intermediate acoustic level which phonemic or phonetic in nature, and a deep semantic level, where the meaning is analyzed.

Craik and Tulving (1975, as cited in Gross et al. 2000:18) conducted an experiment whereby participants were presented with a list of words and subsequently asked questions which required them to process the data, shallowly, phonemically an semantically. There was a significant better recognition of the word that had been processed semantically. While the LOP theory was the first to propose that perception, attention and memory are all interrelated processes. It doesn’t however explain why semantic processing produces better recall, or definitively measure the so called ‘depth’ of participants retention score.

Further examples of the significance of semantic processing and prior learning can be seen in the work of De Groot (1966; as cited in Gross et al; 2000:15). De Groot (1966: Ibid)
Get Access