What is a memory?

After my discussion with Toby Lyons and Frazer Hudson yesterday, I thought of taking a step back and think about memories in a larger perspective and their importance in one’s life. So what are memories? Memories are our ability to encode experiences, store them and recall them anytime we want. There is a lot of information stored in our brains; but where do we get all this information? One might think of a brain like a bag filled with lots of events, moments, songs, books etc. But in reality, memory is not one single solid thing. It is a term that involves lots of distinct recollections that are used in different combinations at different point by a typical human being.  (Burnett, 2015)

There are two types of memories. Short term memory and long term memory. People usually tend to refer to short term memory as recalling things that happened recently. But in reality short term memory lasts for much short time. Typically, short term memory lasts for 15 to 30 seconds. Any memory that can be recalled after that time is long term memory. Unlike short term memories, long term memories are physically present in the brain. These memories remain in brain whether they are used (recalled) regularly or not. Long term memory has further classification. (Burnett, 2015)


In relation to my project, I am now trying to answer few questions like why are memories so important? Why should I document them? What about people who have lost their memory or people suffering from diseases like alzheimer’s and dementia? Why should people care about recording their memories?

Burnett, D. (2015, September 16). What happens in your brain when you make a memory? The Guardian, 1.

What is a memory?

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