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Short Versus Long Term memory

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 22 August 2019

Short Term Memory = Poor Performance, Long Term memory = High Performance

Millions of pieces of information enter our brains every day and it would be impossible for our brains to remember all of it. As a result, our brains have developed a system of storing information into short and long term memory. Short term memory is suitable for around 5 to 9 items and lasts up to 48 hours. Long term memory has unlimited capacity, and can store information for a life time. It is using our long term memory not our short term that is the key to study success. Have you ever done a test or an exam, then if you did the exam again a week later you would almost certainly fail? This occurs because of over using your short term memory.

All information we learn immediately enters our short term memory. The brain then makes a decision as to whether it is going to store that information a little longer, discard it completely or move it straight to long term memory and keep it for ever. The key to successful study, is to get as much information to move to long term memory as possible. There are two main criteria that the brain uses to decide if the information is kept or lost. Can you guess what they are?

The first is the amount of repetition of that information and the other is the importance of it. For example imagine you read a sign every day that says "DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid" (dee-oxee-ry-boe-new-clay-ik acid). After a month, I guarantee that you will be able to say it verbatim (off by heart) for the rest of your life. The moral of this story, is the more you review the same information, the more likely it is to go to long term memory. Importance, however, is by far a simpler and more efficient way to get information to enter long term memory. If you were to go to a friend's birthday party you may meet 20 to 40 new people and get told their names. The average person will forget almost all of those names immediately. However, if you meet someone and have a great conversation, you are much more likely to remember their name because your brain has attached great importance to that information.

Activity

Complete the following tasks: sit up straight, sit forward, look at the line below. Say it to yourself 3 times:

1) I have to remember this information it is very important to me.

2) I have to remember this information it is very important to me.

3) I have to remember this information it is very important to me.

Now recite this line 3 times:

1) Two keys to effective study is to review information as many times as possible and to attach importance to that information.

2) Two keys to effective study is to review information as many times as possible and to attach importance to that information.

3) Two keys to effective study is to review information as many times as possible and to attach importance to that information.

Can you say it from memory?


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