Long-term memory: the definition. How to develop long-term memory?

The memory of a person is one of the abilities of the brain that forms our "I", makes a person individual and puts him several steps above animals. Of course, animals, especially smart ones like dogs and dolphins, also have it. But only at Homo sapiens memory has reached unprecedented development and perfection. Although we still have to strive for something, because the brain, as is known, uses only a small fraction of its capabilities.

Memory characteristic

Every healthy person is able to perceive, memorize, save, sort and reproduce the data obtained as a result of their activities. Memory in psychology is a multifaceted concept; these are all the functions of "gray matter" listed above, which together form experience. Man begins to receive it in infancy with the help of the senses.This is the easiest way to learn about the world and accumulate memory. At a later age, learning and physical activity are added to it, with the help of which the outlook is expanded and experience is enriched.

long-term memoryMemory in psychology is a complex process of cognition, thanks to which we can reproduce not only events, but also logical connections between them. We recognize people on the street, remember the learned poems and songs, we can lose one or another melody. All these actions are possible thanks to memory. It coordinates the actions and actions of a person, with its help he orients himself in the past and present, can predict the future. Memory - one of the foundations of a complex process of interaction of the individual with the environment.

Memorization as the main process of memory

It is very important in the life of each individual, as it makes him a person, heightens the social role in society. The memory of a person is based on memorizing: words, impressions, images. It happens arbitrarily when what is seen is deposited in the head by itself, or involuntary, in the event that we purposefully study the necessary material. If you are not trying to remember something intentionally, the process becomes selective. For example, ask a group of people who visited the birthday party to tell them what they remember most.Strangely enough, but they will answer in different ways: one will remember the cake, the other - the birthday outfit, the third - the gifts and so on.

memory lossIn short, memorization is an individual process based on specific tastes, preferences, and interests of the individual. Very often associations are the main foundation for it: by similarity, contrast or adjacency. Identifying a separate object with an event or event, it is easier for us to reproduce it.

Memory systems

In psychology, there are four mechanisms by which we memorize information. It is a sensory, short-term and long-term memory. All species, being integral systems, are closely linked. For example, sensory memory is formed on the basis of the senses. It is very short, and if there is no need to memorize this or that information, the data quickly dissipates and does not leave the slightest trace in the brain. For example, looking at the silhouette of a person for a long time, we look away and see these contours for some time. Then they disappear.

 memory improvementInstead, short-term or operative memory is the selective storage of data needed specifically for a particular activity.We remember the condition of the problem in solving it or the beginning of the work, while reading it through to the end.

Long-term memory is the ability to remember the events of the past, to reproduce the material learned at the university, to keep in your head data from different spheres of life. That is, we always remember the alphabet, the names and phone numbers of loved ones, the names and essence of natural phenomena, and so on. Long-term and short-term memory is very different. The first is similar to a roomy archive, while the second is a small shelving that is constantly being supplemented and modified.

Long-term memory

Let us dwell on it in detail, so it is most interesting to learn. Long-term memory has a certain capacity and duration. That is, to remember everything in the world man will not succeed. The scope, level and content of the memories of each individual is different. It is affected by:

  • Activity. A long-term memory will keep what we need and are interested in (the fisherman will always tell you a lot of information about a particular fish, tackle or river).
  • Emotions. That event with which strong experiences are connected will be forever deposited in the brain: negative and positive (death of parents, declaration of love, graduation from school, and so on).

British scientists conducted an interesting experiment.They tried to determine how well the representatives of different professions are oriented in space. It turned out that the leaders are taxi drivers. This is due to the fact that plowing the streets of the city every day, they managed to train their ability to memorize the terrain.

Material habit

The main factors that fix this or that information in the memory are repetition of the event, context, motivation and learning. The habitual nature of the material, for example, is capable of putting information in the head for a long period. It is simply impossible to forget the ordinary multiplication table that every person uses in his life more than once. The same applies to the New Year poems learned in childhood. When it comes on December 31, involuntarily we remember them and we are surprised at our ability to carry these lines through the years.

 human memorySimilarly, we can explain the amazing accuracy of our grandfathers when they retell the event of the war years. They remember the dates of the battles, the name of the villages where they took place, the names of the buried comrades. At the same time, if you ask them to remember the events of the last day, it will not be for everyone.This is due to the fact that death and violence once caused them a great shock. Year after year, old people talked about this to their children, grandchildren, and relatives, and it was precisely the repetition of the material (not even the events themselves) that were forever deposited in their memory.


Another factor that affects long-term memory. The definition of this concept is associated primarily with the place, time or essence of a phenomenon. This is the context of the event. Sometimes it is more important to memorize than the event itself.

memory in psychologyFor example, consider a biology lesson. Two teachers tell the children the same material, but at one teacher the students memorize it better, reproduce it more easily, they have excellent grades and behavior. For the other, on the contrary, half of the class receives unsatisfactory results from writing the control. It turns out that the teacher’s manner, his attitude towards children and the method of conducting a lesson influence the knowledge gained more than the amount of information provided.

Retrieving facts from memory archives is always easier in the context in which they occurred. In this case, the emotional component here is more important than ever.The sensual component of what is happening is permanently postponed in the consciousness, even if such an event was the only one in life and has never been repeated.


The long-term memory of a person, without any doubt, depends on this factor. It is always easier for us to remember what we want. Instead, information that is of no interest is difficult to reproduce. A student who loves football will easily name the dates of memorable matches, the names of the athletes who distinguished themselves in the game. For the same reason in the discussion, it is easier for us to remember the arguments and arguments that are similar to our own opinion. Arguments that go against it are harder to keep in memory.

Scientists who have studied the properties of memory say that we remember the essence of unfinished business rather than the work done until the end. In this case, the key is also the motivation: it urges us to bring to the mind what has begun, not to stop halfway, not to fall face down in the mud in front of other members of society who need the result of our activity. Motivation sometimes works wonders. A person who is confident that he does not speak English well, having come to London, instantly recalls the words and phrases he learned as a child.


If a person aspires to become an economist, he for his own benefit will conscientiously study the material necessary for a future profession. Deepening in new facts and figures should occur gradually, the information is assimilated in a measured manner in order to remain as clear as possible. If in this chain at least one link is not fully understood, all subsequent hours spent on books may be useless. Also, learning is always more effective if theoretical knowledge is supported by examples from life. It is difficult for a freshman to understand what debit and credit are, but if the textbook describes these concepts on the basis of specific trade relations, it is easier for him to remember the essence of the terms.

long-term memory definitionInstead, the long-term memory will not be able to save the jagged data in its archive. Trying to get a good grade, students sit down at the books just before the session, learning the notes by heart. From such knowledge no prospect in the future will be. Having shown a brilliant result on the exam, the student will immediately forget everything. In subsequent years, at work, it will come out sideways to him.

Amnesia and its treatment

Loss of memory, in whole or in part, always causes panic in the patient.In this case, the doctors calm down: amnesia is a temporary phenomenon, usually after a certain period the memories come back to the person. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it is a stress or a tragic event. The patient runs from reality and forgets past events. Thus, a woman may not remember that she was abused as a child. The young brain struck out unpleasant fragments of life, so as not to injure the immature psyche. But any reminder of the event can return them: the fragrance of flowers, the spoken word, the visual picture and so on.

long-term human memorySecondly, the cause of amnesia can be various diseases: traumatic brain injury, stroke, intoxication, epilepsy, cancer, mental disorders. Sometimes memory loss is associated with the use of alcohol, drugs. Doctors treat amnesia by acting on the underlying ailment that caused memory loss. During therapy, neuroprotectors (Semax, Citicolin, Glycine drugs), B vitamins, antioxidants and other drugs are used. They also recommend communicating with relatives and friends, who, telling events from the patient's life, are able to bring back memories.

Prevention of memory impairment

It provides a healthy lifestyle. Long-term memory will work without interruption, like a clockwork, if a person completely abandons the abuse of alcohol, drugs and sleeping pills. It is recommended to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day, often air the room, walk a lot in the fresh air, play sports and learn to extract positive emotions even under difficult life circumstances.

good memoryNutrition plays a key role. By consuming a variety of foods, a person provides sufficient intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, various vitamins and microelements. The most useful products for brain activity are seafood, especially oysters, fish, whole grains, eggs, nuts, dark chocolate, greens, berries. Their presence in the daily diet can improve mental activity, avoid abnormalities in the brain and become a preventive means of memory loss.

Memory improvement

Even if it seems to you that memorizing your problems, do not sit with folded arms. This problem can be solved, the main thing here is desire and purposefulness.It used to be believed that the gray cells in the elderly could not reproduce. Recent studies suggest that neurons share even at 70 years of age. Therefore, scientists have come to the conclusion that the age-related weakening of memory is not associated with cell death, but with the loss of contact between them. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to take a course of vitamins, to consume the fatty acids contained in fish.

long-term and short-term memoryImprovement of memory is noticed in those people who used such mental operations as impression, repetition, association for these purposes. First, if you want to remember something, you need to concentrate on the object, remember its outlines, smell, taste. At the same time, visual perception is always the most durable and lasting. This is because the optic nerves connecting the eyes and the brain are 20 times thicker than the nerves going from the ear to the "gray matter". Secondly, the memory will improve if you periodically repeat the necessary material. And thirdly, the associations will help you quickly find the desired "file" in the brain, unpack it and play it.

Memory training

The brain, like any other organ, can be strengthened.How to develop long-term memory? The answer is simple: periodically perform a few simple exercises:

  • Learn poems. The volume of the text should be increased each time. For motivation and positive emotions, choose those works that you like exactly.
  • Solve logical problems. Buy yourself a brochure with such tasks and in the breaks between work you should flash your mind in front of your colleagues.
  • Play associative games. Sitting with your family at the table after dinner, call the cities or the names that arise in your memory, for example, from memories of the sea. Make associative ranks (winter — snow — sled — children — pleasure).
  • Solve Scandinavian and Japanese crosswords.
  • Unravel logical computer puzzles.

Good memory is not only genetic predisposition and heredity, it is also a work on yourself and your mental abilities. Remember that if you want, even a monkey can be made to think.

Interesting Facts

Scientists have established: the memory of a baby in the womb begins to work within 20 weeks after conception. Tests were carried out: using an ultrasound signal, doctors sent an impulse to the belly of a pregnant woman and checked the fetus's response to it.It turned out that the baby already perceives noise, reacts with the movement of hands or feet. True, after a 5-6 signal, he got used to the stimulus and stopped reacting to it. Scientists believe that the human mind will soon reach the peak of development, and we will be able to remember everything heard or seen even in the womb.

how to develop long-term memoryMemory options are truly unlimited. The main thing is to learn how to use it correctly. Already more than once on the planet, individuals with phenomenal abilities have declared themselves. For example, Alexander of Macedon remembered the names of all his soldiers, Mozart could play any piece of music from memory, Academician Ioffe knew the entire table of logarithms. Churchill memorized almost all of Shakespeare, and Dominic O'Brien memorized the order of shuffled cards in the deck in just 38 seconds. Bill Gates remembered the hundred codes of the programming language that he had created. Examples of these people show that the possibilities of "gray cells" are great. Our task is to develop and improve them as much as possible.

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