There are many ways of classifying the human mind and its ability to retain information. One of the most often used classifications are based on the duration of memory retention, specifically the sensory, short term and long term memory. Short term memory refers to the recent memory, and is usually only held for a very short period of time. A common example would be when you meet many new people, cursorily introduced at a party. Long term memory, on the other hand, can be thought of as a database where all the information that you have learnt is kept. Sensory memory is conveyed through your senses of sight and sound, where you keep these “images” in your mind.
Having sufficient sleep is a necessity to improving your memory. Studies have shown that the sensory memory is able to be more firmly embedded in the long term memory when there is adequate sleep. Research has also shown that facts and other information are also able to be retained and recalled with greater ease when paired with sleep. This has been attributed to the fact that sleep strengthens the memories and causes them to be less vulnerable to environmental interference.
Emotions also play a big part in memory retention. The emotional impact that an image, word or event has on the individual has a huge impact on it being stored in the long term memory. This is as the amygdale, the portion of the mind that is related to emotion, is an important factor in adapting memories according to importance, based on the intensity of the emotions. This is regardless of the nature of the emotion.
Memory Retention Tools
The human mind is a complex element of our cognitive abilities, and memories can be either verbal or non-verbal. There are many techniques for retaining information. These include organization of information through meaning, where associations between new information is received and linked with information already stored in the long term memory. Other forms of such memory retention techniques include visual organization, by linking information to visual images, and organizing through similarities, where similar concepts or objects are grouped together based on certain characteristics.
Mnemonic devices are another often employed tool in memory retention. The use of acronyms is common, especially in branding, where a sequence of words is easily recalled based on the first letter of each word in the list being used to form a single, new word. Acrostics are commonly used as well, when the list of words is required to be learnt in a specific order. Rhymes or songs that are catchy are used, putting new words into a familiar jingle in order to better capture and retain information
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