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Human Memory - its types, how to improve Memory? (holistically)

Updated: Dec 12, 2022


Most scientists believe in this theory human memory can be classified into 4 types:

1. Sensory memory

2. Short-term memory

3. Working memory

4. Long-term memory

Some researchers believe that these are actually the distinct stages of the same memory. It all starts with your view & perception, how you see the things or with what inhibitions, beliefs or mindset you see things, then the perception. Your eyes are like a camera it clicks many images, but only the images or event that you magnify, give more importance to along with all your inhibitions, prejudices, or beliefs enters your long-term memory or the unconscious mind. If you are more prejudiced or biased, it'll reduce the pixels of your camera, the image will be more blur.

In this view, memory begins in sensory memory, then transitions to short-term memory, and we move to long-term memory.

Some brain scientists divide these types of memory into more specific categories.

1. Sensory memory- Memory that's related to sensations. Sensory memory holds sensory information for very brief periods of time, usually 1 second or less. The processing of memories and other information begins in this type of memory.

If a person pays attention to sensory input, then the information may move into short-term and then long-term memory.

Some examples of sensory memory include:

1. Registering the sounds a person encounters on a walk

2. Briefly acknowledging something in a person’s field of vision

3. When you suddenly experience any physical pains or emotional traumatic experiences- which essentially includes physical sensations.

Sensory memory helps a person piece together some sense of the world based on latest sights, sounds, and other sensory experiences.

When a specific sensory experience becomes relevant or not, such as the smell of something in the kitchen, it may move to other types of memory.

Otherwise, sensory memories are very short-term memories, a person quickly forgets them.

For example, a person will not be able recall all the specific sounds they heard in the last 30 seconds, 30 minutes, or 30 days unless there is some specific important reason to remember them.

2. Short-term memory:

Short-term memory allows a person to recall limited strings of information for a short period.

These memories disappear quickly, after about 30 seconds.

Short-term memory is not just memory that does not last long. Instead, it is a type of short-lived storage that can hold only a few pieces of information.

Some examples of short-term memory include:

Remembering a string of 5–7 words and repeating it back

Remembering a phone number while getting a pen to jot it down.

3. Working memory - this is similar to short-term memory. However, unlike the latter, working memory is where a person manipulates data into useful information.

This helps them to remember details of their current task. Some behaviors that use working memory include:

A. Solving a complex math problem where a person must remember several numbers.

B. Baking something, which requires a person to recall the ingredients, they already have had added.

C. Participating in a debate, during which a person must remember the main arguments and the evidence each side uses against each other.

While researchers typically, separate working and short-term memory into two different categories; research often finds a significant overlap between the two.

4. Long-term memory-

Long-term memory stores a wide varied range of memories and experiences of life.

Most memories that people recall, especially those older than about 30 seconds, are a part of long-term memory.

Many researchers divide long-term memory into two subcategories: implicit and explicit.

Explicit long-term memory

Explicit memories are conscious memories of events, experiences, autobiographical facts, or things a person learns.

Some types of explicit long-term memory include the following.

Episodic memory

These are memories of events or experiences or autobiographical facts. Examples of episodic memory include remembering an election, events from childhood, and personal facts, such as if someone is married.

Semantic memory

Semantic memories refer to general knowledge about the world. A person may remember a fact or event that they did not experience because they learned or studied it.

For instance, knowing what the human heart looks like is an example of semantic memory. However, it would be an episodic memory if the person can remember dissecting a pig heart in school.

Implicit Long-Term Memory:

Implicit memories are memories that influence a person’s behavior. However, people do not consciously think about them.

In Zen, clearing the mind or short-term memory is called 'EMPTYING THE CUP.' A cup or your memory will be able to hold tea or receive information(data) only when it's wholly empty, or else it can hold all of the information. EMPTYING THE CUP also means, clearing our old obsolete unwanted biases, prejudices, inhibitions in our mind, to become more objective or closer to the objectivity of how things are or how they operate in the universe.

"Higher the objectivity, more peaceful you will be." - YaDu

It's the ability to listen, view, perceive, accept, or understand things or persons, influences your peace and memory. That's objectivity. objectivity can be further developed into Critical Thinking skills. We'll write a post on it.

credits- AZ Quotes

We can ramp up the process of EMPTYING THE CUP by consistently practicing MEDITATION. Meditation not only clears or nullifies the thoughts, but also conjures, through acceptance) all the types of MEMORIES (previously explained). Meditation clears the junk of your working and conscious memory; it enables you to access the unconscious (partially or fully) through the hallway of sub-conscious. After consistent years of Sadhana, it also enables you to access the super conscious mind. Meditation improves grey matter in brains which is attributed to objectivity, creativity, improved memory. These are the recent medical research findings, where they scanned the brains of people who don't meditate and the people who meditate regularly and people who meditate occasionally. People who meditate regularly were found to have more grey matter - they were calm, condensed, more intelligent both cognitively and emotionally, they had more immunity and were better decision makers.

Super-conscious is basically a proposition where a person or soul or Atman knows everything. Atman can access Akashic Records. Akashic record is the huge database that contains each and every information about every soul and universe. Hypnotherapists can make a person access Akashic record, by sending him into the deep state of trance.

5 types of mind - as per Sanatana Dharmaha

1. Mana: - this is considered as the unconscious, which does doesn't have any rationale, all it does is- sends signals about wants, unwanted things, perceptions about persons, things which we sense through our 5 senses, through the hallway of subconscious to conscious mind.

2. Buddhi: - rationale mind - this what we call conscious mind, which has the ability to think, reason rationally.

3. Chitta: - This basically represent all types of memory - explained before.

4. Aham - superficial ego &