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Long-term memory (LTM) is memory that can last as little as a few days or as long as decades. It differs structurally and functionally from working memory or short-term memory, which ostensibly stores items for only around 18 seconds (Peterson and Peterson, 1959). Biologically, short-term memory is a temporary potentiation of neural connections that can become long-term memory through the process of rehearsal and meaningful association. Much is not known about the underlying biological mechanisms of long-term memory, but the process of long-term potentiation, which involves a physical change in the structure of neurons, has been proposed as the mechanism by which short-term memories move into long-term storage. Notably, the time scale involved at each level of memory processing remains under investigation. As long-term memory is subject to fading in the natural forgetting process, several recalls/retrievals of memory may be needed for long-term memories to last for years, dependent also on the depth of processing. Individual retrievals can take place in increasing intervals in accordance with the principle of spaced repetition. This can happen quite naturally through reflection or deliberate recall (a.k.a. recapitulation or recollection), often dependent on the perceived importance of the material.

Encoding of informationEdit

Long term memory encodes information semantically for storage, as researched by Baddeley. However, there is some evidence that proves that long term memory also encodes by sound for storage. An example of this is when one experiences the "tip of the tongue" state in which one cannot remember a particular word, but they know it sounds similar to another word. The target word is said to be on the tip of the tongue. It is almost grasped, but not totally. This has nothing to do with meaning but with what the word sounds like.(Dr. E Schaefer University of Winnipeg Psychology Department)

SleepEdit

Some theories consider sleep to be an important factor in establishing well-organized long-term memories. (See also sleep and learning.)

According to Tarnow's theory, long term memories are stored in dream format (reminiscent of the Penfield & Rasmussen’s findings that electrical excitations of cortex give rise to experiences similar to dreams). During waking life an executive function interprets long term memory consistent with reality checking (Tarnow, 2003).[1]

Types of memoryEdit

The brain does not store memories in one unified structure, as might be seen in a computer's hard disk drive. Instead, different types of memory are stored in different regions of the brain. LTM is typically divided up into two major headings: declarative memory and implicit memory (or procedural memory).[2]

  1. Declarative memory refers to all memories that are consciously available. These are encoded by the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and perirhinal cortex, but consolidated and stored elsewhere in the cortex. The precise location of storage is unknown, but the temporal cortex has been proposed as a likely candidate. Declarative memory also has two major subdivisions:
    • Episodic memory refers to memory for specific events in time
    • Semantic memory refers to knowledge about the external world, such as the function of a pencil.
  2. Procedural memory refers to the use of objects or movements of the body, such as how exactly to use a pencil or ride a bicycle. This type of memory is encoded and probably stored by the cerebellum and the striatum.

There are various other categorizations of memory and types of memory that have captured research interest. Prospective memory (its complement: retrospective memory) is an example.

Emotional memory, the memory for events that evoke a particularly strong emotion, is another. Emotion and memory is a domain that can involve both declarative and procedural memory processes. Emotional memories are consciously available, but elicit a powerful, unconscious physiological reaction. They also have a unique physiological pathway that involves strong connections from the amygdala into the prefrontal cortex, but much weaker connections running back from the prefrontal cortex to the amgydala.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Disorders of memoryEdit

Minor everyday slips and lapses of memory are fairly commonplace, and may increase naturally with age, when ill, or when under stress (Reason J.).[3] Some women may experience more memory lapses following the onset of the menopause.[1] More serious problems with memory generally occur due to traumatic brain injury or neurodegenerative disease[2]:

AssessmentEdit

in the assessment of memory a number of neuropsychological measures can be used.


Everyday memory problemsEdit

The everyday experience of memory problems is the problem of failed recall, forgetting. The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon is particularly frustrating because the person trying to remember feels that the memory is available. In physical terms your neurons are firing, but your receptors aren't catching. Failing to remember something in the situation in which it would have been useful leads to regret.

Traumatic brain injuryEdit

The majority of findings about memory have been the result of studies that lesioned specific brain regions in rats or primates, but some of the most important work has been the result of accidental or inadvertent brain trauma. The most famous case in recent memory studies is the case study of HM, who had parts of his hippocampus, parahippocampal cortices, and surrounding tissue removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. His subsequent total anterograde amnesia and partial retrograde amnesia provided the first evidence for the localization of memory function, and further clarified the differences between declarative and procedural memory.

Neurodegenerative diseasesEdit

Many neurodegenerative diseases can cause memory loss. Some of the most prevalent (and consequently, most intensely researched) include Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Huntington's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's Disease. None act specifically on memory; instead memory loss is often a casualty of generalized neuronal deterioration. Currently, these illnesses are irreversible, but research into stem cells, psychopharmacology, and genetic engineering hold much promise.

Biological underpinnings at the cellular levelEdit

Long term memory is dependent upon the construction of new proteins within the cellular body, particularly transmitters, receptors, and new synapse pathways that reinforce the communicative strength between neurons. The production of new proteins devoted to synapse reinforcement is triggered after the release of certain signaling substances (such as calcium within hippocampal neurons) in the cell. In the case of hippocampal cells, this release is dependent upon the expulsion of magnesium (a binding molecule) that is expelled after significant and repetitive synaptic signaling. The temporary expulsion of magnesium frees NMDA receptors to release calcium in the cell, a signal that leads to gene transcription and the construction of reinforcing proteins. Neihoff, Debra (2005) "The Language of Life 'How cells Communicate in Health and Disease'" Speak Memory, 210-223. For more information see long-term potentiation (LTP).

One of the newly synthesized proteins in LTP is also critical for maintaining long-term memory. This protein is an autonomously active form of the enzyme protein kinase C (PKC), known as PKMζ. PKMζ maintains the activity-dependent enhancement of synaptic strength and inhibiting PKMζ erases established long-term memories, without affecting short-term memory or, once the inhibitor is eliminated, the ability to encode and store new long-term memories is restored.

Also BDNF is important for the persistence of long-term memories.[4]

See alsoEdit

References & bibliographyEdit

  1. Tarnow, E. (2003) How Dreams And Memory May Be Related Neuro-Psychoanalysis 5(2), 177-182 and also http://cogprints.org/2068/
  2. THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.
  3. Reason, J. (1995) Self-report questionnaires in cognitive psychology: have they delivered the goods? in Attention: Selection, Awareness, and Control (Eds.) Alan Baddeley & Lawrence Weiskrantz
  4. Pedro Bekinschtein, Martín Cammarota, Cynthia Katche, Leandro Slipczuk, Janine I. Rossato, Andrea Goldin, Ivan Izquierdo, and Jorge H. Medina (February 2008). BDNF is essential to promote persistence of long-term memory storage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 105 (7): 2711–2716.

Further readingEdit

Key textsEdit

BooksEdit

PapersEdit

  • Ahlberg. S. W and Sharps, M. J. (2002) Bartlett revisited: reconfiguration of long-term memory in young and older adults, The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 2002, 163(2), 211-18.
  • Strand, B. 7. (19 75) Effects of instructions for category organization on long-term retention.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory 1(6). 780-6.
  • Tarnow, E. (2003) How Dreams And Memory May Be Related. Neuro-Psychoanalysis 5(2), 177-182 and also http://cogprints.org/2068/
  • Warrington, E.K. and Weiskrantz, L. (1973) An analysis of short term and long term memory defects in man. In: J.A. Deutsch (ed.) The Physiological Basis of Memory, New York: Academic Press.
  • Williams, M.D. and Hollon, J.D. (1981) The process of retrieval from very long-tern memory, Cognitive Science 5: 87-119.

Additional materialEdit

BooksEdit

PapersEdit

External linksEdit


Memory
Types of memory
Articulatory suppression‎ | Auditory memory | Autobiographical memory | Collective memory | Early memories | Echoic Memory | Eidetic memory | Episodic memory | Episodic-like memory  | Explicit memory  |Exosomatic memory | False memory |Flashbulb memory | Iconic memory | Implicit memory | Institutional memory | Long term memory | Music-related memory | Procedural memory | Prospective memory | Repressed memory | Retrospective memory | Semantic memory | Sensory memory | Short term memory | Spatial memory | State-dependent memory | Tonal memory | Transactive memory | Transsaccadic memory | Verbal memory  | Visual memory  | Visuospatial memory  | Working memory  |
Aspects of memory
Childhood amnesia | Cryptomnesia |Cued recall | Eye-witness testimony | Memory and emotion | Forgetting |Forgetting curve | Free recall | Levels-of-processing effect | Memory consolidation |Memory decay | Memory distrust syndrome |Memory inhibition | Memory and smell | Memory for the future | Memory loss | Memory optimization | Memory trace | Mnemonic | Memory biases  | Modality effect | Tip of the tongue | Lethologica | Memory loss |Priming | Primacy effect | Reconstruction | Proactive interference | Prompting | Recency effect | Recall (learning) | Recognition (learning) | Reminiscence | Retention | Retroactive interference | Serial position effect | Serial recall | Source amnesia |
Memory theory
Atkinson-Shiffrin | Baddeley | CLARION | Decay theory | Dual-coding theory | Interference theory |Memory consolidation | Memory encoding | Memory-prediction framework | Forgetting | Recall | Recognition |
Mnemonics
Method of loci | Mnemonic room system | Mnemonic dominic system | Mnemonic learning | Mnemonic link system |Mnemonic major system | Mnemonic peg system | [[]] |[[]] |
Neuroanatomy of memory
Amygdala | Hippocampus | prefrontal cortex  | Neurobiology of working memory | Neurophysiology of memory | Rhinal cortex | Synapses |[[]] |
Neurochemistry of memory
Glutamatergic system  | of short term memory | [[]] |[[]] | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] |[[]] |
Developmental aspects of memory
Prenatal memory | |Childhood memory | Memory and aging | [[]] | [[]] |
Memory in clinical settings
Alcohol amnestic disorder | Amnesia | Dissociative fugue | False memory syndrome | False memory | Hyperthymesia | Memory and aging | Memory disorders | Memory distrust syndrome  Repressed memory  Traumatic memory |
Retention measures
Benton | CAMPROMPT | Implicit memory testing | Indirect tests of memory | MAS | Memory tests for children | MERMER | Rey-15 | Rivermead | TOMM | Wechsler | WMT | WRAML2 |
Treating memory problems
CBT | EMDR | Psychotherapy | Recovered memory therapy |Reminiscence therapy | Memory clinic | Memory training | Rewind technique |
Prominant workers in memory|-
Baddeley | Broadbent |Ebbinghaus  | Kandel |McGaugh | Schacter  | Treisman | Tulving  |
Philosophy and historical views of memory
Aristotle | [[]] |[[]] |[[]] |[[]] | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] |
Miscellaneous
Journals | Learning, Memory, and Cognition |Journal of Memory and Language |Memory |Memory and Cognition | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] |
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