the retention and retrieval in the human mind of past experiences. The function of remembering and its converse, forgetting, are normally adaptive. Learning, thought, and reasoning could not occur without remembering. On the other hand, forgetting has many functions, including time orientation by virtue of the tendency of memories to fade over time; adaptation to new learning by the loss or suppression of old patterns; and relief from the anxiety of painful experiences. Some theorists believe memory is best described as a single storage and retrieval system. Others conceptualize a short-term memory where a limited amount of information (about fivenine items) can be held for a few seconds, after which it is either coded into a separate long-term system or lost. Organic evidence is adduced in favour of the two-system theory: persons who have suffered damage to an area of the brain called the hippocampus can retain short-term memory functions but are apparently unable to store any new long-term memory. the retention and retrieval in the human mind of past experiences. That experiences influence subsequent behaviour is evidence of an obvious but nevertheless remarkable activity called remembering. Learning could not occur without the function popularly named memory. Practice results in a cumulative effect on memory leading to skillful performance on the tuba, to recitation of a poem, and even to reading and understanding these words. So-called intelligent behaviour demands memory, remembering being prerequisite to reasoning. The ability to solve any problem or even to recognize that a problem exists depends on memory. Typically, the decision to cross a street is based on remembering numerous earlier experiences. Practice (or review) tends to build and maintain memory for a task or for any learned material. Over a period of no practice what has been learned tends to be forgotten; and the adaptive consequences may not seem obvious. Yet, dramatic instances of sudden forgetting (as in amnesia) can be seen to be adaptive. In this sense, the ability to forget can be interpreted to have survived through a process of natural selection in animals. Indeed, when one's memory of an emotionally painful experience leads to severe anxiety, forgetting may produce relief. Nevertheless, an evolutionary interpretation might make it difficult to understand how the commonly gradual process of forgetting survived natural selection. In speculating about the evolution of memory, it is helpful to consider what would happen if memories failed to fade. Forgetting clearly aids orientation in time; since old memories weaken and the new tend to be vivid, clues are provided for inferring duration. Without forgetting, adaptive ability would suffer; for example, learned behaviour that might have been correct a decade ago may no longer be. Cases are recorded of people who (by ordinary standards) forgot so little that their everyday activities were full of confusion. Thus, forgetting seems to serve the survival of the individual and the species. Another line of speculation posits a memory storage system of limited capacity that provides adaptive flexibility specifically through forgetting. In this view, continual adjustments are made between learning or memory storage (input) and forgetting (output). Indeed, there is evidence that the rate at which individuals forget is directly related to how much they have learned. Such data offer gross support of contemporary models of memory that assume an input-output balance. Whatever its origins, forgetting has attracted considerable investigative attention. Much of this research has been aimed at discovering those factors that change the rate of forgetting. Efforts are made to study how information may be stored; that is, to discover the ways in which it may be encoded. Remembered experiences may be said to consist of encoded collections of interacting information; and interaction seems to be a prime factor in forgetting. Psychologists of the modern era, from their earliest speculations about remembering to the formulation of most of their latest experimentally based views, commonly have assumed that the critical problems are concerned with the physiological mechanisms by which events and experiences can be retained so that they can be mentally reproduced, either in their original mode or with the assistance of signs and symbols that are regarded as equivalent to that mode. Memory is thus usually considered to function perfectly in proportion to its literal accuracy of reduplication. Investigators have generally supposed that anything that influences the behaviour of an organism endowed with a central nervous system leavessomewhere in that system a trace or group of traces. So long as these traces last they can, in theory, be restimulated and the event or experience that established them will be remembered. The experimental psychology of rememberingall modern experts claim to base their conclusions upon experimental evidenceendeavours to discover methods for identifying the necessary and sufficient conditions for the persistence and length of persistence of traces and for their restimulation.
Meaning of MEMORY in English
Britannica English vocabulary. Английский словарь Британика. 2012