According to literature, there exists confusion in the working of different kind of memory (Cowan). So the article will reduce the confusion and make the recent assessment of these various types of memories (Cowan). The long term and short term memory could be differentiated regarding the two fundamental ways. The short term memory is supposed to demonstrate the temporal decay and the capacity limit of the chunks (Cowan). Both of the above mentioned characteristics of the short term memory are debatable, still the given essay will encourage the existence of these properties (Cowan). Whereas the long term memory is associated with the long term cognitive tasks and the system of multiple components that embraces and handles the information for the short term memory regarding the therapy devotion for the management of short-term memory (Cowan). Irrespective of the description some other methods are also there in the short term memory that could appear repetitive while don’t having a good correlation within the aptitudes of cognitions including the other actions that seems more demanding and responsive and correlate well with the individual aptitudes (Cowan).
- Historical background
There are many phases of memory, and in an immature view, all of them are made of one cloth only (Cowan). Some of the people are having good ability to memorize the events and facts whereas a lot of other is there that have the less ability to do so (Cowan). Careful observations have shown that there exist the distinguishable memory aspects (Cowan). An elder teacher could be seen relating an old lecture that once he delivered long ago similarly the ability of capturing the names of new students can also be seen or recalling about the specific student that has made a comment for enduring discussion might have weakened with time (Cowan).
While tracing back the study of memory, it has been started from the Hermann. Hermann examined his acquirement about the forgetting the new info in the form of the sequence of a syllabus that has been verified over several stages up to the period of thirty one days (Cowan). Ebbinghaus has also noticed between the different observations that he has the hold on the moments of first brief series with the appropriate concentration (Cowan). He also observed that this immediate memory doesn’t certify that the memorizing of series would allow its remembrance later on (Cowan). For the stable memory, there is the requirement of continuous repetitions in series (Cowan). Later on, James in 1890 suggested a difference between these memories (Cowan). On the irregular edge of secondary and primary memory a small amount of information is needed to be held that stores the large amount of knowledge for life time. This became the first memory of James was the first momentary hold of Ebbinghaus (Cowan)
With the revolution in industry, the main memory of James required some new demands. During the 1850s the operators of telegraph needed to remember the series of dashes and dots that were sent acoustically and then need to interpret them (Cowan). Even before the Ebbinghaus, Nipher has also reported a curved position among the logarithms and digits that he tried to remember (Cowan). So with the efforts of Ebbinghaus, a tool was invented that was capable of inventing the ecological validity along with the demand of expanding information while emphasizing the applied significance of the primary memory in the daily routine (Cowan). Main memory looks to be pressurizing if anyone is asked to keep in mind the situation of inexperienced aspects of ideas, things, and places, etc. (Cowan).
- Distinction between short term and long term memory
While differentiating the short term and long term memory, there are two possible ways I which one is the duration and other is the capacity (Preston). The difference of Capacity is the limit that how many how many short term items could be stored in the memory (Preston). If there exists a limit of the capacity, only a specific number of short term items could be stored in the capacity and would remain there until they are replaced with other short items (Preston). Therefore both of the terms are controversial, so to assess the advantages of these short terms and long term capacities there limits are needed to be evaluated (Preston). For this purpose following methodologies are applied to both of the terms (Preston).
3.1- Short term memory
A short term memory is the memory of stimulus that exists only for the short interval (Guo). Short term memory is utilized practically for the comparative purposes for the times when anyone is not able to look simultaneously at two places but need their comparison for different possibilities (Guo). Short term memory is required to connect the storage and processing of information (Guo). It also highlights the fact of cognitive abilities that can have the adverse effects of the capacity of working memory sometimes (Guo). So it is important to be clear on the average capacity of a short term memory without the understanding of brain’s intact functioning, so it is hard to evaluate that deficit ability of an individual (Guo).
To define the span of independent judgment, it is defined as the accurate limit that is capable of identifying the magnitude one-dimensional variable of stimulus (Guo). The traditional limit of which is around the 7+2. The experiment of Miller for memory span has the evidence of this regular limit (Guo). In the experiment, the members had to remember the info and then to read it aloud (Guo). The result clearly showed the average upper limit of 9 while using the binary items (Guo). These results were regardless of the persistent information from a hypothesis that suggests that if there is little information in each item the span would be long (Guo). The conclusion showed that with an increase in the information of per unit the conveyed information increases in the linear fashion (Guo).
There are different factors that can affect this apparent short memory (McLeod). The main factors include the rehearsal, time limit, and the overloaded information. The rehearsal is a serious complication that accurately measures the capacity of short-term memory (McLeod). A lot of studies have argued and measured the effect of short-term memory and its ability towards the rehearsal and its admittance for the long term memory storage (McLeod). Moreover, the process of recoding needs repetition and the information that can be used on the long term basis (McLeod).
The capacity of a short-term memory could be limited when the information provided to it is overloaded (McLeod). In this way, it prevents the recoding of information (McLeod). For example, during a presentation, the attention could be directed away due to the presence of too much information in this way the information is not processed correctly to attend the targeted stimulus so only a few items could be remembered because most of them are replaced by the information from the alternative directions. Similarly, there are alternative techniques as well that require the repetition of words during the presentation of targeted stimulus which can prevent the rehearsal (McLeod).
Traditionally it is assumed that short term memory is time limited in which the information stays the memory for the specific time only (Nee et al.). However, the claim is challenged, and the information is replaced by the finite capacity of short-term memory that confirms the displacement of new data with the old one (Nee et al.). Using the lines as a counting object the reaction of time is usually constant up to the four lines after that there could be seen a sharp increase in the response time (Nee et al.). So the fact indicates that natural upper limit of this particular version of counting is four lines regarding short memory (Nee et al.). Hence it is concluded that regarding counting it is a controlled process that could limit the working span of the memory (Nee et al.).
3.2- Long term memory
Long term memory creates the intrinsic pathways for storing the information and ideas which can be restored any time after the years, months or weeks later (Baddeley¬). For the creation of these pathways, the information needs to be encoded in such a way we could be able to recall it back when needed (Baddeley¬). So the long term memory enables the process of learning, and it is one of the important parts of the acquisition of the interpreter because this information could be last for the minutes, days, weeks, months or even the years (Baddeley¬).
Research says that the interpreting of long term memory requires three stages including recognition, compensation and the storing of information (Bjork & Whitten). During the stage of comprehension and recognition, the long term memory helps the individual to furnish the required information and its grammar so that he could be able to identify the precise sentences and words (Bjork & Whitten). Besides the understanding of the sample, the long term memory provides the direction to interpreter towards the new information to rule out the input that is distracting (Bjork & Whitten). A more favorable interpretation can be achieved with a more knowledge and experience (Bjork & Whitten). While producing it, the long term memory has again an important role (Bjork & Whitten). Although sometimes there is a need of revision during the production but with the knowledge the interpreter can overcome this barrier (Bjork & Whitten).
In the whole process of long term memory, there is a transmission of getting, storing, processing and conveying (Bjork & Whitten). According to the perspective of modern cognitive psychology human beings are similar to the computers for the processing of information (Bjork & Whitten). Therefore human beings are the active processor of encoding storing and retrieving information with the help of this long term memory (Bjork & Whitten).
In conclusion to the above discussion, we can say that there is a clear distinction between the short term and long term memories (Cowan). An individual possesses both of them depending upon the consequences (Cowan). We possess the short term memory by limit of the capacity and the temporal decay (Cowan). The factor of decay is still a bit controversial, but there exists a support for the capacity limit that was discussed in the above framework (Cowan). While the distinction between the short term and long term memory exist depending on the definition of specific terms (Cowan). Long term memory is related to the cognitive aptitudes that need for a long time recalling (Cowan). Hence the system of attention is required by both of the systems for storage and processing. So the system of attention holds importance for the both types of memories (Cowan).
1. Cowan, Nelson. “Chapter 20 What Are The Differences Between Long-Term, Short-Term, And Working Memory?”. N.p., 2008. Print.
2. Guo, Yingmin. “Cognitive Analysis Of Long-Term Memory In Interpreting.” N.p., 2016. Print.
3. McLeod, Saul. “Long-Term Memory | Simply Psychology.” Simplypsychology.org. N.p., 2010. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
4. Nee, Derek Evan et al. “Neuroscientific Evidence About The Distinction Between Short- And Long-Term Memory.” N.p., 2017. Print.
5. Preston, Alison. “How Does Short-Term Memory Work about Long-Term Memory? Are Short-Term Daily Memories Somehow Transferred To Long-Term Storage While We Sleep?”. Scientific American. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
6. Baddeley A. The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory? Trends Cogn. Sci. 2000;4:417–423
7. Bjork RA, Whitten WB. Recency-sensitive retrieval processes in a long-term free recall.