• Memory is defined as the information stored in our brain. In other terms, memory is human’s brilliant ability to store the past within our bodies and to recall events and information even years after they happened.
  • Memories are crucial to the cognitive process and life in general; since they are part of our consciousness. Essentially, memories reflect our life.
  • There are three principles upon memory formation:
  1.  memory storage happens in stages and its warehouse is re-established constantly;
  2. hippocampus and its structures play an important role in memory processing;
  3.  memory traces are found all over the brain

Some people easily remember the name of the first book they ever read – then they walk into a supermarket and forget why they’re there. That’s an illustration of the difference between short-term memory and long-term memory. In general terms, memory storage passes through two different stages: short-term memory and long-term memory. The creation of memory begins with its perception. That perception is then stored in short-term memory. Short-term memory has a fairly limited capacity; it can hold about seven items for no more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time (Richard c. Mohs). It is said that short-term memory is a prior stage of long-term memory. According to Preserve Article, short-term memory is characterized by trace dependent forgetting — meaning that if the information is not rehearsed or processed immediately, then the memory transformed by the information fades rapidly and the item is permanently lost (Tim Hrenchir, Mar 2015, Newsmax).  Most people refer to long-term memory when talking about “memory” itself. It looks like long-term memory has an infinite capacity. You can remember countless names, phone numbers, events and so on. However, the capacity to store data vanishes over time. Thus, even the long-term memory can be forgotten, while the warehouse in our brain is refilled constantly with new information. Short-term memory and long-term memory are handled by different parts of the brain. Short-term memory is primarily a function of the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex (Tim Hrenchir, Mar 2015, Newsmax). In contrast, information stored in long-term memory is first held in the hippocampus and then transferred to the areas of the cerebral cortex for permanent storage, according to LiveScience.

We can think of short-term memory as a temporary “container” for the data we want to store in the long-term memory, or not. Consolidation of memory is affected by different factors, such as:

  • Emotional state- when we experience events that are important to us, consolidation to long-term memory is very rapid. In such cases, noradrenaline plays an important role in data storage.
  • Repetition- due to repetition the information is stored in long-term memory.
  • Linking “new information” to “old information” – linking method is very efficient to store data in long-term memory.
  • Automatic memory


COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Elona Xhemaili (State University of Tetovo, Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Macedonia)