Episodic memory là gì


Our memories are important: they make us who we are & allow us to actively participate in the world around us. Memory is also incredibly complex, involving many regions & systems within the brain to lớn process và remember different types of information. The memory you have for how khổng lồ tie a shoelace, for example, involves different regions of the brain compared to the memory of how you spent your birthday last year.

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Remembering how lớn tie shoelaces uses different parts of the brain compared khổng lồ remembering your birthday Image adapted from: Sweet Ice Cream Photography; CC0

Broadly speaking, we can categorise different types of memories based on how the information is stored (procedural or declarative sầu memory) or based on how it is remembered và expressed in our behaviour (implicit or explicit memory).

Procedural vs declarative memory

Procedural memory refers khổng lồ our knowledge of skills và how to lớn perform tasks, & is something we mostly remember automatically. We generally don’t need to lớn consciously think about how lớn ride a bike or play an instrument: we simply go through the motions once we’ve sầu learned how to vày it.

Multiple parts of the brain are involved in the formation of procedural memories. Once a skill has been learned, a key part of the brain called the basal ganglia is responsible for processing và coordinating the muscle movements & habitual actions required to achieve a goal.

Imagine there’s a ball zooming towards your head: bởi you raise your hands lớn catch it, or vì chưng you run away from it lớn avoid being hit? Quickly deciding which action lớn take is a decision for the basal ganglia. The cerebellum, located towards the baông chồng of the brain, is also responsible for coordinating those movements.

Catching a ball or driving a car are tasks for the basal ganglia & the cerebellum Image adapted from: The Conversation; CC BY-ND

Declarative sầu memories are facts or memories of past events that can be ‘declared’ rather than performed. Examples might include an important life sự kiện, who came to dinner last night, or the date of your mother’s birthday, as well as information about the world. Declarative memories can be further broken down inkhổng lồ other sub-types of memories:

semantic (also called ‘generic’) memories: memories of general knowledge (such as the countries in Africa or what a dog looks like)episodic memories: memories of life events that happened to you or around you, often replayed as short episodes or snapshotsautobiographical memories are typically combinations of semantic và episodic memories that contribute khổng lồ your sense of self—your own life history and identity.spatial memories, such as remembering the route to lớn drive home page, or where a certain cửa hàng is located.

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Two key areas of the brain involved in forming và storing declarative sầu memories are the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. The prefrontal cortex, located at the very front of the brain, is responsible for our working memory: processing new incoming information and manipulating any existing memories that we might be consciously thinking about at any given time (such as reliving a memory of a past sự kiện, for example).

Reminiscing? You have sầu your hippocampus & prefrontal cortex khổng lồ thank Image adapted from: The Conversation; CC BY-ND

If the information is deemed important enough khổng lồ be consolidated forever inlớn our long-term memory, that’s when the hippocampus comes inlớn play. This is a seahorse-shaped structure that sits more or less in the middle part of the brain (the medial temporal lobes, to lớn be precise) và is directly involved in storing away important info in other regions of our cerebral cortex (the outer layer of grey matter that makes up a large part of our brain).

Memories are not stored as perfect records, though. Retrieval of episodic and autobiographical memories is highly reconstructive: extra bits of information that weren’t there when the memory was originally ‘laid down’ can get added in during the process of remembering. It’s not always possible to lớn tell which features are part of the original memory và what information has been introduced later (something that makes accurate eyewitness testimony very difficult).

Implicit vs explicit memory

If procedural & declarative sầu memories are the what of memory, implicit và explicit memories are the how. Implicit memories are those that we remember unconsciously and are expressed in our behaviour in some way. Most of our procedural memories fall into lớn this category.

Conditioned learning & associative memory are also examples of how implicit memory works. We can see the evidence of these unconscious associations in experiments on priming effects, where exposing someone khổng lồ a stimulus affects how new information is processed or how tasks are performed. For example, if someone reads a menu of words including ‘cooking’, ‘food’ và ‘hot’ before being asked khổng lồ complete a four-letter word starting with ‘SO__’, they are more likely lớn say ‘SOUP’. Someone ‘primed’ with words such as ‘bath’, ‘clean’ & ‘bubbles’ may be more likely to respond with ‘SOAP’ instead.

Explicit memories, on the other hand, are those that are consciously remembered. Memories can be recalled, where they are spontaneously retrieved from long-term memory storage, such as when you reminisce about your last travel adventure overseas. Recognition, which requires less effort compared to reĐiện thoại tư vấn, refers to the sense that you’ve sầu previously encountered or learned something that you are perceiving in a given moment—that feeling you get when something ‘rings a bell’.

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Knowing how to lớn ride a xe đạp is an example of a procedural and implicit memory. Remembering your experience of riding it past a lake, meanwhile, draws on your explicit recollection of an episodic memory. Image adapted from: Lee Hans; CC0

We might like to lớn think that our memories are safe and secure but, in reality, there are many things that can affect our ability to lớn create, store & retrieve sầu them. Mapping out which systems in the brain are responsible for forming & maintaining our memories is essential for preventing memory malfunctions—và finding better ways khổng lồ enhance và improve sầu our ability to lớn rethành viên.

This article has been reviewed by the following expert: Professor Max Coltheart AM FAA Department of Cognitive sầu tuongthan.vn, Macquarie University