Abstract: Psychological and neuropsychological evidence indicates that human memory can be seen as comprising a number of separable but interacting memory systems. Information from the environment is first processed through a series of brief sensory memory systems that can best be regarded as part of the processes of perception. Information then flows directly into long-term memory, and in parallel into working memory, a system for keeping information “in mind”, while performing complex cognitive activities such as reasoning, learning and comprehending. Working memory can be decomposed into four subsystems comprising at the central executive, an attentionally limited control system, two modality-based storage systems one for acoustic-verbal information, the phonological loop, and the other for visuo-spatial information. A fourth component the episodic buffer provides a multidimensional temporary store that links these components with long-term memory and perception. Long-term memory can be split into two broad categories, explicit and implicit. Explicit memory comprises episodic memory, our capacity to recollect specific experiences; it is this aspect of memory that is particularly vulnerable to disease or brain damage. The second component is semantic memory which stores our knowledge of the world. There is a range of implicit systems which accumulate information that can later be used, but do not require conscious retrieval. Examples include acquiring motor skills, classical conditioning, perceptual priming and the general acquisition of habits.
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