The Difference Between Short Term & Long-Term Memory

The brain has different places for short and long-term memory.
••• Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Shaheen Lakhan

Scientists believe the brain's memory works by creating new synapses--connections between neurons--when it learns something. Information gets stored in the short-term or long-term areas of the brain.

Difference

The brain stores information in its short-term memory that it only needs for a few minutes, such as a phone number. Long-term memory contains data that the brain will use for years, such as how to use a telephone.

History

In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus became the first person to publish a scientific work denoting the differences between long and short-term memory. Ebbinghaus tested his memory of random syllables over a month and found he needed to keep repeating a pattern to successfully recall it later.

Fun Fact

Types of memory can occur in extremes. Two such cases have been studied by neuroscientists at teh University of California, Irvine. One is a woman who memorizes every detail of her life. On the other hand, a man in the study can only recall his last thought.

Misconceptions

Sometimes, short and long-term memory work in tandem, called the dual store theory of memory. An example of this would be memorizing a number quickly because of its similarity to a familiar number, such as a telephone number.

Tips

Short-term memories are not ideal for learning, thus educators advise against cramming studying into one night. People who "cram" information only remember about 30 percent of the following week, while those who take a piecemeal approach remember about 80 percent of the info they learned when tested the following week, according to “Memory: The Key to Consciousness” by USC neuroscientists Richard Thompson and Stephen Madigan.

Related Articles

How to Memorize the Hormones of the Pituitary Gland
How Does Stress Affect Your Brain?
Scientists Have Just Uncovered a New, Mysterious Nerve...
Here's How Propaganda Affects Your Brain
What is the Importance of Virtual Reality to Doctors...
How to Save Notes on a TI-83 Plus
Research-Based Strategies for Teaching Multiplication...
5 Women Who Changed Our Understanding of Science
What Does CPR Stand for?
The Impact of Islam on World Society
How to Use Memory & Display Functions on a Scientific...
Psst....Scientists Can Hear Your Thoughts. Here's How
How Does Sound Affect Heart Rate?
How to Memorize the Dewey Decimal System
What is ASMR (And Does It Really Work?)
About a Mammal's Nervous System
How to Stimulate Your Brain
What Is a Tactile Sensation?
Note Taking Tips for Science Class
Making Better Humans — The Marriage of Man and Machine

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!