While many people think that memory problems only occur with age-related illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer's, they can also occur in young adults. In these cases, difficulty remembering information is usually due to problems with "encoding" or memory formation. While coding difficulties can be a result of excessive multitasking or lack of sleep, they can also be caused by mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety.
Are memory problems affecting your daily life?
Strengthen your memory through therapy
If you notice changes in your memory, online therapy can help. For example, people with age-related cognitive changes often receive cognitive stimulation therapy to preserve their memory.A studyfound that this type of therapy can help improve overall cognitive function in older adults with mild to moderate dementia.
If you experience memory loss at a young age and think it may be due to an underlying mental illness, for example, online therapy can help you deal with these concerns. In fact, research suggests thatOnline therapy can be a cheap and effective methodreceiving treatment for psychiatric comorbidities such as depression and anxiety.
What is coding?
For decades, psychologists and researchers have been fascinated by the complexities of the memory process. Numerous experiments have tried to understand and explain the phenomenon of memory formation and recall. While there is more to discover about this fundamental life process, research has shed light on many aspects of it.
Encoding is the first step in creating a memory. In doing so, your brain takes sensory information from the outside world and converts (or "encodes") it into stored information. To better understand the role of coding in memory, we must first understand the entire process of creating memory.
The three stages of the memory process
The researchers divided the process of creating and retrieving memories into three main stages. This includes encryption, storage and retrieval.
In psychology, the term “coding” describes how information enters our memory system through sensory input. That crucial first step in creating a new memory is perceiving something through our senses and getting the brain to process it into memorable information.
Memory storage is about storing information in the brain. The brain takes the encoded information and filters it as sensory (short-term), short-term, or long-term memory. However, memories are not stored properly in one part of the brain. Instead, different memory elements are stored in different parts of the brain and linked by neural networks. The more information repeated through neural networks, the more likely it is to be stored in long-term memory.
Memory retrieval or recall involves retrieving or re-accessing previously encoded and stored information. There istwo main methodsAccess memory: recognition and retrieval.
- recognitionOccurs when an object or physical event evokes a previous memory. This largely unconscious process is activated when, for example, you recognize faces, remember answers to questions on multiple-choice tests, or simply browse your neighborhood.
- To rememberIt is about remembering a fact, object or event that is not physically present. This process requires the direct disclosure of memory information. Recall can include things like remembering the name of someone you know or remembering information to fill in blank test questions.
The role of coding in memory
Encoding is the first step in the storage process. Without proper coding, our brains would not be able to store and retrieve memories.
Main Encoding Types
Our brain relies on our senses for information. Our senses offer a variety of ways to receive information to be encoded, including:
- Acoustic coding:the process of encoding sounds, words, and other auditory inputs for storage and retrieval. Auditory encoding also involves using your inner voice to recite information to reinforce memories, such as: B. Mentally checking facts for a test.
- visual coding: The process of encoding images and visual sensory information. Visual information is temporarily stored in iconic memory before being encrypted in long-term storage. Because most of us absorb so much visual information on a daily basis, this type of information is easily forgotten.
- touch coding: the act of storing a memory of how something feels. Tactile encoding usually occurs through touch, although it can also occur with smells or tastes. Neurons in the somatosensory cortex respond to vibrotactile stimuli elicited by the touch or texture of an object. Tactile coding can include remembering the feeling of your first kiss, the taste of your favorite food, or the feeling of snuggling a pet.
- semantic coding: The process of encoding sensory input with a specific meaning or context. Semantic encoding involves remembering facts, ideas, and concepts that do not come from personal experience, such as B. definitions of words, dates of specific events, or the position of places on a map.search suggestionsthat our semantic coding is much easier to remember when we attach meaning and/or emotion to information (see discussion of mnemonics below).
- complex coding: The process of actively relating new information or knowledge to something that is already in memory. Most memories are a combination of old and new information, and our interpretation of them depends on both. For example, an inexperienced pianist may remember his first concert night as exciting and excellent. As you get better and play more, you might still find your first gig exciting, but later think your playing was sloppy and amateurish.
- organizational coding: The process of classifying information that is linked to other information, e.g. B. Identify relationships between a set of elements. As with elaborate encoding, it involves recoding existing memories. An example is knowing that cats, dogs, monkeys and humans are all mammals.
As you can see, there are many ways to encode information to store it in our memories. Each type of coding involves different areas and functions of the brain that work in different ways. For example, we tend to remember more things that we hear (acoustics) or things that are meaningful to us (semantics).
How does the brain encode?
After receiving sensory information, the brain must decide whether the information is worth remembering. Experts believe that the hippocampus and frontal cortex are responsible for analyzing sensory information and determining its value.
The memory is then encoded with the language of electricity and brain chemicals. Nerve cells connect to other cells at a junction called a synapse. The electrical impulses that carry messages bounce back and forth between cells as synapses trigger the release of chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters then diffuse through the cells, creating the neural pathways and pathways that are essential for generating memories.
These connections between cells are constantly changing based on the information the brain receives. Because of this, we may remember something differently over time or organize previously stored memories into meaningful categories.
When brain cells send signals to each other, the synapses between them can strengthen. So practice and repetition can help you memorize facts or learn a new skill like playing an instrument.
The importance of distinction in coding
Psychologists have found thatDifferenceInformation needs to be stored in long-term memory. Suppose you walk your dog on one of two defined routes every day. While you might remember walking your dog last Wednesday, you probably can't recall specific details about the occasion.
Now imagine that one day your dog let go of the leash, started running down the block and almost got hit by a car and it took three people to chase him. A month later, you would probably still remember that experience vividly. You may remember how you felt when your dog ran away, the color and make of the car that almost ran you down, and the faces, clothes, and names of those who helped you rescue your dog. You'll likely remember these things because the experience was so different from your typical hikes. Also, the strong emotions you felt when your dog narrowly escaped injury can enhance your vivid memory of the experience.
Emotions play such an important role in encoding and storing information that even remembering important events you haven't personally experienced (such as public tragedies) can evoke vivid memories of hearing the news. It is often referred to as flash memory. Because of the strong emotions you felt, your mind permanently stored the details about your experience with the news in long-term memory.
Tips for better memory coding
Our brains evolved to encode memories we receive through a variety of senses, but some encoding methods are more effective than others. For example, while writing is an effective way to explain and tease out complex topics, our brains tend to have a harder time encoding written information.
By understanding coding, we can find ways to improve our memory recall. For example, mnemonics give the brain a powerful way to encode and store difficult information in memory. For example, if you're trying to memorize treble clef notes, you can use the phrase "Every good boy deserves fudge" to memorize the notes E, G, B, D, and F on the staff. This is an example of a mnemonic device.
Mnemonics are often most effective when we engage our other senses as well.vivid mental images. By adding imagination, association, and location to our mnemonics, the brain encodes them more effectively and makes them easier to remember. To make your mnemonics more effective, try including:
- Performance. The more you imagine and visualize a mnemonic, the more likely it is to stay with you. Use images that are important to you and as vivid as possible to create lasting memories.
- Mortgage. As mentioned above, one of the ways the brain encodes information is by associating and organizing it into groups. When imagining associations, imagine them stacked, colliding, or connected by the same color, smell, or sensation.
- Location. If there are similar types of information you need to remember, consider placing your flashcards in different mindsets or scenarios. This can help the brain keep them separate and avoid confusion.
Using vivid mental imagery is not the only way to help with mnemonics. You can also try to encode more complex messages with humor or symbols, or think of pleasant images, as your brain often blocks out unpleasant ones.
Integrity conditions that can affect memory encoding
Many people associate poor memory with dementia and Alzheimer's. These conditions usually affect the last two stages of memory: storage and retrieval. However, if you are younger and have memory issues, they could be caused by coding issues. Many factors can affect your programming ability. If you notice changes in your memory, it could be because:
- Excessive multitasking or a hectic lifestyle
- sleep apnea
- sleep deprivation
- thyroid problems
- Lack of vitamin B12
If you are concerned that a mental illness is affecting your memory, the help of a therapist can help you identify the cause and manage the effects. Online therapy can be an effective option for people suffering from memory loss due to an underlying mental illness, as sessions with your therapist can be accessed from the comfort of your home. For example, if you find it difficult to leave the house due to symptoms of depression or anxiety, virtual therapy can still give you the treatment you deserve.
Additionally, some online therapists can be contacted via in-app messaging even after the appointment is over. If you find you forgot to ask questions during therapy appointments, simply message your therapist afterwards and they'll respond when they can. This is the case withVirtual therapy platformssuch as BetterHelp, who offer licensed and accredited psychotherapy services over the phone, video and/or chat and are generally more accessible and accessible than in-person services.
The memory encoding process is complex. However, research has identified several techniques you can use to make it more effective. If you are concerned about memory problems you may have, a therapist can help you resolve these.
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