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How Long-Term Memory Consolidate Learning?

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How long-term memory consolidate learning?

        Wondering about memories of human beings when I first heard the word Psychology at once because most of the people around me need to study a wide variety of notes and textbooks with a view to handling our tests and examinations well in this school stage. Without memorizing and reciting, we are not able to get remarkable results and good grades. However, nowadays, most of students, including me are the “deadline fighter”, we always do our revision the day before those tests and exams, which is absolutely not enough time for us to revise and memorize all the ideas. Furthermore, in order to study the notes as more as possible before the tests, students often study until midnight to memorize more points. It is impossible to cover and revise all the concepts and notes within this short period of time, so it is better to develop and formulate long-term memories for our studies and this is what I would like to reflect.

        Before studying Psychology, I have no ideas about the difference between short-term memory and long-term memory as I always hold the belief that I can finish the revision a day before the exams. Once I had failed in a Biology first-term in Secondary 4, I changed my mind because I finally realized that the capacity of short-term memory is definitely insufficient for me to recite all the concepts of Biology.

A research shown that short-term memories mostly last from 12 to 30 seconds without any rehearsal and it will be disappeared promptly (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). When there is a formation of newly formed neurons, old memories will be deleted in order to form new memories. This can be proved that if we study the tests just before the test date without revising and reviewing before, we are not able to recite all the contents of all the examination syllabus as we keep entering new information continuously within a day, the old knowledge will be “erased” and replaced by the new one constantly. The old knowledge has not consolidated yet in our brain, thus we usually forget the details of our revision when we are dealing with the exams.

In contrast with long-term memory, Bahrick (1984) pointed out that it is defined as a system into in which all information is placed to be kept more or less permanently. Long-term memory is seemingly limitless for all practical purposes in terms of capacity. According to the study of “the effect of frequency and duration of training sessions on acquisition and long-term memory” (Demant, H., Ladewig, J., Balsby,T.J.S. &Dabelsteen,T. ,2011), its result revealed that dogs trained 1–2 times per week and only 1 session a day had obviously better acquisition than daily trained dogs and trained 3 sessions in a row respectively. This demonstration shows that once the dogs learned a task, it is likely to be fully remembered for a long period of time after last practice, regardless of the training frequency each day. There will be a permanent physical change in our brains when the formation of memory is done, which can store our various meaningful and important memories for a long time, but not forever.

Environment stimuli such as stress will definitely affect the consolidation and reconsolidation of memory (Yang, C. ,2013). When we do our revision before the deadline, we may feel stressed because we all know that we do not have enough time to go through and revise all the learning material provided. Therefore, pressure is exerted to us, which will make us feel anxious and nervous and it will completely impose a negative impact on our studying progress and also emotion. Even though we have studied for a whole night, because of stress, we cannot reconsolidate both new memories and old memories and finally, all memories are fade out.

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