The human memory isn’t one single process, but instead can actually be categorized into many different mental activities. When people store a memory, information is stored. What the information is and how long you can retain it will depend on what kind of memory it is. In general, there are two major kinds of memory: long-term and short-term (also known as working memory). Both are defined by the length of time information for memory is stored in the brain. If you are working towards memory improvement, you should first determine which kind to focus on.
Long-term memory involves the mind’s system for storage, management, and retrieval of information. Compared to short-term memory, long-term memory is much more complex. That’s because people store different information by using different memory systems. To make things even more complicated, long-term memory can be divided into three types: explicit, implicit, and autobiographical.
Explicit memory (also known as “declarative memory”) requires conscious thought. Conscious recall is required when retrieving information. Data is explicitly stored as well as retrieved. Constant recall and association with other ideas are ways for memory improvement if you’re focused on improving this aspect of your long-term memory.
Implicit memory (also known as “procedural memory”) in comparison is not based on conscious thought or recall. It is retained through implicit learning. This kind of memory is involved when you do routine tasks automatically, or have learned a skill like bike riding where you don’t have to think about how to do it. Repetition is the key to improving and maintaining this kind of memory.
Autobiographical memory is involved when you recall personal experiences. It is the memory for specific events or happenings in your life. This can further be divided into two types: episodic and semantic memory. Episodic memory involves information particular to a specific context, like time and place. Semantic memory concerns facts that are taken out of independent context.
On the other hand, short-term memory is related closely to working memory. It is retained for a short time in the brain. You can keep that information in your mind before you either dismiss it or transfer it into long-term memory. Different memory programs and techniques can certainly help improve the mind’s capacity to store and retrieve this kind of memory.