The human psyche can display not only the objects and phenomena of reality, which is directly perceived, but also those perceived before. The results of sensory and rational perception of the world became experience thanks to memory. Memory is a set of processes of retention and reproduction of experience. Thanks to it, man is able to perceive familiar environment, perceived image of which is to some extent independent of the conditions of perception and distortion. The memory gives the possibility to exist and develop thinking and imagination.
Knowing his past, man can predict the future and build his behavior. The knowledge of the previous generations past may be appropriated through memory and thus is generally possible historical development of mankind. Losing memory, a person loses the ability to live normally.
The question of the memory mechanisms is investigated by a number of sciences – physiology, biochemistry and psychology.
Physiologists found that memory is a result of the close cooperation of the functional blocks of the brain, with the major role played by the unit of receiving, processing and storing information. Neurons of this unit are capable of the excitation traces retention and comparing them with the parameters of new information. Any information received is, for a short while, circulating in the closed neural circuits. The process of retention and saving the formation is the creation of the nerve connections between the new information and that, which has already been fixed. The process of reproduction is a restoration of these connections, and forgetting – their inhibition. Long-term preservation of information is controlled by the frontal lobes and when damaged the reproduction becomes uncontrolled.
According to the biochemical studies, stimulation of neurons causes chemical reactions that lead to changes in the composition of ribonucleic acid (RNA). Repeated activity of the same stimulus will cause the same changes. The ability of RNA molecules to change is almost unlimited and makes it possible to store a wide variety of traces. As opposed to RNA molecules, the molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are the carriers of genetic memory and preserve genotype. However, some types of DNA are involved in the processes of the lifetime memory.
There are as well several psychological theories that aim to explain the nature of memory and the way it is functioning. One of them is an associative theory, which reveals the dependence of memory processes on the characteristics of the information. The behavioral theory considers memory processes similar to the patterns of formation of motor skills. According to the cognitive theory, memory is a structure for processing information.
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