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The Memory Debate The debate over the reliability of memory has been going on before psychotherapy even started I would like to first began by explaining how a human beings memory works memory is an information process somewhat like a computer information-processing system We use encoding which is getting information into our brain we retain that information like storage and get the information back out when needed by using retrieval Like a computer we store a great deal of information in what is called our long-term memory the memories stored in our long-term memory are however not as literal and rather fragile A humans long-term memory has a relatively permanent and limitless storehouse Humans also have short-term memory which is activated memory that only holds a few items briefly things such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing before the information is either stored or forgotten activated human activity memories rapidly decay unless used or rehearsed Encoding can be an automatic process this occurs when little or no effort without awareness and without interfering with our thinking about other things Encoding can also be effortful processing although we encode an enormous amount of information unintentionally many other types of information we remember only with much effort rehearsal and attention We can forget things because of encoding failure Sometimes we fail to encode information so it never entered the memory system short-term or long-term memory A vast amount of what we sense we never notice or process without encoding effortful process We also may forget things as a result of retrieval failure sometimes information gets in our brains and even if we know it is there we simply cannot retrieve the information This is when you get the feeling that the information is on the tip of your tongue but you just can not get the words out There may also be interference information when it is similar in content
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