How We Make Memories

How We Make Memories 

PS-200 – Unit 6 Assignment

September 10, 2019

How We Make Memories

Long-term memory

Long term memory can be described as the maximum amount of memory that can be contained for a lifetime of experiences and knowledge. It was proposed by psychologists Atkinson and Shiffrin that the experiences and knowledge stored in long-term memory would be permanent (Farmer & Matlin, 2016). Memory processing can occur in many ways. For example, semantic, episodic, procedural, and flashbulb. However, the two biggest categories of memory are short term (working memory) and long term. The classification in which memories categories are depicted depends on how long the memory is stored. The long-term memories are stored throughout the different regions of the brain and are recalled and depicted through various processes. Declarative memories are encoded by the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and perirhinal cortex. They are further consolidated and alter stored within the temporal lobe. Since for the purposes of this paper we are focusing on the long-term memory and the different ways in which our brains process and encode stimuli to be recalled later on, we are going to explore some of these different types of memory and relate them to real life situations to further explain their function (Mastin 2019). Procedural memories do appear at any time in the hippocampus, instead they are encoded directly in the cerebellum, putamen, caudate nucleus and the motor cortex related directly to motor skills (Mastin 2019).

The semantic memory is one of two types of explicit memory. Semantic memories relate to the world and stimuli we have already experiences throughout our life and can be easily recalled without any effort. In other words, general knowledge had mixed into new experiences, and influenced on culture (Science 2019). The semantic memory does not rely on personal experiences or specific events for the memory to be stored. Knowing football is a sport is a kind of semantic memory. You do not have to had watched the sport or even played it to know football is a sport. It is a general world experience that allows this memory to be stored. This means that the semantic memory is hugely dependent on community and culture (Science 2019). An example of semantic memory from a real-world scenario would be language. I was born to an Americanized English and Italian speaking family. It does not take me any effort to recognize which language is being utilized at a moment and how to respond. My language recognition is stored in my semantic memory due to the environment and culture in which I was raised.

Episodic memory, one of the two types of declarative memory, is fueled by personal experiences (Farmer & Matlin, 2016). These memories help to become a part of our long-term memory by incorporating time, location, and emotion to the experience (Science 2019). The episodic memory is fully developed by the age of four and allows you to mentally take a trip back from the future to recall different life events. An example of an episodic memory would be my thirteen-year-old sons first day of pre-school three. I remember as if it were yesterday the warm late summer breeze as we waited anxiously at the bus stop for his bus to come. When the bus pulled up to the bus stop, my young son clung to me with fear and my heart sank into my chest. As is most mothers’ emotions on their child’s first day of school, I was a hysterical mess as the bus pulled away. I can still vividly see in my mind the brightness of the blue skies and heat clearly the sound of his faint cry as the nus pulled away; a literal trip back from the future.

Procedural memory is a part of the long-term memory that is responsible for our ability to do things like walk, talk, and ride a bike (Farmer & Matlin, 2016). The procedural memory allows up to recall how to do these tasks without too much conscious awareness, particularly movements of the body and use of objects (Science 2019). The function of procedural memories and their relation directly to motor skills makes it possible for an individual with medial temporal lobe damage to still learn new procedural tasks and later recall them (Mastin 2019). An example of a procedural memory would be teaching my youngest daughter to chew her food when she switches from purees to solids. Instinctively her body new she could not just swallow these new foods, but it only took one or two times of me telling her to chew while mouthing chewing myself for her to know to chew. She now, along with most of us in life, can put food in her mouth and chew it with no conscious effort.

For the three different types of memories just learned about, there are different classifications of these memories to further identify them. Explicit memories, also known as declarative memories, require conscious thought to recall them. Implicit memories do not require conscious thought and allow things to be done with no thought (Science 2019). Since explicit memories are associated with declarative memories, the recalled story I shared about my sons first day of school is an example of an explicit memory. Since the procedural memory is associated with implicit memories, my daughter knowing to chew solids verses swallowing liquids is an example of implicate memory.

A flashbulb memory is a memory that occurs with exceptional details. It is vey vivid and often a result of a shocking encounter and surprising scenario that create a strong and accurate memory of the experience (Farmer & Matlin, 2016). Flashbulb memories are directly associated with an individual experience and all the other details are secondary (Mastin 2019). I do believe that a person’s flashbulb memory is accurate if they are describing their role in learning of the events and how they perceived what was happening at that time. Since flashbulb memories are autobiographical (Farmer and Matlin 2016) and place details second to the individual themselves, I do not think the events timelines are accurate from recalled flashbulb memories.


Metacognition is very simply is one being aware of their own thought process (Farmer and Matlin 2016). Metacognition is the process of being cognitive about cognition, given thought to your thoughts, and being knowledgeable about what you know; the root word meta, meaning on top of, gives the overall understanding to metacognition to just being on top of you. Metamemory, also known as Socratic awareness, is a form of metacognition involved in the self process of memories, memory capabilities, and the process surrounding self- monitored memories and self-analyzing (Farmer and Matlin 2016). Metacomprehension is a basic concept involved in metacognition using an individual’s self-reflection abilities on their comprehensive learning text. Studies have indicated that most individuals have a great deal of focus on achieving high levels of metacomprehension (Works 2016).

Metacomprehension as a fundamental concept of metacognition, leads me to believe that with or without research, self-drive and self-awareness in a college student would be more evident and procedure higher scores then high school and lower scores then graduate school. Research done on the concept of metacomprehension has been limited to solely focus on text (Works 2016). The metacomprehension quiz taken by my peers and I for the purposes of this project produced results that I found to be quite interesting. I am a very cognizant individual, extremely self-aware, and honest to a fault. I took the metacomprehention quiz courtesy of,, and received a 6/10 for my metacomprehension score while most of my peers scored and 8/10 or better. What I noticed at the end of taking this quiz is that once your results have posted, there is an option to retake the quiz. I did not retake the quiz as self-awareness and honesty are important to me. Having said that, based on my known study skills, grades I received, and busy life, I do not feel that some of my peers who scored the 8/10 or higher posted honest scores. I think they instead viewed their results as flagrant and chose to retake this quiz, now knowing how to improve their overall rating. My intuition on this comes from my textbook which stated studies show that college student is not usually accurate on their metacomprehension scores (Farmer and Matlin 2016).

My personal metacomprehension score, again read 6/10. To me this makes sense. Where I try to practice accurate comprehension skills, adequate study time, and careful review of the text, I also know that with my busy life and schedule I absolutely cut corners where I can. Based on the quiz feedback from, one way I can improve my metacomprehension skills would be to read text and then repeat to myself what I have read aloud, without looking at what I read, this will further enhance my comprehension of what I am reading (Farmer and Matlin 2016).


Metacognition being the self-monitoring system of one’s memory means the way memories are acquired and later recalled rely on metamemory in metacognition. Metamemory allows for self-control in recalling memories from our long-term memory. Only for the past forty years have psychologist given research attention to the metacognition functions and relations to long-term memory (Works 2016). This means, over the course of the next decade new research and develop will more closely connect of metacognitive dysfunction can alter or even erase long-term memory.


Mastin, L. (2019). Retrieved from

Matlin, M.W. and Farmer, T.A. (2016).  Cognition (9th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.!/4/2/ 2/2/6!/4/2/ 2/2/6

Science, P. (2019). Types of Memory. Retrieved from resources/memory/types-of-memory/

Works, P. B. (2016). Metacomprehension. Retrieved from