Memory is a cognitive ability that encompasses a set of brain structures and processes. They are what allow children and adults to process information, store it in our minds and create memories.
Thanks to memory, children have an identity, they learn and know who they are and who the people around them are.
Thus, broadly speaking, memory serves to:
- Set, save and retrieve multiple information.
- Recognize different types of events such as family, past events, names…
- Maintain information in the time necessary to be used.
But, what types of memory exist and how to enhance memory in the little ones? We talked about all of it.
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We find different types of memory, each with a different function.
Morgado classifies these types of memory in an article published in 2005 in the Journal of Neurology , entitled “Psychobiology of learning and memory: foundations and recent advances”. Check out more interesting article on out parenting site.
Let’s get to know these types of memory and how they work in children:
1) Sensory memory
Sensory memory is one that comes to us through the senses . It is a very brief memory, which lasts between 200 and 300 milliseconds, and which disappears immediately or is transmitted to short-term memory, another type of memory.
The information that we store through it remains for the time necessary for it to be treated selectively and identified in order to be able to process it later.
Its function has to do with “the here and now “ , with everything that happens in the present moment and to what you have to react in real time. The information that children store through it can be visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, etc.
2) Short-term memory
The next type of memory is short-term memory, which operates when certain information has been selected and attended to in sensory memory.
This information goes into short-term memory. Its capacity is limited (we can store between five and nine elements or stimuli through it).
It has two functions:
- Hold the information in mind when the information is not present.
- Manipulate that information allowing to intervene in other superior cognitive processes (it is what is known as working memory ).
3) Long-term memory
Long-term memory is what allows children to store information in a lasting way. This can be of two types:
- 3.1) Implicit long-term memory
Implicit memory is stored unconsciously. It is involved in learning various skills and is activated automatically . An example of an action that children perform through it is learning to ride a bicycle .
- 3.2) Explicit long-term memory
Explicit memory is associated with consciousness or, at least, with conscious perception.
It allows children to know places, things, people and everything that this means. In turn, this is divided into:
- Semantic memory : the information that children accumulate throughout their lives , in relation to historical events, the names of people or capitals, etc. It is necessary to use the language .
- Episodic memory : it is the memory that allows children to have memories of their lives (it is autobiographical memory, for example, remembering what their first day of school was like) .
4) Retrograde memory
Beyond the types of memory that Morgado raises, we also find retrograde and anterograde memory.
In the case of retrograde, we are talking about the one that allows us to evoke past memories (especially distant memories ).
5) Anterograde memory
In contrast, anterograde memory is what allows children to learn and create new memories (that is, it goes “back to front”).
How to enhance the different types of memory in children
We give you some ideas to promote the different types of memory in childhood:
listen and tell stories
The activity of reading and telling stories, a good habit before going to sleep, is a good way to help children develop their memory.
We can try reading a story to them and then asking them to explain the most relevant facts of it . They can even do a written summary.
Taking advantage of this activity, they can also try to invent different endings for the same story, which encourages their imagination .
Cards to promote memory
Cognitive stimulation cards are also a good resource to stimulate memory in children.
We leave you a couple of examples of cards that can be useful, to work memory but also attention.