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Alzheimer's Disease & Memory: Long Term vs. Short Term - DementiaGuide.com
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Memory is the brain's unique ability to store and retrieve information. Generally, memory is thought of in two different forms, short term store and long term store. The brain structures that play an important role with memory are the hippocampus , the frontal lobes and the diencephalon .

Long term store is the memory of past events and experiences. It is broken down into three components, procedural, semantic and episodic memory . Procedural memory is a person's ability to remember how to do certain skills such as riding a bicycle or playing a piano. A person is usually unable to describe procedural memory in words. On the other hand, semantic and episodic memories both may be expressed verbally. This is why they are often together known as declarative memory. However, the type of knowledge they refer to is different. Semantic memory is memory about the world around us. It includes things such as the knowledge that the sky is blue or the name of your mother. Episodic memory is memory for personal events such as a birthday or your wedding.

Short term store is memory related to events that are presently occurring. For example, think about when you read a sentence. In order to understand what you have read, you will need to remember the first part of the sentence until you have finished.

Your brain is constantly using its short term store to remember experiences and information. Often the information will move from your short term store to your long term store. Then when the information is needed again, it can be retrieved from your long term store. For example, when you meet someone for the first time, memories of their name and what they look like are moved from your short term store to your long term store. This way when you meet them again, the information about them can be pulled from the long term store back to your short term store.

Parkin, Alan. Memory: A Guide for Professionals (Great Britain: John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999), 3-13


See Also:
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Memory of Past Events
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Memory of Recent Events
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Last updated January 15, 2019
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