WHAT IS THE MEMORY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Human memory is a mental process and one of the most important functions of our brain. It is caused by the synaptic connection between neurons and defined as the ability to remember. Human memory has three basic functions:
- Codification: it is the process by which information is prepared before being stored. The information can be codified in different ways: visual, acoustic, or semantic sensory information, through images, sounds, or experiences.
- Storage: it is called the continuous stage to the codification. When the information has already been encoded, it can be stored in short-term or long-term memory.
- Recovery: it is the final process of memory, which allows us to find the desired information at the time we need it. Through the memory, we can find information of events that were kept in our memory in the past.
Within the complexity of memory, we can find three types, with their respective divisions.
- Sensorial memory: it has the ability to record for a brief lapse the information we perceive through our senses.
Within the sensory memory, we can identify two types:
- The echoic memory, also called auditory sensory, which is responsible for storing the first segments of the auditory stimulus. This type of memory is required to continue with a conversation and therefore to speak.
- The iconic memory, also called visual sensorial, which is responsible for preserving after the images perceived by ocular fixation for a short period.
This memory is responsible for capturing the movement of the images, which remain in our memory for a while before they vanish.
- Short-term memory: also called operating memory, retains information generated by the environment that surrounds us, but with a limited capacity. The information obtained disappears within approximately 45 seconds, unless it is stored in our memory with the help of the recovery function.
One of the most common consequences of short-term memory is the loss of memories (oblivion).
- Long-term memory: this type of memory can permanently store information, due to an unlimited capacity for storing information.
Within the long-term memory, we can find several divisions:
- Declarative memory: is responsible for storing information about events (e.g. names, dates, etc.)
- Procedural memory: is responsible for storing the knowledge of motor skills and procedures performed in the environment. It shows us memories we have stored through practice; For instance: how to comb, how to write, etc.
- Episodic memory: this type of memory stores (in certain occasions in detail) our experiences. It allows us to remember experiences and episodes that occurred in a certain place.
- Semantic memory: this type of memory stores the necessary knowledge for the use of language, facts related to the world and general knowledge that is not usually based on own experiences.
- Implicit memory: it is unconsciously storing information process about habits, skills that allows us to learn to do certain things without being aware of it. For instance: riding a bicycle.
- Explicit memory: It is the conscious, intentional recollection of factual information, previous experiences and concepts. The explicit memory stores information about facts, learning and experiences of our own, of which we are fully aware.
ALTERATIONS IN THIS DIMENSION IN PATIENTS WITH ALZHEIMER’S DEMENTIA
- Shelf life: The stored data may be diluted over time. In addition, this has a meaning in the sensory memory, and in the short and medium term, because it is the way that they do not get saturated.
- Access problems: Sometimes we cannot access the contents of our memory, especially if the stress causes us to produce hormones (glucocorticoids) that block the access function.
- Elimination: Appears in the case of painful, frustrating and annoying information; and when there have been extreme or traumatic situations. Fortunately, these are not things that happen frequently.
- By default:
- Pass of the time: Due to the fact that as time passes the memory capacity reduces.
- Distraction: Absent-mindedness that depending on the affected person is due to lapse concentration.
- Blocking: ‘It is on the tip of my tongue’.
- By commission:
- Misassignment: Assign a memory to an erroneous source. For example, give us ideas that are not really ours.
- Suggestability: Memories are influenced by external agents. For example, we do not remember well what happened on any given day. However, as a friend tells you, you remember it as such, even if there are false information.
- Bias: The memory is influenced by our current state of mind (feelings).
- Persistence: Permanence of memories that we would like to forget.
Among the most frequent anomalies, we find:
- “Your face seems familiar”: What happens to us when we find a person we know (or believe we know) but it is impossible to identify (or determine with whom it looks like).
- Forget the name: It occurs when we fully identify the face as someone’s name, but we cannot remember the name.
- Sensation of knowing: This is the case in which we firmly believe to know something or do something, but at the time of using, that knowledge is failed. This happens to us more frequently in semantic matter.
- Phenomenon of “It is on the tip of the tongue”: It is closely related to the previous one and is specifically the inability to find the right word for what is meant, finding perhaps many associated or related meaning but not fit exactly what you wanted to say.
- Temporal Lagoon: When you forget some fragments of something or what happened in a specific period, usually when nothing relevant happens in that time and performing functions or tasks were on learned. For example, when we forget part of the habitual route to our house: we do not remember when we passed by certain point (by which we had to have passed).
- 6. Falsification of memory or false memories: The psychic apparatus creates memories to fill gaps in memory. This type of disorder tends to be highly problematic for the subject and deserves special care from psychology.
- “Deja vu”: It is an anomaly of recognition that implies that we experience this situation of “this I have already seen” or “this I have already lived,” even knowing that it is the first time we see it or live it.
- “Jamais vu”: This is the opposite of the previous one. Here, although the individual knows that he has experienced a certain situation and remembers it, he does not experience any sense of familiarity.
SERIOUS GAMES APPROPRIATE FOR THIS DIMENSION:
It is possible to use serious games to improve memory or slow down its deterioration.
Various scientific investigations reflect that certain activities like crosswords and puzzles increase the mental agility, and therefore they help to improve the semantic memory. Question-and-answer games, and those that require attention and concentration, contribute to the activation of semantic memory.
In general, any type of exercise or play activity can help to improve brain function, but only if the person is motivated to do so.
Some interesting techniques for working memory (to both exercise and improve recent memory and to encourage the maintenance of distant memories) are:
- Repeating numbers or words to exercise immediate memory.
- Memory sets with different picture slides.
- Sets of words or phrases.
- Exercises to remember events and news.
- Remembering everyday things like food or what was done the day before.
- Leaning on visual and verbal material, such as a song or phrase, to evoke remote memories. This is done by biographical memory exercises and actions related to the patient’s personal data, such as family names, telephone number or place where they live.
In the training materials of AD-GAMING we have selected some games that allow memory to work: