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How does memory work in the brain?

Human memory is one of the most puzzling mysteries of science. Neuroscientists and psychologists have suggested many theories for its mechanism, but substantiating these theories with concrete evidence is difficult. How do our brains enable us to remember?


The first step in creating memories is encoding them into the brain.


Processing information in different ways alters the way they are stored in the brain. Explore

Visual encoding

Visualizing or seeing information can aid in encoding and recall. Explore

Acoustic encoding

Auditory stimuli are a common method of encoding memories. Explore

Semantic encoding

Deeper understanding is the most effective way to remember information. Explore


We store memories in multiple storage levels.

Sensory memory

Sensory memory is a very brief storing of sensory information. Explore

Working memory

When information is received by the brain, they are stored in our working memory for a moderate time period before becoming ingrained long-term. Explore

Long term memory

Long term memory is the ultimate destination in the brain for information that needs to be recalled and accessed for extended periods of time. Explore


Perhaps the most relevant aspect of memory to our daily lives is remembering information.


Our brain accesses the information we have stored through retrieval. Explore


Unfortunately, memories don't stay forever, and when our brain can no longer store them we forget information. Explore

Improving memory

Recalling and utilizing information is crucial to our lives, and many strategies can help improve memory storage and recall. Explore

Emotions and memory

Emotions can play a powerful role in memory formation and retrieval.

Flashbulb memories

Flashbulb memories are an example of an emotional experience effecting memory systems. Explore

Sensory memory

Our senses, especially smell, can greatly influence our memories.

Smell and memory

Our sense of smell is intimately linked with the memory mechanisms in our brain. Explore


Processing memories

This page was last edited on Tuesday, 11 Aug 2020 at 14:36 UTC