The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge, and/or the process of doing so. Memory is often divided into short-term (also known as working or recent memory) and long-term memory. Short-term memory recovers memories of recent events, while long-term memory is concerned with the more distant past. Some medical disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, damage the cognitive systems that control memory. Usually long-term memory is retained while short-term memory is lost; conversely, memories may become jumbled, leading to mistakes in recognizing people or places that should be familiar. See also memory, anterograde; memory, short-term; memory, long-term.
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1. General term for the recollection of that which was once experienced or learned. 2. The mental information processing system that receives (registers), modifies, stores, and retrieves informational stimuli; composed of three stages: encoding, storage, and retrieval. [L. memoria]
- affect m. the emotional element recurring whenever a significant experience is recalled.
- anterograde m. m. for that which occurred after an event such as a brain injury.
- long-term m. (LTM) that phase of the m. process considered the permanent storehouse of information which has been registered, encoded, passed into the short-term m., coded, rehearsed, and finally transferred and stored for future retrieval; material and information retained in LTM underlies cognitive abilities.
- remote m. m. for events of long ago as opposed to recent events.
- retrograde m. m. for that which occurred before an event such as a brain injury.
- screen m. in psychoanalysis, a consciously tolerable m. that unwittingly serves as a cover for another associated m. which would be emotionally painful if recalled.
- selective m. reception or retrieval of only some of the events in an experience.
- senile m. m. that is good for remote events, often in contrast to current events; characteristically seen in aged or demented persons.
- short-term m. (STM) that phase of the m. process in which stimuli that have been recognized and registered are stored briefly; decay occurs rapidly, sometimes within seconds, but may be held indefinitely by using rehearsal as a holding process by which to recycle material over and over through STM. SYN: temporary m..
- subconscious m. information not immediately available for recall.
- temporary m. SYN: short-term m..

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mem·o·ry 'mem-(ə-)rē n, pl -ries
1 a) the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained esp. through associative mechanisms
b) the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience as indicated by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition
2) a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition used esp. of a material (as metal or plastic)

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mem·o·ry (memґə-re) [L. memoria] the mental faculty by which sensations, impressions, and ideas are recalled.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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