Memory means the ability of the nervous system to store, organise and retrieve recorded information. It is often referred to the information to be stored for example memory for persons or numbers. Depending on the duration of storage, one has to distinguish between Ultra short-term memory, KShort term memory and Long-term memory.
People used to imagine the memory like a drawer in the brain. Everything you learned or experienced is stored there and can be recalled if necessary. But the memory does not exist in this form. It consists of many different systems.
The short-term memory is the gateway to all of our memories. Information is stored in it for a few seconds to a few minutes. Everything that we remember for a longer period, has to overcome a crucial switching point in the brain: the hippocampus. Here the information is filtered, evaluated and compared with previously stored memories. If the new information is important enough, it is transferred to the Long-term memory in the cerebral cortex.
Long-term memory stores different types of memories within different systems. Learned processes are stored in the so-called procedural memory. This part of the long-term memory mainly stores movements such as walking, running or bicycling. We will never forget these processes again. Procedural memory works unconsciously, meaning automatically. These processes are stored in particular in the cerebellum .
Another part of the memory is called perceptual memory. All the pieces of information we have once recognised as rules or patterns are stored here. For example a cat is different from a dog or the landscape in summer is not the same as the landscape in winter. Such elemental patterns are stored in the regions of the cerebral cortex. Another part of the memory stores so-called facts, knowledge. It is called memory of knowledge. Facts like Beijing is the capital of China or Albert Einstein is the founder of the theory of relativity are store here. This knowledge which had been consciously achieved is mainly processed in the left hemisphere, where the main language centers are also located.
And there is also the so-called autobiographical memory. It stores our personal experiences and memories. For example memories of the first day of school, the first kiss or even less pleasant events such as accidents. This part of the memory mainly stores situations having an emotional value for us. This system is particularly complex. Several brain areas are working synchronously. Our memory consists of different systems. We do not have one single memory but several memories.