Filling in the missing pieces

Memory is a process in psychology that involves the steps of encoding, storing, and retrieving.  It is impossible for our brains to store every single piece of information that enters it.  This leads to people forgetting different memories, or pieces of information.  There are different types of interferences that can contribute to the forgetting of information.  Forgetting is when we filter, alter, or loose information at any stage of the memory process.  However, people will revise their memories without being aware of doing so.  Memory construction is when a person will fill in any missing pieces of information to make our recall more clear.

I have used memory construction when my parents told me a story about when we went to Vermont. I was four and was learning how to ski for the first time.  My whole family was there too.  I have no detail or recollection of what I actually was doing or what it was like.  I completely have forgotten that memory.  Instead, after my parents explained to me the story, I then started to fill in the missing pieces of information to make the memory more coherent.  I pictured myself in my pink, puffy jacket that I always had on in pictures when it was winter time.  I could vision myself following ski instructors on the snow and could see my cousins, aunts, and uncles standing there cheering me on.  I visioned my brother, who would be five at the time, next to me on his little skis and wearing a blue helmet.  I created this memory by filling in what was missing.

Human memory is a very complex, brain-wide process that makes up who we are.

1 thought on “Filling in the missing pieces

  1. Sharon Okune

    Memory is very tricky, sometimes we go over information repeatedly in order to remember it but it is surprising how quickly we can forget the information. Like you mentioned, it is not possible for us to remember every information we review, if we did, that would be awesome!!! I remember trying out for a minor part in a play in eight grade; to audition, we had to sing “The sun will come out tomorrow”. I practiced all week, singing the song every time and everywhere I was (It was really annoying to my family) and then the day of the auditions came, I was really excited as well as nervous. When it was time for me to go up on stage and sing the song, I started singing and was fine until I got to about half way through the song and I could not remember the rest of the lyrics. I tried singing the song from the beginning but I still could not remember the second half of the song. I was so confused as to why I had forgotten when I practiced all week!!! Now I understand that while I was trying to memorize the lyrics to the song, I must have not encoded it properly, causing me to be unable to retrieve the second half of the song.

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