Our long-term memory can store an unlimited amount of information over a period ranging from a few hours to a lifetime. It includes the memory of recent events, which are still being processed, as well as consolidated memories. Without this memory, we would not have access to the events that have marked our lives or to all that we have learned, be it on an intellectual, emotional or motor level. This memory is based on three main chronological processes. Here they are!
The 3 main chronological processes of long-term memory:
- Encoding: This is the processing of information from our senses so that it can be stored in memory.
- Storage (consolidation): This is the maintenance of the information learned after it has been sufficiently repeated by the brain.
- Recall (retrieval): This is a process that allows information to be retrieved from memory at the appropriate time. This recall can be conscious or not, spontaneous (free) or facilitated (or “indexed,” facilitated by clues).
The long-term memory can also be described as explicit (declarative), when it refers to memories that can be named, or implicit (non-declarative), when these memories are not verbalized and are recalled automatically — knowing how to ride a bike, for example. Finally, long-term memory is subdivided into several subtypes of memory: procedural (or motor) memory, episodic memory, semantic memory and autobiographical memory.