Human Memory



Thispaper seeks to provide the reader with an overview of human memory.The different types of human memory are discussed ad how the memoryworks as well as the key features. Further, in relating to the memoryissue that has been selected, the study will discuss it supporting itwith various scholarly research to support it. Further, the paperpresents a number of unresolved issues in the research area inregards to the memory problem that is selected. Additionally, aselected psychological theory that relates to the memory issue andpresent that theory will additionally be exploited. The paper windsby presenting a strong rationale in its conclusion.


Memoryis classified in different groups, there is, the short-term memoryand the long-term memory. The short-term memory stores informationfor a short period of time, approximately 7 times less when active(Kahana, 2012). On the other hand, there is the long-term memory,which stores information for a long period. Long-term memory can beclassified into semantic, procedural, or episodic. Semantic memorynormally is meant for the general knowledge and facts. The semanticmemories usually may have had some sort of personal context thoughits stands alone as just simple knowledge (Kahana, 2012). This typeof memory includes various things like the different types of food,capital cities, social customs that are in place or evencomprehension of mathematics. In most cases, this type of memory isabstract and relational in nature and they are usually linked to themeaning of the various verbal symbols. Procedural memory helps tocontain the information or rather helps in comprehending how thingsare done. The procedural memory is usually the unconscious memory ofskills, and concentrates on the use of objects or the body movementslike tying of a shoelace or even riding a bike. The proceduralmemories are usually acquired through repetition and practice and inmost cases are made of automatic senor monitor behaviors that are sointegrated that they can no longer be identified. In instances whereindividuals perform tasks explicitly and with no conscious awarenessof the previous experiences, the memories in reference are known tobe implicit in nature. On the other hand, episodic memory refers tothe area where information regarding experiences are stored (Kahana,2012). The episodic memory mainly concentrates on a mental time touror the mental voyage from the present time to a past episode beingremembered.

SelectedMemory Issue

Rightfrom the beginning, the movie presents a number of issues that arememory related. First, the memory problems of Lucy begins after a caraccident, an incident that apparently occurred a year before thecommencement of the movie. While on their way from home afterattending the annual pineapple pick, Lucy and the father veer offroad in order to avoid a cow an unfortunate occurrence that leads tohead injury. This is a condition that is described as GoldfieldSyndrome, a fictional kind of disorder that is created in the movie.

Themain memory issue that is evident in this movie is amnesia and thespecific type is the Organic Amnesia (OA). This short-term memoryloss occurs as result of the brain injury (Madan, 2011). One of theknown signs of this issue is fast forgetfulness. A person sufferingfrom this condition has new information fading from memory in a shortspan of time. In the organic amnesia condition, the brain damage ispermanent as well as the syndrome. When Lucy sleeps, she forgets theprevious day’s experiences completely (Goldstein, 2007).


Thepure organic amnesia is characterized by two types of memory disorderwhich include the anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia. Thereexists several issues that remain unresolved as far as the organictypes of amnesia are concerned in the areas of research. The firstissue is whether the AA and RA can be found in isolation or separatefrom each other. Further, there are areas of research that state thatthe available evidence within them show that hippocampus inconjunction with other cortial areas are important in the retrievalprocess of the remote episodic memories and for both recollection andfamiliarity anterograde memory processes.

PsychologicalTheory Related to Memory Issue

Onepsychological theory that is associated to the organic memory is theinterference theory. According to this theory, forgetting occurs whenthere is interference that occurs between information that is testedand the other information that is learned (Anderson, 2003).Interference occurs in situation where the same stimulus isassociated or connected with more than one response (Anderson, 2003).Interference also occurs when similar stimuli are connected todifferent responses. This theory states that two mechanisms are incharge for interference and this include response competition andunlearning. Response competition occurs through numerous competingresponses are elicited by a stimulus, however, on unlearning, the newassociations normally result in extinction of the responses that weregot previously (Anderson, 2003).


Thispaper has provided an overview of the human memory and the three maintypes of human memory including semantic, procedural, and episodic.The manner in which each of these three memories work is explained.The paper has identified the main memory issue as the organicamnesia. The issues that have remained unresolved in this area ofstudy has additionally been explored. The interference theory hasbeen identified as the psychological theory that relates to organicmemory issue. This is quite an interesting read for any person whohas watched the movie “50 First Dates.”


Anderson,M. C. (2003). Rethinking interference theory: Executive control andthe mechanisms of forgetting.&nbspJournalof Memory and Language,&nbsp49(4),415-445.

Goldstein,E. B. (2007). Cognitivepsychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience.Australia: Thomson Wadsworth.

Kahana,M. J. (2012). Foundationsof human memory.New York: Oxford University Press.

Madan,C. R. (2011). Organic Amnesia: A Diversity in Deficits.&nbspEureka,&nbsp2(1),37-42.

Human memory



Thehuman memory is defined as the mental faculty that enables humans toretain and recall previously experienced, impressions, ideas,sensations and information. The memory provides the brain with anability to retain and also use the knowledge that is gained fromexperience that is essential to the process of learning.Additionally, the memory is identified as the mental informationprocessing system that receives informational signals, modifiesstores and then retrieves informational stimuli. The human memoryworks in three important stages which include encoding, storage andretrieval. This study will discuss the overview of the human memoryit will highlight the amnesia brain issues that affect the humanbrain. The paper will also investigate information that regards theunresolved issues in the amnesia brain problem. Lastly, the studywill investigate the psychological theory of amnesia hence providinga better understanding of the topic.

Overviewof human memory

Thehuman memory is an important part of the human brain there arevarious sections and different types of the memory that are found inhumans. According to numerous research conducted it was establishedthat there are three parts of memory in a human being. The sensorymemory part is responsible for holding sensory information for lessthan one second after an item has been identified. This part helps inproviding the ability where a person can look at an item and identifyhow the item looks like in a split of a second. This is explainedwhere people can see a wide range of items but can only be able toreport a small section of the things they see (Crais, 2014)

Secondlythe short-term memory that is also commonly referred to as theworking memory allows people to remember things in a small periodwithout rehearsal where the capacity of things remembered remainssmall.Based on modern estimates, the capacity of the short termmemory is lower with an approximate with an order of 4-5 items thoughthe capacity can be increased through the chunking process. The shorthuman memory depends on the acoustic code for storing information andto a lesser extent it depends on the visual code (Crais, 2014). Thelong-term memory can retain information in large quantities and inunlimited duration. The capacity of long-term memory is immeasurablylarge. The long-term memory encodes information in a semantic mannerthat is maintained by more stable and permanent changes in neuralconnections that are spread all through the brain (Parker, 2007).

Thedifferent type of memory depends on the classification type used inclassifying the memory. According to the information typeclassification, the topographic memory involves the ability to orientoneself in space that helps in recognising familiar places. On theother hand, the flashbulb memories are unique and clear episodicmemories due o a unique and highly emotional events. For example manypeople remembers where and what they were doing when they firstreceived the news or the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA. Theprocedural memory is mainly based on the implicit learning such asmotor skills mainly due to repetition through accessing previousexperiences. Connectively, the declarative memory mainly requiresconscious recall that helps in recalling world facts and eventswithin one`s personal life.


Amnesiasyndrome is a memory deficit that is caused by psychological traumaor brain damage. The condition can also be caused by the use ofhypnotic drugs and sedatives. There are two types of amnesia thatinclude the anterograde and retrograde amnesia. The Retrogradeamnesia is the inability to retrieve information that was acquiredbefore a particular date of accident or operation. On the other hand,the antrograde amnesia is the ability to transfer new informationfrom the short-term to long-term memory. People with this conditionhave difficulty in remembering things for a long period. Studies onamnesia show that the conditions are not mutually exclusive sinceboth types can occur within a patient at one time (Parker, 2007).

Amnesiais mainly caused by head trauma where a person may suffer an injuryor an active action towards the brain or an electroshock therapy.Secondly, traumatic events may also cause amnesia where the mind maychoose to forget instead of dealing with the stress. The common formof amnesia that is the dissociative amnesia that occurs when a personforgets an event that deeply disturbed them. Lastly, physicaldeficiencies are associated with amnesia, especially where a personis operated, and some parts of the brain are removed. Other causesinclude alcohol intake, and electroconvulsive therapy, stroke, celiacdisease and subarachnoid haemorrhage among others. It is possible todiagnose amnesia as well as treat it (Cohen, &amp Eichenbaum, 1993).

Complicationsand issues on amnesia

Issuesand complications on amnesia mainly depend on the severity and thescope of the disease. Nevertheless, some people with mild anddifficulties in dealing with the daily life can take their toll.Additionally, patients can also experience social school andemployment problems. In some cases, some people never recover fromthe disease that makes them be under the supervision and extendedcare facility (Alberini, 2013).

Psychologicaltheory related to amnesia

Basedon a cognitive theory that deals with neuroimagingmethods, people can suffer from specific visuospatialinformation to psychogenic amnesia. Such cases may lead to confusionand loss of memory for personal identity. The presentation ofcognitive theory may lead to theoretical advances


Fromthe paper, the human memory is important where messages are receivedstored and retrieved for future use. The different types of memorywork hand in hand to ensure that people have the requiredinformation. It is significant to identify the causes of amnesia toenable people to have the ability to avoid it. Secondly, diagnosisand other preventive ways are noted with the relations to cognitivetheory.


Alberini,C. M. (2013). Memoryreconsolidation.London: Academic Press.

Crais,C. C. (2014). Historylessons: A memoir of madness, memory, and the brain.

Cohen,N. J., &amp Eichenbaum, H. (1993). Memory,amnesia, and the hippocampal system.Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Parker,S. (2007). Thehuman body book.New York: DK Pub.

Human Memory




Humanmemory is viewed as important because it plays a critical role in anindividual’s decision-making process. According to Kahana (2012),when a person loses his or her memory, it becomes exceedinglydifficult to make critical decisions. For example, a person may beincapable of remembering certain things due to memory loss. Theissue of memory loss has been depicted in several movies and varioustypes of literature over the years. This paper will present theissue of human memory as it is depicted in the movie “50 FirstDate. “ In the paper, a description of the ploy in the movie isprovided as well as a summary of the main characters. In addition,the memory issues presented in the movie will also be discussed asthey relate to memory issues from other sources.

Plotof the Movie

Themovie, 50 First Dates, revolves around the life of a couple LucyWhitmore (Drew Barrymore) and Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) (Halberstam,2011). In the movie, Henry meets Lucy at a local restaurant. When Henrysees Lucy he immediately is attracted to her and wants to get to knowher better. Eventually Henry discovers that Lucy was in anautomobile accident the year before while driving to the pineappleplantation to get a pineapple for her father’s birthday cake(Goldstein, 2007). The accident caused damage to the pre-frontalcortex of Lucy’s brain, which made it impossible for Lucy totransfer information from her short-term memory to her long-termmemory

Lucy’sfamily, her brother and father, is very over protective of Lucy andwant to protect her from getting hurt. In the movie, Henry isdepicted as a playboy, but he leaves this lifestyle after falling inlove with Lucy and must convince Lucy’s family that he has changed. Henry struggles to make Lucy fall in love with him because Lucycannot remember meeting Henry. However, Henry is determined toromance Lucy in the hopes that one she will remember him. EventuallyHenry earns the trust of Lucy’s family who help him to win herheart.

Theend of the movie shows Lucy and Henry several years later. Lucywakes up to find a video, which is labeled, watch me. Lucy watchesthe video and it shows a summary of everything that has happened inher life since her accident. Lucy realizes that she is married toHenry and has a little girl with him. At the end of the video is aninvitation for her to come upstairs and enjoy breakfast with herhusband.



Henryis one of the primary characters in the movie. In the movie, Henryis a veterinarian who is living the playboy lifestyle in Hawaii. Henry is depicted as an average American who is a fast talker with acool way of tackling issues. Overall Henry’s character ispresented as being likable and it is hard to pinpoint if something iswrong with him (Goldstein, 2007).


Lucyis another main character in the movie. Lucy was in a car accidentthat rendered her unable to transfer information from her short-termmemory to her long-term memory. Apart from memory loss, Lucy is anattractive young lady with a love of life. This could be why Henryfell in love with her (Goldstein, 2007).

MemoryIssues Presented in the Movie

Memoryloss, according to Kahana (2012), can be categorized into semantic,procedural, or episodic. Semantic memory is the memory for generalknowledge and facts, and procedural memory contains the informationor knowing how to do things (Kahana, 2012). On the other hand,episodic memory is where information about experiences is stored(Hasselmo, 2012). According to Hasselmo (2012), episodic memoryfocuses on a mental time tour or as a mental voyage from the presenttime to a past episode being remembered.

Inthe movie 50 First Dates, Lucy suffers from a memory problem whereshe is unable to transfer information from her short-term memory toher long-term memory making it impossible for her to recall recentfacts, procedures, or experiences. She suffers from semantic memoryloss because she is not able to remember simple facts as she wasmarried to Henry and had a daughter together. At the same time, Lucyshows procedural memory loss in that, she is not able to rememberthat she always draws the same painting each day, reads the samenewspaper and have breakfast on the same table on a daily basis. Lucy also depicts episodic memory that is responsible for theacquisition as well as the retention of knowledge pertaining topersonally experienced events (Papanicolaou,2005).Moreover, it is also in charge of their temporal relations insubjective time and their ability to travel back mentally in time.

Themovie has some parts that were realistic. However, the movie has somepitfalls when it comes to psychology and neuropsychology. DespiteLucy’s memory loss condition, very little information about thesymptoms and the diagnosis of her problem is given. Nonetheless, themovie addresses a neuropsychology concept that shows the importanceof sleep in consolidating memory.


Inthe movie 50 First Dates, the issue of human memory was presented. All three types of memory loss conditions take the center stage,episodic memory, semantic and procedural. Although some issues ofhuman memory were clearly constructed, some issues of memory were notaccurately presented. The movie has realistically portrayed howautomobile accidents can result in brain damage, thus affectingmemory. Nevertheless, the movie was unrealistic in showing that itwas easy to trick an amnesia patient to avoid her real condition.


Goldstein,E. B. (2007). Cognitivepsychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience.Australia: Thomson Wadsworth.

Halberstam,J. (2011).&nbspTheQueer Art of Failure.Durham: Duke University Press.

Hasselmo,M. E. (2012). Howwe remember: Brain mechanisms of episodic memory.Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kahana,M. J. (2012). Foundationsof human memory.New York: Oxford University Press.

Papanicolaou,A. C. (2005).&nbspTheAmnesias: A Clinical Textbook of Memory Disorders.Oxford, Mississippi: Oxford University Press, USA.

Human Memory



Kahana(2012) argues that human memory is seen as being important because ithelps an individual in making critical decisions. According to Kahana(2012), when a person loses memory, it becomes exceedingly difficultfor him/her to make critical decisions for example, a person may beincapacitated to remember some things due to memory loss. The issueof memory has been depicted through movies and different literaturefor instance, in 50 First Dates (2004), The Notebook (2004), TotalRecall (1990), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), andMomento (2000) memory issues have been depicted as common themes inthese movies. This paper will discuss the issue of human memory asdepicted in the movie, 50 First Dates (2004). The paper will describethe plot of the movie as well as its chief characters memory issuefound in the movie will also be related to memory issue from othersources.

Plotof the Movie

Themovie, 50First Dates,revolves around the life of a couple Lucy Whitemore (Drew Barrymore)and Henry Roth (Adam Sandler). Henry struggles to get Lucy to fall inlove with him as Lucy suffers a memory condition, where she is notcapable of retaining short term memory. Henry is depicted to lead aplayboy life, but leaves this life after falling for Lucy. Lucycannot remember meeting Henry, but Henry is determined to romanceher, with the hope that she will remember him one day. Henry learnsthat Lucy encountered an accident the previous year on her father’sbirthday when they were driving with her grandfather (Goldstein,2007). During the accident, she suffered a blow to her head thatrendered her incapable of converting her short memories into longones. A few years down the line, Lucy wakes up to find a video thathelps her relive what she missed including her wedding. In the videoshe gets an invitation to join her husband for breakfast.

Thechief characters in this movie are Henry Roth, Lucy Whitmore, andUla. In the movie, Henry is depicted as an average American hopeful,having glossy talk and cool ways of tackling issues. This characteris depicted as being likable and it is hard to pinpoint somethingwrong with him (Goldstein, 2007). The movie plot uses him to helpbring in memory issues in the movie because Lucy has lost memoryissues concerning him. Lucy is another chief character in the movieand suffers the problem of memory loss. Apart from being depicted tosuffer from a memory loss, she is also depicted as attractive thiscan be construed from Henry falling for her. Besides, Lucy isportrayed to have a temper problem this can be learnt from heraction of hammering Ula with a baseball bat (Goldstein, 2007). Ula isdepicted as a Hawaiian guy that is immature. Apart from his immatureacts, Ula is also portrayed to do things that are not acceptable inthe society for example, he says in front of his children that hedoes not smoke weed, which is not acceptable in society (Goldstein,2007). He helps to bring out memory issue in the movie through hisinteraction with Lucy.

MemoryIssue in the Movie

Accordingto Hasselmo (2012), memory loss can be categorized into episodic,semantic, or procedural. Semantic memory describes memory for generalknowledge and facts concerning the world (Hasselmo, 2012).Alternatively, procedural memory entails the memory of knowing how todo things. On the other hand, episodic memory entails memory, whereone has problems in remembering something that one did at a giventime (Hasselmo, 2012). According to Hasselmo (2012), episodic memoryfocuses on mental time tour as a mental voyage from the present timeto a past episode being remembered. This aligns with the moviebecause Lucy is not in a position to remember her past in the presenttime.

Inthe movie, 50First Dates (2004),Lucy suffers memory problem where she is unable to relate her pastwith the present that is, she is not in a position to remember herrelationship with Henry. Therefore, the kind of memory depicted inthe movie is episodic memory. This is because it is the episodicmemory that is responsible for the acquisition as well as theretention of knowledge pertaining to personally experienced events(Papanicolaou,2005).Moreover, the episodic memory is also in charge of their temporalrelations in subjective time and also their ability to travel backmentally in time. In the movie, it is clear that Drew suffers a blowto the head and loses her memory relating to her past.

Themovie has some parts that are realistic, but some parts areinaccurate. The issue of accident is likely to cause brain damage,which is the case in this movie. This shows some realisticoccurrences of the movie since the movie depicts Lucy to suffer braindamage from an accident that she experienced, leading to memory loss(Goldstein, 2007). Besides, another reality emanates from theportrayal of Lucy living in a hospital setting due to her condition.The movie is inaccurate, where it shows Lucy’s brother and fathertricking Lucy in order to make her avoid her real condition. Themovie would be more realistic if the actual medical term of thecondition was used. In addition, as one approaches the end of themovie, Lucy wakes up one morning to find she has a daughter. Theblank period between those events seems to be exaggerated while theactual end events are convincing, the time frames tend to create afeeling of unrealism.


Inthe movie, 50First Dates,the issue of human memory has been presented. In the movie, episodicmemory has been vividly depicted. Although some issues of humanmemory have been clearly constructed, there are some issues of memorythat have not been accurately presented. The movie has realisticallyportrayed how accidents can result in brain damage, thus affectingthe memory. Nevertheless, is unrealistic in showing that it is easyto trick an amnesia patient to avoid her real condition.


Goldstein,E. B. (2007). Cognitivepsychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience.Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Hasselmo,M. E. (2012). Howwe remember: Brain mechanisms of episodic memory.Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Kahana,M. J. (2012). Foundationsof human memory.New York: Oxford University Press.

Papanicolaou,A. C. (2005). TheAmnesias: A Clinical Textbook of Memory Disorders.Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA.