3. Brain memory types

Below, we present various classifications or types of memory according to the different criteria.

The presentation does not have an exhaustive nor exclusive character. Some brain memory types do not appear and those mentioned may appear in various categories in order to keep the exposition as simple as possible.

We all know that brain memory has several degrees of temporal retention of data. Over time, the information our memory provides us disappear. Other information is harder to find in our memory, and it is not as exact as it was previously. Other information not only is inexact but instead, we can tell we are reconstructing the data from little information.


3.a) Conscious cognitive processes

3.a.1. Instantaneous memory

It contains all information that is accessible in real time, immediately. Although it may seem otherwise, this brain memory is extensive; all the information that we constantly use in our daily life is here. We will look at some of its main components:

  • Normal information such as where things are located, pending tasks, routines.

  • The preconceptions, those make up a part of our character or personality.

  • Automatic response programs loaded in a short period when we wake up. Linguistic memory and other special brain memories also form a part of this instantaneous memory when they are active.

  • Special automatic response programs like driving or those that correspond to dangerous situations that we load when considered useful.

  • The working memory associated with the operation of logic or intelligence. This memory is limited, and its optimum operation implies the use of three or four variables simultaneously. When thinking and performing logical operations with more than five variables, it takes a long time to advance.

  • The auxiliary working memory corresponds to all the variables that are available to be located in the operative working memory cited in the previous paragraph. All the information about the subject we are working with pertains to this category.

This configuration's automatism allows for the simultaneous performance of various tasks; the human consciousness is similar to the computer's interface and the unconsciousness with programs residing in the instantaneous memory. Therefore, the more automatic the cerebral processes or the computer programs are, the freer the human consciousness, or the simpler and more intuitive the program's interface will be.

Driving program
Motorway link

However, this simplicity has a disadvantage that is good to keep in mind; computer's automatism sometimes does not let us know what it has done or why. It is always necessary to have general knowledge of how computers work, and the only way to have this is with practice and time.

A related issue is the communication of the unconscious with the conscious through dreams. He usually uses images about preconceptions that the conscious understands; but also uses images about recent events that are still in short-term memory and, in this way, the conscious also understands them.

3.a.2. Specialized memory

In this category, we can include the types of special brain memory for automatic loading in instantaneous memory that also form part of long-term memory; although they are not as compressed as this memory, and have their multidimensional systems of reference.

The following are examples of special memories: linguistic memory, specific visual memory, the archive of the preconceptions, and pre-established quick response programs such as emotions.