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Memory is an active process involving the processing, storage and retrieval of information. Memory can be divided into:



Short term memory (working or immediate memory)

  1. Memory is kept in the mind for a very short time (less than a minute) before either dismissing it or transferring it to long term memory. As short term memory is of very short time (<1 minute), in order to store it for longer than a minute or so, it has to be transferred to long term memory.
  2. Therefore, patient with impaired short term memory are unable to learn new material because they are unable to transfer it to long term memory Antegrade amnesia (Inability to learn new material).

Long term memory

  • Long term memory is anything we remember that happened more than a few minutes ago.  Impairment of long term memory will cause amnesia for the already stored memory of the past Retrograde amnesia (inability to recall information stored before the onset of illness or injury).
  • There are many different forms of long-term memory: -
  1. Explicit memory (declarative or conscious memory)  
    Explicit memory requires conscious thought, such as recalling who came to dinner last night or naming animals that live in the rainforest. Explicit memory is what people have in mind when they think of memory.
  • Explicit memory may be : -
  1. Episodic memory: - Episodic memory provides us with a crucial record of our personal experiences (autobiographical memory). Impairment of episodic memory results in amnestic syndrome.
  2. Semantic memory: - It accounts for our "text book learning" or general knowledge about the world. It is what enables us to say, without knowing exactly where and when we learned, that a zebra is a striped animal.
  1. Implicit (non declarative or unconscious) memory
    It does not require conscious thought. It concerns the ability to solve problems and to learn skills (procedures without being able to actively remember it).
    Apraxia is deficit in implicit memory. Implicit memory is of following types: -
    1. Procedural memory: - Procedural memory is a type of implicit memory that enables us to carry out commonly learned tasks without consciously thinking about them, e.g., riding a bike, tying a shoe or washing dishes.
    2. Primary (conditioning): - Implicit memory can also come about from priming. You are 'primed' by your experiences; if you have heard something very recently or many more times than another things, you are primed to recall it more quickly.  
  • You will frequently read following two terms, which also require specific mention here: -

Recent memory

  • Recent memory, as the name suggests, is recently acquired learning which may: -
  1. Immediate learning - Immediate recent memory
  2. Learning after a time delay (20-30 minutes) - Delayed recent memory.
  • So, recent memory includes both short term memory (immediate recent) and long term memory (Delayed recent).

Remote memory

  • Remote memory is memory for information acquired in the more distant past, typically at least several months to years earlier. For example, remote memory is tapped when the adult patient is asked to recall places where he lived as a younger adult.       
  • So, remote memory includes only long term memory.

Interference theory

  • Interference theory is a psychological theory that explains some features of memory. It states that interference occurs when the learning of something new causes forgetting of older material on the basis of competition between the two. The main assumption of interference theory is that the stored memory is intact but unable to be retrieved due to competition created by newly acquired information.
  • There are three main kinds of interference: -
  1. Proactive interference: - Earlier acquired information interferes with the retrieval of new information.
  2. Retroactive inhibition: - Newly acquired information interferes with the retrieval and performance of previously learnt information.
  3. Out put interference: - The initial act of recalling specific information interferes with the retrieval of the original information.




Stored in


Few seconds to five minutes

Showing three dissimilar objects and asking



Five minutes to seven days

Asking same above objects after five minutes




Memories of

lifetime events

Date of Birthdays

Anniversary etc.

Neo Cortex

  1. Disturbances of memory:
    1. Amnesia: partial or total inability to recall past experiences: may be organic or emotional in origin.
      1. Anterograde: amnesia for events occurring after a point in time.
      2. Retrograde: amnesia for events occurring before a point in time.
    2. Paramnesia: falsification of memory by distortion of recall
      1. Fausse reconnaissance: false recognition.
      2. Retrospective falsification: Memory becomes unintentionally (unconsciously) distorted, Being filtered through a person’s present emotional cognitive and experiential state.
      3. Confabulating: unconscious filling of gaps in memory imagined or untrue experiences that a person believes but that have no basis in fact: most often associated with organic pathology.
      4. False memory: a person recollection and belief by the patient of an event that did not actually occur. .

Déjà vu:


Jamais vu:


Deja entendu:


Deja pense:

Unfamiliar events look familiar,


Familiar events appear unfamiliar


Is the illusion that what one is hearing, was heard previously In which a new thought is regarded

Is the current thought as repetition of a previous thought.  


All these above four conditions can be seen in a normal person or in Heightened Anxiety states or temporal lobe epilepsy


Abstract Thinking: ability to understand the essence of a whole, hidden meanings

Concrete thinking: literal meanings; in schizophrenia or Ability to from Concepts

The Abstract thinking is impaired in schizophrenia


Tested by:

  1. Proverb testing                            
  2. Similarity testing eg.

Similarity between Car & Aeroplane

  1. Both have Tyres – Concrete thinking
  2. Run by Petrol – Semi-abstract
  3. Both are Modes of transport - Abstract

Similarly Between table & Chair is

  1. Both have four Legs - Concrete
  2. Both made of Wood - Semi-abstract
  3. Both are Furniture - Abstract


INSIGHT: awareness about illness , absent in psychosis and present in neurosis.


The various stages of human life according to Erik- Erikson’s, who presented a psychosocial theory of development that describes crucial steps in people relationships with the social world, based on the interplay between biology and society. are.


Table: Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages

Psychosocial Stage



Related Forms of


Positive and Negative

Forerunners of Identity Formation

Enduring Aspects of

Identity Formation

Trust vs. mistrust (birth -)





Mutual recognition vs.

autistic isolation

Temporal perspective vs. time confusion

Autonomy vs. shame and doubt

(~18 months -)


Paranoia Obsessions



Will to be oneself vs.


Self-certainty vs.


Initiative vs. guilt

(~3 years- )


Conversion disorder

Phobia Psychosomatic

disorder Inhibition

Anticipation of roles vs.

role inhibition

Role experimentation vs.

role fixation

Industry vs. inferiority

(~5 years-)


Creative inhibition


Task identification vs.

sense of futility

Apprenticeship vs. work


Identity vs. role


(~13 years -)


Delinquent behavior

Gender-related identity

Disorders Borderline

psychotic episodes


Identity vs. identity


Intimacy vs. isolation

(~20s -)


Schizoid personality

Disorder Distantiation


Sexual polarization vs.

bisexual confusion

Generativity vs.

stagnation (~40s-)


Mid-life crisis

Premature invalidism


Leadership and

followership vs.

abdication of responsibility

Integrity vs. despair



Extreme alienation



Ideological commitment vs. confusion of values


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