Memory as the neurological process
Memory is defined as the neurological process of retrieval of the learned response. Learning may occur through consciousness or unconsciousness. The former is called explicit memory, while the later is known as implicit memory. On the basis of remembrance, memory is classified as short term memory or long term memory. In the former situation, a person can retrieve information within a short span of time, after which the remembrance of such learning is lost. In the case of long-term memory, an individual can recollect things from the past, over longer durations of time. Both types of memory exist in human beings, however in the case of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease such memories tend to deteriorate over a period of time (Postma et al., 2008).
Another form of memory called spatial memory provides feedback to a person regarding his orientation with time and space. This is one form of working memory, where an individual becomes aware of time and space due to short term or long term learned responses, and applies the same unconsciously at any moment of time (Perfect &Hollins.,1996). Very few studies have been conducted regarding the usage pattern of spatial memory, in real world settings. Hence, the presence study was done to evaluate the qualities of spatial memory. The study investigated spatial memory in the context of retrieval of parking space remembrance, while individuals visited a shopping mall (Postma et al., 2012).
Methodology & Results
To study the subjective feelings and qualitative aspects of spatial memory semi-structured interview was conducted in individuals who visited the shopping mall. 115 participants (59 men with a range of 19-85 years) and 46 women were included in the study. Various short tests were implemented to evaluate different aspects of spatial memory when they were leaving the shopping mall towards the parking space. The study indicated that women remembered more landmarks on their way to parking lot compared to men. On the other hand, men remembered more of metric items than women.
Since, men remembered the metric variables more, hence they could predict the distance and location of the car far better than women. 50% individuals have difficulty in locating their car in the parking lot. These were attributed to lapses. Apart from gender differences, age-related memory also significantly varied. Older participants had greater difficulty in finding their car in relation to time and space. 14% women reflected the substantial difficulty in locating their car in the parking lot and they used longer distances, to reach the location of the car (Postma et al., 2012).
Discussion and Conclusion
From the above study, it may be concluded that men had better aspects of spatial memory compare to women. Since, men used metrics to remember car location and females used landmarks to retrieve car location. The study also reflected that men and women do not use same cues for associative learning. This is because the greater percentage of women showed substantial loss of spatial memory. Concerning age, the findings of the result are pertinent too. Ageing is related to both loss in the short term and long term memory. This is because neuronal damage and degeneration increase with age. Therefore, the memory pathways are challenged in the brain and there is a greater inability to recollect things or events. It was surprising that although women remembered more landmarks, they got confused to search the car. Hence, it might be possible that short-term memory formation may be compromised due to various competing stimuli (various landmarks).
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