What are the different kinds of memory?
We often think of memory in terms of remembering a birthday or forgetting a face, but it is actually a far broader concept. Put simply, memory refers to the many routes through which the past can influence our psychological present. It can span everything from how an athlete perfects their game, to why your mouth waters when you think of something appetizing, to how you’re able to draw meaning from reading these entries. Although sometimes faulty and incomplete, this collection of our skills, habits, and experiences profoundly determines who we are and how we interact with the world.
Psychologists and philosophers have spent centuries trying to categorize and scrutinize the different forms of memory using tools ranging from introspection to brain-damaged patients and neuroimaging. In our lab, we focus on how various kinds of memory influence other aspects of the mind, and on how such interactions are implemented in the brain. For example, our research considers why humans remember and forget specific events from the past, how we retain and manipulate information in our mind over a short delay, and how repeated patterns in the world influence what we perceive and how we act.