Why Is Short Term Memory Important

Why Is Short Term Memory Important ?

The main reason that short term memory is important is that it stores information for short periods of time that allow a person to perform functions, such as reasoning, learning and understanding. Furthermore, short term memory also helps a person to select and thereafter retrieve information that is stored in the brain.


Before we get into more details about short term memory, it is important for people to understand how memory is works. Memory is divided into three types, namely sensory, short term and long term. Sensory memory is for remembering the information that is immediate; short term memory is for processing information in small pieces, which either forgotten after the pieces are processed or it is sent to long term memory for storage; and long term is the place in the brain where important information and data is stored, so that the information can be retrieved even after days or years. The transference of information from short term memory to long term memory occurs through a process known as rehearsal.

Basically, when small pieces of information are stored, it is easier for the brain to not just to store it, but also to retrieve it. That is the reason why people are able to recollect numbers that are hyphenated, such as phone numbers. When information is stored in short term memory, the brain does not create neural pathways, which are important for retrieving information at a later period. Short memory allows a person to perform concurrent tasks, as it helps the person to coordinate the information. It is also important to remember that short term memory dissipates rather quickly and is not available to a person after few seconds.

However, memory can be adversely affected if the brain sustains damage due to a head trauma or stroke. This hampers the ability of the brain to transfer information from short term memory to long term memory. Hence, in such a situation, the person will have short term memory for a limited period of time, but the brain will not be able to transfer the information for long term storage. So, the person will find it difficult to learn new things.

Researchers from Iowa University have found that short term memory is very important when it comes to regulating behavior. If there is a problem with short term memory, it can result in behavioral abnormalities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. This behavioral issue is commonly seen in children, and there are ways to control it.

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Why Is Short Term Memory Important