Blog Article

What are memories?

What are memories?

Date: 14th December 2021

Memories make up a large percentage of the stored information in our brains. They are imperative for recalling previous experiences, reacting to certain stimuli and evoking particular reactions when faced with those stimuli.  

Memories are responsible for your behaviour in everyday life and how you perceive your past. At My Story Told, we help you preserve your memories for future generations, ensuring that your legacy lives on.  

Our memory will fade; you can’t keep your memory… But you can keep your memories …. Write them down.

How are memories formed? 

Memories are formed through a process called decoding, which involves adapting information into a useable form for the brain, and once completed the information is then able to be stored in memory for later use.  

Once stored, memories are brought to the forefront of our brains in order to be utilised in a process called retrieval. The retrieval process is not always successful, which is why we forget certain parts of memories, and experience the ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ phenomenon. This phenomenon, in a nutshell, is the temporary inability to retrieve information from our memory.  

In order to retrieve memories, sensory triggers are used to trigger activation. For example, thinking about certain aspects of your childhood home like your bedroom or front door will activate memories involving that location.   

Types of memory 

While there have been many differing theories proposed surrounding memory, the most basic of these is the stage model. According to, this theory was first proposed in 1964 by Richard Shiffrin and Richard Atkinson, outlining the three stages to be sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory.  

Sensory memory is the initial stage of the process, where information solely from the environment is stored for very short periods of time (half a second for visual information and three to four seconds for auditory information).  

Information that is deemed valuable enough to store then moves into short-term memory, sometimes termed ‘working memory’. Information is stored for around 30 to 40 seconds, and a large percentage of this is forgotten quickly. Attending to this information will allow it to progress into long term memory.  

As its name suggests, long-term memory contains the information deemed relevant enough to be continuously stored. Information stored within long-term memory is retrieved as mentioned, and some more easily than others.  

Losing memory 

Forgetting or losing some aspects of memory is a natural process as the amount of information stored in the brain increases. There are a few reasons why we forget things, which are: failure to store, interference, motivated forgetting and retrieval failure.  

Sometimes, we unconsciously forget certain aspects of our memory for reasons such as traumatic experiences, but on the whole, our brain will only store information that is relevant for our survival.  

Although memory can be lost, certain sensory stimuli can also kickstart the retrieval process and can be used as a long-term component of memory. For example, recognising a certain colour, smell or a familiar voice will aid in retrieval.  

Preserve your memories 

At My Story Told, we understand the importance of preserving your memories, and want to help you every step of the way. Our writer matching and interview process will ensure that we are documenting the most relevant memories for your story, taking the pressure off you completely. Telling your story has never been easier.  

Get in touch today to see how we can bring your personal story to life.