We often remember the first time we rode a car, our kid’s first day at school. These experiences make it to the long-term memory while day-to-day happenings do not make it to the long-term memory.
This is because the experience triggered our senses and the happenings made it to our long-term memory. We receive a lot of information through our five senses but the information is processed in various steps until it reaches the long-term memory stage.
What is Sensory Memory?
Information from our senses is stored in our sensory memory, sometimes referred to as the sensory register. Memories first reside in sensory memory storage before moving into short-term or long-term memory storage.
Where do they come from?
- Vision: Sensory information is picked up by various layers of the retina and by the time it reaches the optic nerve, light is converted into electrical impulses which are then processed by the brain.
- Hearing: Ears collect the sound coming from various sources. The sound vibrations are then converted into electrical impulses by the cochlea and processed by the brain in a matter of seconds to listen and understand.
- Touch and Balance: Mechanoreceptors are necessary for the ear to detect sensory information. This particular receptor cell type is crucial for gathering data on touch and balance. There are touch receptors on every part of the body!
- Taste and Smell: Both taste and smell are processed at the same time. While we chew our food the gaseous particles enter our olfactory system and process the information. This information then travels through the vagus, glossopharyngeal and facial nerves.