A topic such as memory is very useful to know as much about as possible since it has a very looming presence and impact on our everyday lives. You've probably heard the terms short-term and long-term memory many times before, either in school, at home, or in the offices of your cosmetic dentist.
Yet, do you know what the difference is between long-term memory and short-term memory? If you don't then you've come to the right place, as we're going to be discussing long versus short-term memory. A short-term memory is a memory that's meant to be stored in your brain for only a short amount of time. Most short-term memories are designed to retain information for no more than a few minutes. A good example of a short-term memory is meeting somebody, perhaps a sales representative that you never plan on seeing again. The memory of meeting that person will be gone as soon as you have no more use for it.
A long-term memory though is when a piece of information is stored in your brain temporarily and a file is then created where it will be stored and used later on. The process of a long-term memory involves encoding information, storing it in the brain, retrieving said information and then releasing it into conscious thought. An example of a long-term memory is studying for a test that you need to memorize and utilize over an over again, just not during your test but in the real world once you graduate.
Short-term memories are temporary, require very limited storage capacity, are resistant to being overcrowded in the brain, need to be rehearsed or re-learned while long-term memories are seen as permanent, limitless and not disturbed by interruption easily. Another key difference between the two types of memories is that short-term memory is usually stored based on physical qualities such as taste, touch and hearing, whereas long-term memory is stored primarily based on semantic codes or meaning. One might remember what a license plate cover looks like and will store that in their short-term memory is something that can be encoded in the brain for use later on in the long-term memory section of the brain.
Hopefully you're now better educated when it comes to long-term and short-term memory and are aware of the differences between the two. If for some reason you ever forget how long-term memory and short-term memory are different then you know where to go to for a refresher course, and, no, we don't mean a training class!