Working memory is commonly known as short term memory. This type of memory is what we use on a regular basis and it’s always fresh in our mind. Working memory is also considered the way we keep only the important information in our mind and weed out the information that is not necessary.
With that said, some people think there is a connection between organization, working memory, and attention. While there is a connection on a certain level, there is a difference that eliminates the connection which basically is the side of the brain that’s used to perform each of those tasks.
Storing information in the brain is something everyone does whether they know it or not it does happen on a continual basis. Implicit memory is where you store things in your mind and forget about it. Explicit memory is where you keep something in your mind and you know it’s there.
Retrieving this memory is completely different. Implicit memory requires effort and you know you have to think about it before it will come to mind where as explicit memory is effortless and doesn’t require a lot of work. After a brain injury most times implicit memory is not affected, but explicit memory is.
Often times after a brain injury has occurred there is a certain time where the memory of the accident is completely gone. There will be memory from before the accident and after the accident, but the entire time frame around it is gone and they have no memory of how it happened or what happened during the accident. The memory leading up to the injury is called remote memory and the memory after the injury is called recent memory.
Often time’s amnesia goes along with an injury. There are two types of amnesia. One is called anterograde and the other is retrograde. Anterograde is where you have difficulties remembering things from day to day after the injury. Retrograde amnesia is where you have problems remembering things that occurred before the accident. Depending on the type of injury amnesia can be short or long term.
Memory is something that can easily go away after an accident. There are two types of memory, one is procedural memory and the other is declarative memory. Procedural memory is the act of remembering how to do something like riding a bike or combing your hair and declarative memory is the act of remembering facts. An example would be remembering how the Titanic sank or that any number times itself is always that number.
When a brain injury happens, there are times where the declarative memory can be damaged and those facts may go by the way side. Most times the procedural memory remains clear and has no problems.
A brain injury can affect a number of different types of memory. Sometimes this is permanent while other times it is temporary. Since we have discussed the different types of memory in our last article, you now have an understanding of how the brain works and why memory can be weak after an injury. Aside from damaged connections in the brain, a person's emotions may greatly impact their ability to remember. Be patient with a friend or family member that has had either a minor concussion or a traumatic brain injury. They will have memory weaknesses that may show themselves consistently or sporadically.