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We tend to talk about memory as though it is a thing, like a structure that exists in our brain. However, memory is more of an activity, or process (or more accurately, a number of processes). The process of memory involves both the recording of information as well as the recall of it.

Information can be remembered in a number of ways. These include:

Recall - this is the process of retrieving information from our memory at will.
Recognition - this is the process of seeing something and being able to recognize it as something we have remembered.
Relearning - if we have learned something, but not learned it well enough to recall or recognize it, we may still be able to re-learn it faster than if we hadn't learned it in the first place.

The process of memory has the following stages:

Recording - this is the initial act of storing information in our memory
Retaining - this is the process of ensuring information that we had recorded earlier remains 'remembered' and is accessible in the future.
Retrieving - this is the process of pulling information out from our memory.

Failure in any one of these steps leads to forgetting.


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