Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_683


Memory is a universal attribute of animals and is sometimes even used with reference to plants and machines. Consequently, memory is an important concept for many scientific disciplines from the neurosciences and psychology over physics to history and the humanities. In the context of animals (including human beings), it implies the storage of ontogenetically acquired information in neuronal structures so that it may be recalled in the future. Nowadays, memory is split into systems and processes. The systems are based on time and content. The most universal distinction is that between short-term and long-term memory. Contrary to its common use, the neurosciences limit short-term memory to seconds or minutes at most and to the acquisition of a very few bits of information (4–7). Long-term memory is then everything extending in time or bits of short-term memory and consequently includes lifelong memories as well. The content-based division of memory uses simple memory...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access


  1. Markowitsch, H. J. (2008). Cultural memory and the neurosciences. In A. Erll and A. Nünning (Eds.), Cultural memory studies. An international and interdisciplinary handbook (= Media and cultural memory, VII) (pp. 275–283). Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  2. Markowitsch, H. J. and Staniloiu, S. (2012). Amnesic disorders. Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11) 1304–4Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany