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Resources & Education Learn more about memory

What is memory loss?

Types of memory

Sensory (immediate)

The duration of sensory memory is a matter of seconds. Sensory memory does not decline with age.

Short Term

Short term memory is defined as lasting for about 30 seconds or the ability to hold approximately 7 pieces of information, such as a telephone number. Short term memory shows no significant age-related change.

Working Memory

Working memory is a complex system that allows us to simultaneously process information and transfer it to storage.

Long Term

Long term memory includes memories that persist for anywhere from a few minutes to several days to many years. Long term memory shows the most significant age-related decline when compared with all other types of memory.


Remote memory involves memories from decades past, such as childhood or adolescent experiences. Remote memory does not show age-related decline.

Semantic (trivia)

Semantic memory refers to the ability to remember general knowledge and word meanings. Semantic memory does not decline with age and, in fact, may improve with age.

Episodic (personal)

Episodic memory includes autobiographical events. Episodic memory will typically show age-related decline.

Prospective (future)

Prospective memory is the ability to remember events that will take place in the future, such as a doctor's appointment. Prospective memory will typically show age-related decline.

Procedural (skills)

Procedural memory refers to memory for learned skills such as swimming, riding a bicycle, or playing bridge. Procedural memory does not decline with age.


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