Short-term (working) memory
Short-term memory is temporary. Its principle characteristic is its low capacity, meaning it’s quickly saturated. We can retain on average seven unassociated items (such as letters, words, or numbers) for a few minutes—unless you train like a memory champion with these pro tricks to get a superhuman memory. This is called the “span.” Psychologists realized that short-term memory is in constant use as we talk, think, and act, so they began to refer to short-term memory as “working memory” to emphasize its active role.
Episodic memory (personal events)
You use your episodic memory to answer questions such as, “What did you do last weekend?” or to remember the first time you saw snow or swam in the ocean. Memories, especially episodic ones, are more easily retrieved the more dramatic they are, and adopting these healthy habits that boost your brain makes that process even easier. If you think about special events from your life, such as holidays and birthdays, it’s likely that the events you remember clearly stand out for some exceptional reason, either good or bad. Ordinary examples tend to merge into each other.
All the facts that you know, all the things that you can do, many of the events in your life plus all the surprising things you didn’t even know you knew: this huge store of knowledge is what makes up your long-term memory. Because it’s such a vast amount of storage to tap into, it’s a good idea to keep your brain active and alert, but also take note when it becomes harder to remember these thoughts. Long-term memory loss could be a sign of certain types of dementia. If you notice more signs your brain is aging faster than you, it’s time to talk to your doctor.