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Total Recall. Short Essay on Human Memory

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Abstract.  This multidisciplinary study focuses on various concepts of memory. Special attention is paid to biological foundations of human memory. The article briefly presents the concepts of declarative and nondeclarative forms of memory and the mechanisms of memory formation, with the special role of early adulthood. Some complex functions reflect also planned future events. In recent years there has been increased interest in prospective memory or remembering to perform actions in the future. The study is arranged around four core topics: memory of apes, humans, humanoid robots and collective memories (nation-state groups). Modern studies regarding memory formation focus on three major research lines: evolutionary development, metacognition and social cognition. Much of what we know about human long-term memory has actually resulted from non-human primates studies. There are several hypotheses for the evolution of advanced social cognition in non-human primates and they have profound impact upon human memory research. On the other hand, new problems arise in the modern understanding of memory processes due to the influence of technology, including replication of human memory in machines and robots. The idea of absolute and unlimited robotic memory, never degrading nor failing, raises new questions for humanity.

Keywords: history of research, neurotransmitters, memory formation processes, non-human primates, humanoid robots, collective memories.

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