Memory and the Brain
The brain is easily the most important organ in the body, necessary for even the most mundane daily functions. But aside from controlling almost every aspect of our bodies and personalities, another main function of the brain is human memory. Memory and the brain work hand in hand, as the retention of memories is a very complicated process.
Memory begins in the brain as a sensory experience. We see, hear, or touch something and it triggers our short-term memory to begin processing our experience. Short term memory, also called working memory, filters what we need to retain and what we don't. The short term memory can only hold 5-9 items that are "in use", and if we are trying to remember a lot of short-term concepts at once, some get lost without proper cues.
These cues are created during what is called a memory loop, or memory rehearsal. This process is what begins to store experiences as long term memory. The brain takes our sensory observations and begins to play the most current ones in a loop. It is estimated that it takes 8 seconds of uninterrupted attention to begin a memory loop. While this doesn't seem like a long time, it is believed that we are able to sense and forget something in less than 200 milliseconds if not necessary for short or long term memory retrieval.
Once a memory loop is started in the brain, it will continue to store and retrieve the information until the task is completed and we no longer need to remember it, or it has looped enough times to store into long term memory. This part of the brain has an unlimited capacity to store information for extended periods of time.