Mercury is a chemical element with symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is known as quicksilver and was named hydrargyrum. A heavy, silvery d-block element, mercury is the only metallic element, liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure. Mercury occurs in deposits throughout the world as cinnabar; the red pigment vermilion is obtained by synthetic mercuric sulfide. Mercury is used in thermometers, manometers, sphygmomanometers, float valves, mercury switches, mercury relays, fluorescent lamps and other devices, though concerns about the element's toxicity have led to mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers being phased out in clinical environments in favor of alternatives such as alcohol- or galinstan-filled glass thermometers and thermistor- or infrared-based electronic instruments. Mechanical pressure gauges and electronic strain gauge sensors have replaced mercury sphygmomanometers. Mercury remains in use in scientific research applications and in amalgam for dental restoration in some locales.
It is used in fluorescent lighting. Electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light, which causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce, making visible light. Mercury poisoning can result from exposure to water-soluble forms of mercury, by inhalation of mercury vapor, or by ingesting any form of mercury. Mercury is a silvery-white liquid metal. Compared to other metals, it is a fair conductor of electricity, it has a freezing point of −38.83 °C and a boiling point of 356.73 °C, both the lowest of any stable metal, although preliminary experiments on copernicium and flerovium have indicated that they have lower boiling points. Upon freezing, the volume of mercury decreases by 3.59% and its density changes from 13.69 g/cm3 when liquid to 14.184 g/cm3 when solid. The coefficient of volume expansion is 181.59 × 10−6 at 0 °C, 181.71 × 10−6 at 20 °C and 182.50 × 10−6 at 100 °C. Solid mercury can be cut with a knife. A complete explanation of mercury's extreme volatility delves deep into the realm of quantum physics, but it can be summarized as follows: mercury has a unique electron configuration where electrons fill up all the available 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 3d, 4s, 4p, 4d, 4f, 5s, 5p, 5d, 6s subshells.
Because this configuration resists removal of an electron, mercury behaves to noble gases, which form weak bonds and hence melt at low temperatures. The stability of the 6s shell is due to the presence of a filled 4f shell. An f shell poorly screens the nuclear charge that increases the attractive Coulomb interaction of the 6s shell and the nucleus; the absence of a filled inner f shell is the reason for the somewhat higher melting temperature of cadmium and zinc, although both these metals still melt and, in addition, have unusually low boiling points. Mercury does not react with most acids, such as dilute sulfuric acid, although oxidizing acids such as concentrated sulfuric acid and nitric acid or aqua regia dissolve it to give sulfate and chloride. Like silver, mercury reacts with atmospheric hydrogen sulfide. Mercury reacts with solid sulfur flakes. Mercury dissolves many metals such as silver to form amalgams. Iron is an exception, iron flasks have traditionally been used to trade mercury.
Several other first row transition metals with the exception of manganese and zinc are resistant in forming amalgams. Other elements that do not form amalgams with mercury include platinum. Sodium amalgam is a common reducing agent in organic synthesis, is used in high-pressure sodium lamps. Mercury combines with aluminium to form a mercury-aluminium amalgam when the two pure metals come into contact. Since the amalgam destroys the aluminium oxide layer which protects metallic aluminium from oxidizing in-depth small amounts of mercury can corrode aluminium. For this reason, mercury is not allowed aboard an aircraft under most circumstances because of the risk of it forming an amalgam with exposed aluminium parts in the aircraft. Mercury embrittlement is the most common type of liquid metal embrittlement. There are seven stable isotopes of mercury, with 202Hg being the most abundant; the longest-lived radioisotopes are 194Hg with a half-life of 444 years, 203Hg with a half-life of 46.612 days. Most of the remaining radioisotopes have half-lives.
199Hg and 201Hg are the most studied NMR-active nuclei, having spins of 1⁄2 and 3⁄2 respectively. Hg is the modern chemical symbol for mercury, it comes from hydrargyrum, a Latinized form of the Greek word ὑδράργυρος, a compound word meaning "water-silver" – since it is liquid like water and shiny like silver. The element was named after the Roman god Mercury, known for his mobility, it is associated with the planet Mercury. Mercury is the only metal for which the al
The brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals. The brain is located in the head close to the sensory organs for senses such as vision; the brain is the most complex organ in a vertebrate's body. In a human, the cerebral cortex contains 14–16 billion neurons, the estimated number of neurons in the cerebellum is 55–70 billion; each neuron is connected by synapses to several thousand other neurons. These neurons communicate with one another by means of long protoplasmic fibers called axons, which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials to distant parts of the brain or body targeting specific recipient cells. Physiologically, the function of the brain is to exert centralized control over the other organs of the body; the brain acts on the rest of the body both by generating patterns of muscle activity and by driving the secretion of chemicals called hormones. This centralized control allows coordinated responses to changes in the environment.
Some basic types of responsiveness such as reflexes can be mediated by the spinal cord or peripheral ganglia, but sophisticated purposeful control of behavior based on complex sensory input requires the information integrating capabilities of a centralized brain. The operations of individual brain cells are now understood in considerable detail but the way they cooperate in ensembles of millions is yet to be solved. Recent models in modern neuroscience treat the brain as a biological computer different in mechanism from an electronic computer, but similar in the sense that it acquires information from the surrounding world, stores it, processes it in a variety of ways; this article compares the properties of brains across the entire range of animal species, with the greatest attention to vertebrates. It deals with the human brain insofar; the ways in which the human brain differs from other brains are covered in the human brain article. Several topics that might be covered here are instead covered there because much more can be said about them in a human context.
The most important is brain disease and the effects of brain damage, that are covered in the human brain article. The shape and size of the brain varies between species, identifying common features is difficult. There are a number of principles of brain architecture that apply across a wide range of species; some aspects of brain structure are common to the entire range of animal species. The simplest way to gain information about brain anatomy is by visual inspection, but many more sophisticated techniques have been developed. Brain tissue in its natural state is too soft to work with, but it can be hardened by immersion in alcohol or other fixatives, sliced apart for examination of the interior. Visually, the interior of the brain consists of areas of so-called grey matter, with a dark color, separated by areas of white matter, with a lighter color. Further information can be gained by staining slices of brain tissue with a variety of chemicals that bring out areas where specific types of molecules are present in high concentrations.
It is possible to examine the microstructure of brain tissue using a microscope, to trace the pattern of connections from one brain area to another. The brains of all species are composed of two broad classes of cells: neurons and glial cells. Glial cells come in several types, perform a number of critical functions, including structural support, metabolic support and guidance of development. Neurons, are considered the most important cells in the brain; the property that makes neurons unique is their ability to send signals to specific target cells over long distances. They send these signals by means of an axon, a thin protoplasmic fiber that extends from the cell body and projects with numerous branches, to other areas, sometimes nearby, sometimes in distant parts of the brain or body; the length of an axon can be extraordinary: for example, if a pyramidal cell of the cerebral cortex were magnified so that its cell body became the size of a human body, its axon magnified, would become a cable a few centimeters in diameter, extending more than a kilometer.
These axons transmit signals in the form of electrochemical pulses called action potentials, which last less than a thousandth of a second and travel along the axon at speeds of 1–100 meters per second. Some neurons emit action potentials at rates of 10–100 per second in irregular patterns. Axons transmit signals to other neurons by means of specialized junctions called synapses. A single axon may make as many as several thousand synaptic connections with other cells; when an action potential, traveling along an axon, arrives at a synapse, it causes a chemical called a neurotransmitter to be released. The neurotransmitter binds to receptor molecules in the membrane of the target cell. Synapses are the key functional elements of the brain; the essential function of the brain is cell-to-cell communication, synapses are the points at which communication occurs. The human brain has been estimated to contain 100 trillion synapses; the functions of these synapses are diverse: some are excitatory.
Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, reproduction and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, assimilation, biosynthesis and excretion; the diet of an organism is what it eats, determined by the availability and palatability of foods. For humans, a healthy diet includes preparation of food and storage methods that preserve nutrients from oxidation, heat or leaching, that reduce risk of foodborne illnesses. In humans, an unhealthy diet can cause deficiency-related diseases such as blindness, scurvy, preterm birth and cretinism, or nutrient excess health-threatening conditions such as obesity and metabolic syndrome. Undernutrition can lead to wasting in acute cases, the stunting of marasmus in chronic cases of malnutrition; the first recorded dietary advice, carved into a Babylonian stone tablet in about 2500 BC, cautioned those with pain inside to avoid eating onions for three days. Scurvy found to be a vitamin C deficiency, was first described in 1500 BC in the Ebers Papyrus.
According to Walter Gratzer, the study of nutrition began during the 6th century BC. In China, the concept of qi developed, a spirit or "wind" similar to what Western Europeans called pneuma. Food was classified into "hot" and "cold" in China, India and Persia. Humours developed first in China alongside qi. Ho the Physician concluded that diseases are caused by deficiencies of elements, he classified diseases as well as prescribed diets. About the same time in Italy, Alcmaeon of Croton wrote of the importance of equilibrium between what goes in and what goes out, warned that imbalance would result in disease marked by obesity or emaciation; the first recorded nutritional experiment with human subjects is found in the Bible's Book of Daniel. Daniel and his friends were captured by the king of Babylon during an invasion of Israel. Selected as court servants, they were to share in the king's fine foods and wine, but they objected, preferring vegetables and water in accordance with their Jewish dietary restrictions.
The king's chief steward reluctantly agreed to a trial. Daniel and his friends received their diet for ten days and were compared to the king's men. Appearing healthier, they were allowed to continue with their diet. Around 475 BC, Anaxagoras stated that food is absorbed by the human body and, contains "homeomerics", suggesting the existence of nutrients. Around 400 BC, who recognized and was concerned with obesity, which may have been common in southern Europe at the time, said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." The works that are still attributed to him, Corpus Hippocraticum, called for moderation and emphasized exercise. Salt and other spices were prescribed for various ailments in various preparations for example mixed with vinegar. In the 2nd century BC, Cato the Elder believed that cabbage could cure digestive diseases, ulcers and intoxication. Living about the turn of the millennium, Aulus Celsus, an ancient Roman doctor, believed in "strong" and "weak" foods. One mustn't overlook the doctrines of Galen: In use from his life in the 1st century AD until the 17th century, it was heresy to disagree with him for 1500 years.
Galen was physician to gladiators in Pergamon, in Rome, physician to Marcus Aurelius and the three emperors who succeeded him. Most of Galen's teachings were gathered and enhanced in the late 11th century by Benedictine monks at the School of Salerno in Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum, which still had users in the 17th century. Galen believed in the bodily humours of Hippocrates, he taught that pneuma is the source of life. Four elements combine into "complexion"; the states are made up of pairs of attributes, which are made of four humours: blood, green bile, black bile. Galen thought that for a person to have gout, kidney stones, or arthritis was scandalous, which Gratzer likens to Samuel Butler's Erehwon where sickness is a crime. In the 1500s, Paracelsus was the first to criticize Galen publicly. In the 16th century and artist Leonardo da Vinci compared metabolism to a burning candle. Leonardo did not publish his works on this subject, but he was not afraid of thinking for himself and he disagreed with Galen.
16th century works of Andreas Vesalius, sometimes called the father of modern human anatomy, overturned Galen's ideas. He was followed by piercing thought amalgamated with the era's mysticism and religion sometimes fueled by the mechanics of Newton and Galileo. Jan Baptist van Helmont, who discovered several gases such as carbon dioxide, performed the first quantitative experiment. Robert Boyle advanced chemistry. Sanctorius measured body weight. Physician Herman Boerhaave modeled the digestive process. Physiologist Albrecht von Haller worked out the difference between muscles. Sometimes forgotten during his life, James Lind, a physician in the British navy, performed the first scientific nutrition experiment in 1747. Lind discovered that lime juice saved sailors, at sea for years from scurvy, a deadly an
Platinum is a chemical element with symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, ductile unreactive, silverish-white transition metal, its name is derived from the Spanish term platino, meaning "little silver". Platinum is a member of the platinum group of elements and group 10 of the periodic table of elements, it has six occurring isotopes. It is one of the rarer elements in Earth's crust, with an average abundance of 5 μg/kg, it occurs in some nickel and copper ores along with some native deposits in South Africa, which accounts for 80% of the world production. Because of its scarcity in Earth's crust, only a few hundred tonnes are produced annually, given its important uses, it is valuable and is a major precious metal commodity. Platinum is one of the least reactive metals, it has remarkable resistance to corrosion at high temperatures, is therefore considered a noble metal. Platinum is found chemically uncombined as native platinum; because it occurs in the alluvial sands of various rivers, it was first used by pre-Columbian South American natives to produce artifacts.
It was referenced in European writings as early as 16th century, but it was not until Antonio de Ulloa published a report on a new metal of Colombian origin in 1748 that it began to be investigated by scientists. Platinum is used in catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, jewelry. Being a heavy metal, it leads to health problems upon exposure to its salts. Compounds containing platinum, such as cisplatin and carboplatin, are applied in chemotherapy against certain types of cancer; as of 2018, the value of platinum is $833.00 per ounce. Pure platinum is a lustrous and malleable, silver-white metal. Platinum is more ductile than gold, silver or copper, thus being the most ductile of pure metals, but it is less malleable than gold; the metal has excellent resistance to corrosion, is stable at high temperatures and has stable electrical properties. Platinum does oxidize, forming PtO2, at 500 °C, it reacts vigorously with fluorine at 500 °C to form platinum tetrafluoride.
It is attacked by chlorine, bromine and sulfur. Platinum is insoluble in hydrochloric and nitric acid, but dissolves in hot aqua regia, to form chloroplatinic acid, H2PtCl6, its physical characteristics and chemical stability make it useful for industrial applications. Its resistance to wear and tarnish is well suited to use in fine jewellery; the most common oxidation states of platinum are +2 and +4. The +1 and +3 oxidation states are less common, are stabilized by metal bonding in bimetallic species; as is expected, tetracoordinate platinum compounds tend to adopt 16-electron square planar geometries. Although elemental platinum is unreactive, it dissolves in hot aqua regia to give aqueous chloroplatinic acid: Pt + 4 HNO3 + 6 HCl → H2PtCl6 + 4 NO2 + 4 H2OAs a soft acid, platinum has a great affinity for sulfur, such as on dimethyl sulfoxide. In 2007, Gerhard Ertl won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for determining the detailed molecular mechanisms of the catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide over platinum.
Platinum has six occurring isotopes: 190Pt, 192Pt, 194Pt, 195Pt, 196Pt, 198Pt. The most abundant of these is 195 Pt, it is the only stable isotope with a non-zero spin. 190Pt is the least abundant at only 0.01%. Of the occurring isotopes, only 190Pt is unstable, though it decays with a half-life of 6.5×1011 years, causing an activity of 15 Bq/kg of natural platinum. 198 Pt can undergo alpha decay. Platinum has 31 synthetic isotopes ranging in atomic mass from 166 to 204, making the total number of known isotopes 39; the least stable of these is 166Pt, with a half-life of 300 µs, whereas the most stable is 193Pt with a half-life of 50 years. Most platinum isotopes decay by some combination of beta alpha decay. 188Pt, 191Pt, 193Pt decay by electron capture. 190Pt and 198Pt are predicted to have energetically favorable double beta decay paths. Platinum is an rare metal, occurring at a concentration of only 0.005 ppm in Earth's crust. It is sometimes mistaken for silver. Platinum is found chemically uncombined as native platinum and as alloy with the other platinum-group metals and iron mostly.
Most the native platinum is found in secondary deposits in alluvial deposits. The alluvial deposits used by pre-Columbian people in the Chocó Department, Colombia are still a source for platinum-group metals. Another large alluvial deposit is in the Ural Mountains, it is still mined. In nickel and copper deposits, platinum-group metals occur as sulfides, tellurides and arsenides, as end alloys with nickel or copper. Platinum arsenide, sperrylite, is a major source of platinum associated with nickel ores in the Sudbury Basin deposit in Ontario, Canada. At Platinum, about 17,000 kg was mined between 1927 and 1975; the mine ceased operations in 1990. The rare sulfide minera
Lead is a chemical element with symbol Pb and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metal, denser than most common materials. Lead is soft and malleable, has a low melting point; when freshly cut, lead is silvery with a hint of blue. Lead has the highest atomic number of any stable element and three of its isotopes each include a major decay chain of heavier elements. Lead is a unreactive post-transition metal, its weak metallic character is illustrated by its amphoteric nature. Compounds of lead are found in the +2 oxidation state rather than the +4 state common with lighter members of the carbon group. Exceptions are limited to organolead compounds. Like the lighter members of the group, lead tends to bond with itself. Lead is extracted from its ores. Galena, a principal ore of lead bears silver, interest in which helped initiate widespread extraction and use of lead in ancient Rome. Lead production declined after the fall of Rome and did not reach comparable levels until the Industrial Revolution. In 2014, the annual global production of lead was about ten million tonnes, over half of, from recycling.
Lead's high density, low melting point and relative inertness to oxidation make it useful. These properties, combined with its relative abundance and low cost, resulted in its extensive use in construction, batteries and shot, solders, fusible alloys, white paints, leaded gasoline, radiation shielding. In the late 19th century, lead's toxicity was recognized, its use has since been phased out of many applications. However, many countries still allow the sale of products that expose humans to lead, including some types of paints and bullets. Lead is a toxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bones, it acts as a neurotoxin damaging the nervous system and interfering with the function of biological enzymes, causing neurological disorders, such as brain damage and behavioral problems. A lead atom has 82 electrons, arranged in an electron configuration of 4f145d106s26p2; the sum of lead's first and second ionization energies—the total energy required to remove the two 6p electrons—is close to that of tin, lead's upper neighbor in the carbon group.
This is unusual. The similarity of ionization energies is caused by the lanthanide contraction—the decrease in element radii from lanthanum to lutetium, the small radii of the elements from hafnium onwards; this is due to poor shielding of the nucleus by the lanthanide 4f electrons. The sum of the first four ionization energies of lead exceeds that of tin, contrary to what periodic trends would predict. Relativistic effects, which become significant in heavier atoms, contribute to this behavior. One such effect is the inert pair effect: the 6s electrons of lead become reluctant to participate in bonding, making the distance between nearest atoms in crystalline lead unusually long. Lead's lighter carbon group congeners form stable or metastable allotropes with the tetrahedrally coordinated and covalently bonded diamond cubic structure; the energy levels of their outer s- and p-orbitals are close enough to allow mixing into four hybrid sp3 orbitals. In lead, the inert pair effect increases the separation between its s- and p-orbitals, the gap cannot be overcome by the energy that would be released by extra bonds following hybridization.
Rather than having a diamond cubic structure, lead forms metallic bonds in which only the p-electrons are delocalized and shared between the Pb2+ ions. Lead has a face-centered cubic structure like the sized divalent metals calcium and strontium. Pure lead has a silvery appearance with a hint of blue, it tarnishes on contact with moist air and takes on a dull appearance, the hue of which depends on the prevailing conditions. Characteristic properties of lead include high density, malleability and high resistance to corrosion due to passivation. Lead's close-packed face-centered cubic structure and high atomic weight result in a density of 11.34 g/cm3, greater than that of common metals such as iron and zinc. This density is the origin of the idiom to go over like a lead balloon; some rarer metals are denser: tungsten and gold are both at 19.3 g/cm3, osmium—the densest metal known—has a density of 22.59 g/cm3 twice that of lead. Lead is a soft metal with a Mohs hardness of 1.5. It is somewhat ductile.
The bulk modulus of lead—a measure of its ease of compressibility—is 45.8 GPa. In comparison, that of aluminium is 75.2 GPa. Lead's tensile strength, at 12–17 MPa, is low; the melting point of lead—at 327.5 °C —is low compared to most metals. Its boiling point of 1749 °C is the lowest among the carbon group elements; the electrical resistivity of lead at 20 °C is 192 nanoohm-meters an order of magnitude higher than those of other industrial metals. Lead is a superconductor at temperatures lower than 7.19 K.
Chromium is a chemical element with symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in group 6, it is a steely-grey, lustrous and brittle transition metal. Chromium boasts a high usage rate as a metal, able to be polished while resisting tarnishing. Chromium is the main additive in stainless steel, a popular steel alloy due to its uncommonly high specular reflection. Simple polished chromium reflects 70% of the visible spectrum, with 90% of infrared light being reflected; the name of the element is derived from the Greek word χρῶμα, chrōma, meaning color, because many chromium compounds are intensely colored. Ferrochromium alloy is commercially produced from chromite by silicothermic or aluminothermic reactions and chromium metal by roasting and leaching processes followed by reduction with carbon and aluminium. Chromium metal is of high value for hardness. A major development in steel production was the discovery that steel could be made resistant to corrosion and discoloration by adding metallic chromium to form stainless steel.
Stainless steel and chrome plating together comprise 85% of the commercial use. In the United States, trivalent chromium ion is considered an essential nutrient in humans for insulin and lipid metabolism. However, in 2014, the European Food Safety Authority, acting for the European Union, concluded that there was not sufficient evidence for chromium to be recognized as essential. While chromium metal and Cr ions are not considered toxic, hexavalent chromium is both toxic and carcinogenic. Abandoned chromium production sites require environmental cleanup. Chromium is the fourth transition metal found on the periodic table, has an electron configuration of 3d5 4s1, it is the first element in the periodic table whose ground-state electron configuration violates the Aufbau principle. This occurs again in the periodic table with other elements and their electron configurations, such as copper and molybdenum; this occurs. In the previous elements, the energetic cost of promoting an electron to the next higher energy level is too great to compensate for that released by lessening inter-electronic repulsion.
However, in the 3d transition metals, the energy gap between the 3d and the next-higher 4s subshell is small, because the 3d subshell is more compact than the 4s subshell, inter-electron repulsion is smaller between 4s electrons than between 3d electrons. This lowers the energetic cost of promotion and increases the energy released by it, so that the promotion becomes energetically feasible and one or two electrons are always promoted to the 4s subshell. Chromium is the first element in the 3d series where the 3d electrons start to sink into the inert core. Chromium is a strong oxidising agent in contrast to the tungsten oxides. Chromium is hard, is the third hardest element behind carbon and boron, its Mohs hardness is 8.5, which means that it can scratch samples of quartz and topaz, but can be scratched by corundum. Chromium is resistant to tarnishing, which makes it useful as a metal that preserves its outermost layer from corroding, unlike other metals such as copper and aluminium. Chromium has a melting point of 1907 °C, low compared to the majority of transition metals.
However, it still has the second highest melting point out of all the Period 4 elements, being topped by vanadium by 3 °C at 1910 °C. The boiling point of 2671 °C, however, is comparatively lower, having the third lowest boiling point out of the Period 4 transition metals alone behind manganese and zinc. Chromium has an unusually high specular reflection in comparison to that of other transition metals. At 425 μm, chromium was found to have a relative maximum reflection of about 72% reflectance, before entering a depression in reflectivity, reaching a minimum of 62% reflectance at 750 μm before rising again to reflecting 90% of 4000 μm of infrared waves.. When chromium is formed into a stainless steel alloy and polished, the specular reflection decreases with the inclusion of additional metals, yet is still rather high in comparison with other alloys. Between 40% and 60% of the visible spectrum is reflected from polished stainless steel; the explanation on why chromium displays such a high turnout of reflected photon waves in general the 90% of infrared waves that were reflected, can be attributed to chromium's magnetic properties.
Chromium has unique magnetic properties in the sense that chromium is the only elemental solid which shows antiferromagnetic ordering at room temperature. Above 38 °C, its magnetic ordering changes to paramagnetic.. The antiferromagnetic properties, which cause the chromium atoms to temporarily ionize and bond with themselves, are present because the body-centric cubic's magnetic properties are disproportionate to the lattice periodicity; this is due to the fact that the magnetic moments at the cube's corners and the cube centers are not equal, but are still antiparallel. From here, the frequency-dependent relative permittivity of chromium, deriving from Maxwell's equations in conjunction with chromium's antiferromagnetivity, leaves chromium with a high infrared and visible light reflectance. Chromium metal left standing in air is passivated by oxidation, forming a th
Memory is the faculty of the brain by which information is encoded and retrieved when needed. Memory is vital to experiences, it is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If we could not remember past events, we could not learn or develop language, relationships, or personal identity. Memory is understood as an informational processing system with explicit and implicit functioning, made up of a sensory processor, short-term memory, long-term memory; this can be related to the neuron. The sensory processor allows information from the outside world to be sensed in the form of chemical and physical stimuli and attended to various levels of focus and intent. Working memory serves as an encoding and retrieval processor. Information in the form of stimuli is encoded in accordance with explicit or implicit functions by the working memory processor; the working memory retrieves information from stored material. The function of long-term memory is to store data through various categorical models or systems.
Explicit and implicit functions of memory are known as declarative and non-declarative systems. These systems lack thereof. Declarative, or explicit, memory is the conscious recollection of data. Under declarative memory resides episodic memory. Semantic memory refers to memory, encoded with specific meaning, while episodic memory refers to information, encoded along a spatial and temporal plane. Declarative memory is the primary process thought of when referencing memory. Non-declarative, or implicit, memory is the unconscious recollection of information. An example of a non-declarative process would be the unconscious learning or retrieval of information by way of procedural memory, or a priming phenomenon. Priming is the process of subliminally arousing specific responses from memory and shows that not all memory is consciously activated, whereas procedural memory is the slow and gradual learning of skills that occurs without conscious attention to learning. Memory is not a perfect processor, is affected by many factors.
The ways by which information is encoded and retrieved can all be corrupted. The amount of attention given new stimuli can diminish the amount of information that becomes encoded for storage; the storage process can become corrupted by physical damage to areas of the brain that are associated with memory storage, such as the hippocampus. The retrieval of information from long-term memory can be disrupted because of decay within long-term memory. Normal functioning, decay over time, brain damage all affect the accuracy and capacity of the memory. Memory loss is described as forgetfulness or amnesia. Sensory memory holds sensory information less than one second; the ability to look at an item and remember what it looked like with just a split second of observation, or memorization, is the example of sensory memory. It is an automatic response. With short presentations, participants report that they seem to "see" more than they can report; the first experiments exploring this form of sensory memory were conducted by George Sperling using the "partial report paradigm".
Subjects were presented with a grid of 12 letters, arranged into three rows of four. After a brief presentation, subjects were played either a high, medium or low tone, cuing them which of the rows to report. Based on these partial report experiments, Sperling was able to show that the capacity of sensory memory was 12 items, but that it degraded quickly; because this form of memory degrades so participants would see the display but be unable to report all of the items before they decayed. This type of memory cannot be prolonged via rehearsal. Three types of sensory memories exist. Iconic memory is a fast decaying store of visual information. Echoic memory is a fast decaying store of auditory information, another type of sensory memory that stores sounds that have been perceived for short durations. Haptic memory is a type of sensory memory. Short-term memory is known as working memory. Short-term memory allows recall for a period of several seconds to a minute without rehearsal, its capacity is very limited: George A. Miller, when working at Bell Laboratories, conducted experiments showing that the store of short-term memory was 7±2 items.
Modern estimates of the capacity of short-term memory are lower of the order of 4–5 items. For example, in recalling a ten-digit telephone number, a person could chunk the digits into three groups: first, the area code a three-digit chunk and lastly a four-digit chunk; this method of remembering telephone numbers is far more effective than attempting to remember a string of 10 digits. This may be reflected in some countries in the tendency to display telephone numbers as several chunks of two to four numbers. Short-term memory is believed to rely on an acoustic code for storing information, to a lesser extent a visual code. Conrad found that test subjects had more difficulty recalling collections of letters that were acoustically similar (e.g. E