Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Human Memory System Research Paper

Research Paper on Human Memory System

The Gift of Memory: The Short-term and Long-term benefits of Understanding the Human Memory System

List of Abbreviations
STS = Short Term Storage
ST-WM  = Short Term Working Memory
STM = Short Term Memory
LTS = Long Term Storage
LTM = Long Term Memory
LT-WM = Long Term Working Memory
TLE= Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Yoko Ogawa is a Japanese author who has written over 20 novels of fiction and nonfiction. Her masterpiece, entitled The Housekeeper and the Professor, is an account of a professor, who has an accident and suffers from short-term memory loss. While the protagonist is able to retrieve memories stored in his long-term memory, such as the concepts he learned as a mathematician, he is unable to create new memories due to his short-term memory loss.  Every eighty minutes, he must relearn everything he knows about the present situation (Ogawa). The romantic piece by Ogawa serves as an excellent introduction to the concepts that differentiate short-term memory and long-term memory. In terms of from a psychological understanding of the human brain, the importance of these two phenomena cannot be overstated. Furthermore, their interdependence on one another has been systematically researched and studied as one of the most complicated aspects of human life (Oberbye 9).

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Recently, the growing use and application of animal experimentation has caused many theorists to move from analyzing human consciousness and memory to a more behavioral science oriented approach (Burgess and Hitch). Behavior associated with memory loss in accordance with outstanding occurrences such as different forms of amnesia and diseases such as temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and Alzheimer’s have revealed many insights in regards to all types of memory studies. Other wonders such as the various methods of retrieval of memory and effects of aging on memory cannot go unconsidered in the analysis of the concepts mentioned in this essay. Due to several restraining factors, however, this paper will focus on a brief review of several concepts, in the aim to distinguish between short-term memory, long-term memory, short-term working memory (ST-WM), and long-term working memory (LT-WM). By the end of this paper, the reader should be able to relate the different memory-oriented brain process theories such as STS, LTS, STM, LTM, ST-WM, and ST-WM and be piqued in his or her curiosity about brain-training methods that utilize these processes in the aim for a better memory system.

An Outline of the Memory System
Memory can be looked at through the magnifying glass of many detectives; philosophers and psychologists analyze memory differently. The former group precedes the latter in historical debates, while the latter analyzes memory from an information processing perspective. Psychologists maintain an emphasis on the theory that the creation and retrieval of memory occurs in a three-step process. This process consists of encoding, storage and retrieval. These processes use different parts of the brain to register, create and recall learned information. Storage occurs in the two process system that this paper highlights in the following paragraphs. In order to understand the complexities of STM and LTM, one must first grasp a general understanding of the memory system. In order to retrieve memories, information must first be stored. Short-term storage (STS) and long-term storage (LTS) have different capacities, interactions and response to different types of information. This means that the way a word or digit is remembered is different from the way an image or a face is remembered. STS accounts for environmental information, processed by sensory triggers in various physical modes, such as visual, auditory and haptic. The length that the information is stored here depends on control processes.  Sometimes newly acquired information will be copied into LTS. Older information, which is relevant can also be transferred into and activated through STS (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 3a). For example, when the professor in Ogawa’s novel learns of the housekeeper’s son’s age, the number 10 is stored in STS. Although, in his particular case, this information cannot be saved in LTS, the mathematical formulas he is well versed in allow him to perform meaningful calculations and associations to his past experiences with this number.

The Relationship between STM and LTM
The studies conducted recently have focused on a two-process theory, which examines the sensation otherwise known as memory as two separate entities. Up until the 1970s, there was little information available to distinguish between STM and LTM but the emphasis of the two process system was then encouraged by the times’ advances and developments of computer systems, which helped to generate models of behavior through mathematical psychology (Atkinson and Shiffrin). Since then, thorough research has proven that STM and LTM have a clear and interdependent relationship. In a supporting research article conducted by the Epilepsy Center Hamburg analyzing long-term receny effects in TLE, results showed that both temporal lobes could have influence on the long-term recency effect, but not on immediate recency effect (Benger and Malina). These findings indicate that that abilities associated with both STM and LTM are affected by the same processes, including proactive interference, albeit long term recency effect is more vulnerable when disturbed by Right TLE(Benger and Malina). In another research paper written by professionals in speech language pathology and audiology indicates that verbal short-term memory reflects the way the brain organizes long-term memory (Majerus and D’Argembeau). The interaction between STM-LTM has been proven to show that through the level activation of lexical-semantic knowledge (how and what the words of a particular language denote) and attentional resources, LTM is a critical determinant of STM performance (Majerus and D’Argembeau, 181).

Working Memory
Working memory is “the temporary storage of information that is being processed in any range of tasks” (Ericsson, and Kintsch), it is the evolution of theory related to STS, it is used in processes such as reasoning and learning,  and it is a prerequisite for LTS. To gain a better understanding, the human brain can be compared to a computer processing system, where Random-access memory (RAM) acts as working memory for processing an end product or result, which is then saved on the computer’s hard disk, which acts as the LTS. There is much data to indicate that the acquired knowledge and skill related to temporary working memory can be used to explain long term retrieval capability. LT WM memory, in essence, depends on retrieval cues stored in ST WM. For example, skilled performers such as chess players possess acquired knowledge that help produce special memory skills.

Development of these skills leads to “(1) increased speed of storage and retrieval of memory tasks through practice,  (2) incidental storage and retrieval of information in LTM during skilled activities, and (3) memory skills for selective storage and retrieval in LTM.”(Ericsson, and Kintsch). Some hypothesize that these special memory skills can be used to differentiate between data that others are not able to, therefore minimizing proactive interference. Furthermore, it is possible that if not for proactive interference, there would be no forgetting information acquired through working memory (Keppel and Underwood, 154).

Discussion and Conclusion
The studies aforementioned present some interesting ideas about the storage and retrieval of short term and long-term memory. After a brief analysis of the overview of the memory system, it is evident that there are a lot of elements that can be learned by correlating principals such as the two process system in accordance with several negative and positive contributing factors such as aging, disease, as well as memory skills and learning. Recommendations for further research would include similar studies such as that of Ericsson and Kintsch as in regards to the practical application of memory skills procurement as well as older studies to such as those of Atkinson and Schriffin memory model. Such studies could have positive effects not only on students around the world, but also on improving the quality of life of people who have to live with various forms of impaired memory.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cyber Crime Research Paper

Research Paper on Cyber Crime

Cyber threats – criminal and warfare activities that aim at private and/or public computers – gain increasing predominance in the list of global threats. This has to do with the increasing role of computer networks in public, business and private activities, as well as due to the growing sophistication of potential attackers. It may be also argued that none of cyber threats are as severe and material as cyber terrorism, which aims at national security and the proper functioning of other national institutions.

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As computer networks are becoming lucrative targets, both the incentive to attack them and the urgency to protect them rise and stand out from the other types of cyber threats. At least two aspects of cyber terrorism make this threat so central:

Firstly, the targets themselves (i.e. the network, servers. etc. being attacked) are usually of wider scope and scale than private and most business machines. This implies that the extent of damage done is potentially very wide, as well as the extent of people and processes involved.

Secondly, the mere thought that terrorists gain knowledge and experience in penetrating national computer networks is very troubling. Gradual improvements in cyber terrorists’ capabilities might be left unnoticed, as terrorists (unlike criminals) may wait years until they attack, while gathering valuable information and improving their skills throughout.

The U.S. is no stranger to cyber warfare and counter-terrorism, although much of the activities in this field probably remain unknown. The 2009 establishment of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) marked a significant leap forward in this direction. With its various departments (albeit some of them are not directly involved in cyber counter-terrorism), USCYBERCOM seems to represent a comprehensive approach of the Armed Forces towards cyber threats. Some of the major operations include securing communication networks and encrypting; securing databases and other sources of information; and protecting the computers, information stored and processed in them, and the networks in which they operate. The task forces of the USCYBERCOM join other national cyber defense organizations, most notably the cyber operations of the Department of Homeland security.

Notwithstanding the recent developments in this field, it is still uncertain that the U.S. is active enough in countering cyber terrorism. This is mainly because the latter (in a similar manner to guerrilla warfare) can be characterized as a very dynamic and rapidly changing array of threats, whereas the identity of the terrorist on the other side is very often unknown (as occurs in many other cases of cyber crime). Hence, USCYBERCOM and similar bodies can be effective only is they will be able to be as dynamic as their enemies, and only while working in close cooperation with international bodies. Since the USCYBERCOM just became operational last year it is impossible to determine its effectiveness. However, greater awareness to those threats and proper prioritization seem to have been taken into action already.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Essay on Government

Essay on Government

Taking into consideration the fact that the government promotes trade and other types of relationships between all the parties involved, one may suggest on equal attitude to producers and consumers. In order to deepen into the concern, the interest of both parties should be evaluated.

The term ‘producers’ usually applies to the companies that maintain own production cycle. Briefly, a cycle for the random company includes purchasing and allocation of raw materials used in production, manufacturing itself, and distribution of the ready-made goods throughout a certain geographical location.

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The government regards each company as an economic unit that benefits the country in different ways: the company pays taxes, employs the work force, and utilizes the tangible resources of the country. Taxes from the legal entities and corporate bodies are the main source of profit for the government, so one of the main concerns of the government is to provide possibilities and facilities for trade within the country or outside its borders. The work force usually comprises of the citizens in the country, and by giving them job, the government decreases the level of unemployment saving the state budget. Each country possesses a certain amount of limited natural resources which belong to it. The government benefits by selling them or delivering the right of negotiation to the third parties.

The aforementioned factors also fall under the extension and specification. By arranging a foreign trade exchange of goods, the country appears more recognizable on the international market and affords to improve the image of the country. Let us remember IKEA, the world’s leading manufacturer of furniture and household appliances, which is one of the most well-known Swedish companies globally. One may also notice that the corporate colours of IKEA coincide with the colours of the Swedish national flag.

The term ‘consumers’ is used when identifying businesses and individuals with purchasing abilities. Purchase of domestic products means not only the customer satisfaction of needs but also the increase in GDP, the gross domestic product. It is a valuable measure of how well the country does because it influences the living standards and witnesses about the development of infrastructure and level of resource utilization. Therefore, the consumers are significant to the government as well.

Individuals are the human capital of the country which participates in the production processes. Groups of individuals make up institutions and organizations that may be involved either in management, production, trade or any other governmental or non-governmental activity. So businesses and governmental establishments may also be the consumers. The trade which occurs between two or more corporate bodies is known as business-to-business market, or B2B market. Even in this case, both businesses may be involved in manufacturing. This means that a certain company may be a producer and a consumer at the same time. The question arises: how should the government then treat such a company?

If to pursue the interests of the only party, the other party may suffer. Individual consumers may experience frustration and dissatisfaction with the products and their delivery, service or attitude, while ignoring the interest of businesses may lead to losses, recession, and instability.

Anyway, it is not always feasible to meet the desires and requirements of all affected sides. If the government has to make a strict choice, the trade policy should primarily benefit the producers. There are several reasons for that. At first, nowadays businesses struggle for their customers, so that the customer is free to choose among the high variety of suppliers and producers. They all try to convince the customer, and there is no need for the government to interfere. At second, the more producers are located in the country, the more parties including businesses and the government benefit. Among them, there may be conglomerates and businesses that produce goods or provide services for other businesses. Based on this, one may treat a service provider company as a production company as well. On the contrary, if the country has insignificant production facilities and limited number of manufacturers, it is better to concentrate on the interests of consumers rather than producers. At last, by pursuing the interests of businesses, the government may seldom target the interests of their employees. Employees are the individual consumers that have own preferences and will not probably depend on the benefits provided to their employer. They should be targeted separately, and mainly the network of small and large business enterprises is responsible for satisfying their interests. Consequently, there are still some closed countries like Belarus where the consumer interests equal needs because the government determines the access to the products and controls the production in the country.

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