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Short-term memory is how your brain stores all of the information it has just received — everything from why you walked into a room to the name of someone you just met. Short-term memory loss involves forgetting recently learned things. Scientists often divide short-term memory into short-term and working memory, but most people do not make this distinction.

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1. How Does Memory Work?

Humans first process things using sensory memory. The brain holds sensory memories for less than a second before transferring them to short-term memory. Short-term memories are stored for between 20 and 30 seconds, which is why forgetting where you put your keys might cause concern about short-term memory loss. Finally, the brain stores some past events and patterns as long-term memories, which are also known as semantic or episodic memories.

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