Sensory memory deals with the five senses: touch, hearings, sight, smell, and taste. Information from these senses are received by sensory receptors that processes them in the nervous system. This information is stored for a short amount of time, which places is it under the category of short-term memory. The process of sensory memory allows human beings to conserve collected sensory information even after the initial stimuli ends.
A good example of sensory memory is when a light “trails” after quickly moving a light source in the dark. An individual could test this by taking a light and quickly move it in a circular motion. If the light is twirled fast enough, it leaves a sustained image of a circle. This type if visual sensory data is called iconic memory. There are two other types of sensory memory known as echoic, and haptic memory.
In relation to other memory systems, sensory memory is not involved in higher cognitive functions that recalls or compares memory information. Sensory memory is an automatic response with a short span of time with each memory store. Genetics can play a role in the volume of a persons memory. If there is a mutation of a person’s brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or nerve growth factor, they may experience a decrease in echoic and iconic memory.