Sensory Register

The sensory register, also known as sensory memory, refers to the initial stage in the memory process where information from the environment is gathered and briefly stored. It involves the perception and encoding of sensory stimuli through our senses.


The sensory register has a very brief duration, typically lasting only a fraction of a second or a few seconds at most. It acts as a temporary holding system for incoming sensory information.


The capacity of the sensory register is vast, capable of processing a large amount of sensory information simultaneously. However, only a small portion of this information is transferred to the next stage of memory.


The sensory register encompasses the different sensory modalities including:

  • Visual (iconic memory) – storing visual images and patterns
  • Auditory (echoic memory) – storing sounds and echoes
  • Tactile (haptic memory) – storing touch and tactile sensations
  • Olfactory (olfactory memory) – storing smells and odors
  • Gustatory (gustatory memory) – storing tastes and flavors


Information in the sensory register is encoded in a raw or unprocessed form. It is mainly influenced by the characteristics and intensity of the sensory stimuli received.