How Does Memory Work
âMemory is a highly complex process that depends on three stages:â
- Encoding: assessing the importance of information and deciding if itâs worth keeping
- Storing: keeping the information in such a state as to be available as needed
- Recalling: the retrieval of information, which we experience as remembering
Your brain is continually evaluating the relevance and significance of information. When you consciously try to remember information, you employ your short-term memory. If there is value in storing the information for a longer duration, your mind will work to transfer information to the long-term memory.
First Anatomical And Functional Evidence
Another author of the research named Nathan Cashdollar, points out that although other recent observations had already begun to challenge the classic distinction between short-term and long-term memory and its relationship with the hippocampus, this theory has been maintained for almost half a century.
The importance of the results obtained in this research is that they represent the first anatomical and functional evidence of the mechanisms that are shared in the formation of short and long-term memories, and which are independent in said formation.
Thanks to them, it is now known that there are two distinct networks on which short-term memory is based. One functions independently of the hippocampus, and therefore is not affected by disorders that affect this region of the brain, while the other depends on it.
The results of this research have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .
Pathologies And Disorders Associated With Short
If the different types of memory were not independent, when one failed, they would all fail. Fortunately, the brain dedicates different areas to each of the types of memory, so altering the MLP, for example, does not have to affect the MCP.
In general, all types of memory work together and it would be very difficult to decipher where one begins and another ends. On the other hand, when one of them is damaged, our brain cannot carry out its function, with fatal consequences in our daily lives.
Short-term memory impairment can reduce both the time and the amount of items you handle. Thus, in a slight alteration, perhaps we can retain less amount of information for less time, so it would be a little visible damage. On the other hand, a serious alteration could practically disable the function of the MCP, with very important consequences.
Short-term memory can be damaged in a number of ways. MCP has been seen to be altered in moderate stages of Alzheimers disease, although damage to MLP is much more prominent in this disease.
The importance of short-term memory in dyslexia has also been pointed out, since the difficulty of storing phonological information can lead to problems in the acquisition of reading.
Additionally, marijuana use is another factor that can affect the integrity of the CCM. Brain damage from a stroke or head injury may also impair short-term memory.
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Learning Recalling And Thinking
The brain regulates an array of functions necessary to survival: the action of our five senses, the continuous monitoring of the spatial surround, contraction and relaxation of the digestive muscles, the rhythms of breathing and a regular heartbeat. As the vital functions maintain their steady course without our conscious exertion, we are accustomed to consider the brain as preeminently the organ of thought. The brain houses our mind and our memories, and we rely on its information-processing capacities when we set out to learn something new.
But where in the brain can we locate memory or thought itself? offered some clues about the ways scientific investigationfrom the molecular level to studies of the alert, behaving animalhas begun to define in physical terms an abstract quality such as “attention.” Similar techniques and approaches are being applied to other mental functions, too, even those as seemingly intangible as learning, remembering, or thinking about the outside world.
Learning and memory, which for many years were considered central problems in psychology, the social sciences, and philosophy, have recently assumed greater importance in the area of neurobiology, itself a confluence of several lines of investigation.
Most available evidence suggests that the functions of memory are carried out by the hippocampus and other related structures in the temporal lobe.
Memory Storage In Brain
Generally, we might see a similarity in storage devices or a hard drive and brain, but they are hardly alike. Unlike storage devices, memory in mind is not stored at a specific location. And brain structure is not like a hard drive. It is much more complex, and memories are stored all over it. This is evident from the brain scan. Suppose we are looking at the brain activity of a person recalling a past event. The image will show several neurons firing up located in several different parts of the brain. Let us see how it is stored.
Hippocampus that is involved in making memory comes in and takes the aggregate of several short-termed memories. Suppose the memory for the graduation party can include the food you taste, what you feel like, and what the house smells like. In short, there are several small chunks of memory involved. Hippocampus takes the whole piece and assigns them specific places in the brain center, like the smell, will go to the olfactory region, and sounds go to the auditory area. The neurons on which these are written make connections with each other. This develops a big large memory circuit. The way these connections are made forms the indexing or the flow of how you remember a particular thing.
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The Neuroscience Of Memory Recall
So, how do you fine-tune and upgrade that mental Ethernet connection to have a stronger memory recall? By building strong neural pathways.
Basically, to have a powerful memory recall means to have strong synaptic connections the better your cells are able to communicate with each other, the more quickly and accurately you will be able to access memories.
You can strengthen these synaptic connections by sending the signal more frequently and having the neurons communicate more often. This paves a strong and clear neural pathway its like when a hiking path is more traveled, its easier to walk along.
The brain works this way because it is neuroplastic, meaning that it is constantly changing shape and form to suit your present needs. For instance, do you really need to remember all of the kids names you went to elementary school with?
Since you dont, your brain works in this handy use it or lose it fashion. Thanks to this process of neuroplasticity, your brain is able to constantly take in new information and sharply perform the needs of now.
Perirhinal And Lateral Entorhinal Cortex
Substantial evidence from studies on animals indicates that neurons in the perirhinal cortex and lateral entorhinal cortex are involved in the representation of and memory for individual perceptual stimuli. Electrophysiological studies on monkeys and rats performing simple recognition tasks have shown that many cells in the perirhinal cortex exhibit enhanced or suppressed responses to stimuli when they re-appear in a recognition test . Complementary studies in animals with damage to the perirhinal cortex indicate that this area may be critical to memory for individual stimuli in the delayed nonmatching to sample task in rats and monkeys . These and other data have led several investigators to the view that the perirhinal cortex is specialized for identifying the strength of memories for individual stimuli .
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Emotions And False Memories
A flashbulb memory is a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid episodic memory of the circumstances surrounding a piece of surprising, consequential, or emotionally arousing news was heard. However, even flashbulb memories can have decreased accuracy with the passage of time, even with very important events. For example, on at least three occasions, when asked how he heard about the terrorist attacks of 9/11, President George W. Bush responded inaccurately. In January 2002, less than 4 months after the attacks, the then sitting President Bush was asked how he heard about the attacks. He responded:
I was sitting there, and my Chief of Staffwell, first of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And you know, I thought it was pilot error and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake.
Contrary to what President Bush recalled, no one saw the first plane hit, except people on the ground near the twin towers. The first plane was not videotaped because it was a normal Tuesday morning in New York City, until the first plane hit.
Long Term Memory: How Much Do We Really Remember
What part of the brain controls long term memory? Scientists used to think that people remembered everything that had ever happened to them, and memories only became inaccessible because the cues were lost over time. However, this is not the casememories do fade over time at the cellular level.
Memories fade most quickly in the hours and days after forming. Anything thats left after a month tends to stay with us long-term. Interestingly, our memories change over time. We tend to remember our oldest memories in third person, as if we were watching them, and our newer memories from our own points of view. Sometimes our memories change so much they no longer even accurately record what happened.
Why dont we remember anything before we were three or four? This has everything to do with what part of the brain controls long term memory. This should have been a very memorable time our liveseverything we encountered was new. It could be due to a few reasons: our brains arent fully developed until were three or four, most of our early learning is unconscious, and we dont have language or a large existing web of associations. Even when we encounter new things, if we dont have anything already in our heads to associate them with, they dont stick.
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Neurocircuitry Of Episodic Memory: Perspectives From Animal Research Anatomy
Episodic memory is supported by a large network of brain areas, including widespread neocortical association areas and components of the MTL including both the parahippocampal cortical areas and the hippocampus. The anatomical organization of the major pathways of interaction between the neocortex and the medial temporal areas, as well as the organization of medial temporal areas themselves, is also largely conserved across mammalian species from rodents to primates .
Anatomy Of The Hippocampus
The anatomy of the hippocampus is of chief importance to its function. The hippocampus receives input from and sends output to the rest of the brain via a structure known as the entorhinal cortex, which is located beneath the anterior region of the hippocampus. The hippocampal formation itself is composed of several subregions, which include the cornu ammonis , the dentate gyrus, and the subiculum.
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What Part Of The Brain Controls Memory
The more you understand how your memory works, the better youll be able to improve it. In this article, we will explore how memory works and what part of the brain controls memory. Before we begin delving into the neural geography of memory, it is important to fully answer the question, how does memory work?
The more you understand how your memory works, the better youll be able to improve it. In this article, we will explore how memory works and what part of the brain controls memory.
What Part Of The Brain Controls Short
Memory is a function of the brain and at the same time a cognitive process that allows us to encode, store and later retrieve information or experiences. It is the result of synaptic connections between neurons that, over time, create a series of neural networks, which are what allow us to keep memories relatively stable over time.
There are different types of memory, one of the most used classifications refers to its temporal scope, so that there is short-term, medium-term and long-term memory.
Now, in this post we are going to answer the question What part of the brain controls short-term memory? We will introduce you to what short-term memory consists of and what brain structures are responsible for this type of memory, as well as the conditions that can affect it.
How Does Short Term Memory Become Long Term
The consolidation of long-term memory occurs in the brain structure called the hippocampus and this happens during our hours of sleep.
Now, in this post we answered the question What part of the brain controls short-term memory? We introduced you to what short-term memory consists of and what brain structures are responsible for this type of memory, as well as the conditions that can affect it.
S Of Brain Involved In Memory Processes
Technically our brain has many different compartments and they work differently to do certain functions. Not all of the brain is involved in memory. Hippocampus is the main region of the brain involved in memory processes.
When it comes to storing or making a memory Hippocampus is involved. It is the primary regulator of the process of memory retention. It is a seahorse-shaped part of the temporal lobe. It acts as a bridge in engaging all the parts of the brain required to keep a memory. Although it is not involved in retrieving, formation and consolidation are highly dependent on Hippocampus. Consolidation is the fixing or storing a memory permanently.
Suppose due to a dire turn of event someone you know had most of the part of his Hippocampus removed. This person will not be able to remember anything new. Thus, memories will not be retained. However, the ability to recall older memories that happened before removing the Hippocampus will remain unaffected.
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Ventricles And Cerebrospinal Fluid
The brain has hollow fluid-filled cavities called ventricles . Inside the ventricles is a ribbon-like structure called the choroid plexus that makes clear colorless cerebrospinal fluid . CSF flows within and around the brain and spinal cord to help cushion it from injury. This circulating fluid is constantly being absorbed and replenished.
There are two ventricles deep within the cerebral hemispheres called the lateral ventricles. They both connect with the third ventricle through a separate opening called the foramen of Monro. The third ventricle connects with the fourth ventricle through a long narrow tube called the aqueduct of Sylvius. From the fourth ventricle, CSF flows into the subarachnoid space where it bathes and cushions the brain. CSF is recycled by special structures in the superior sagittal sinus called arachnoid villi.
A balance is maintained between the amount of CSF that is absorbed and the amount that is produced. A disruption or blockage in the system can cause a build up of CSF, which can cause enlargement of the ventricles or cause a collection of fluid in the spinal cord .
Long Term Vs Short Term Memories
If we try to look into the depth of what memories are there can be two types. Based on the time limit, memories can be broadly classified into long and short-termed memories.
Short Term Memory
A short-term memory has the time span ranging from seconds to a few minutes. They are stored temporarily and then either get to the long-term memory storage, or they are discarded. Let us say someone gives us the mobile number. As the number is new so our memory will retain it for the short term. There are the possible chances that we are going to forget about this number after few moments.
Long Term Memory
These are the memories stored in the brain over a more extended period. They are several short-term memories organized to form a long memory that is stored permanently. Depending upon the importance and number of recalls, it can fade or be remembered forever. For example, you can recall your 18th birthday but not what you ate on Monday three weeks ago.
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The Cerebellum And Prefrontal Cortex
Although the hippocampus seems to be more of a processing area for explicit memories, you could still lose it and be able to create implicit memories , thanks to your cerebellum. For example, one classical conditioning experiment is to accustom subjects to blink when they are given a puff of air. When researchers damaged the cerebellums of rabbits, they discovered that the rabbits were not able to learn the conditioned eye-blink response .
Other researchers have used brain scans, including positron emission tomography scans, to learn how people process and retain information. From these studies, it seems the prefrontal cortex is involved. In one study, participants had to complete two different tasks: either looking for the letter a in words or categorizing a noun as either living or non-living . Participants were then asked which words they had previously seen. Recall was much better for the semantic task than for the perceptual task. According to PET scans, there was much more activation in the left inferior prefrontal cortex in the semantic task. In another study, encoding was associated with left frontal activity, while retrieval of information was associated with the right frontal region .
Stages Of Memory Creation Storage & Recall:
There are three main stages, namely, encoding, storage and recall. You make memories with your senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. Memories are formed when your brain processes your experiences, whether it be through consciously focusing on something or subconsciously making associations .
Every new experience triggers the creation of new connections in the brain. Meanwhile, it also rewires itself through the process called neuroplasticity.Here follows a brief overview of the three stages involved in memory:
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