Memories Shape Our Perception And Reality
Everything we are and everything we will ever be is all dependent on memory. Human belief systems, perceptions, and learning are all memory related. Our consciousness is the ultimate reality of us as people with personality and preferences. Memories define actions, and actions are what we become.
Suppose you think racism was not real. But you came across literature contradicting the idea. Your perception said that it was right. So, you committed the new information to your memory. Based on which you acted differently than before. Had it not because of the mind, you might have stuck to your old beliefs.
How Memories Are Accessed
A memory of the coffee you had with a friend last week, for example, could include the taste and smell of the coffee, the cafés interior design, the sound of an ambulances siren as it drove past, and the topics of conversation you discussed. These components of your experience would have activated various parts of your neocortex. But the episode itself would initially be stored in the hippocampus. Over time this memory is consolidated, with its long-term storage thought to be distributed in different parts of the neocortex.
According to one popular theory, the hippocampus is critical, serving as a memory index. To use an analogy: when functioning well, memory is like a digital database or an old-school-style office filing cabinet: something triggers a search of the database, and we retrieve and recall the memory.
This idea of memory indexing and recollection is still only a theory.
What Part Of The Brain Is Associated With Memory
Brain memory is a complex topic, but we will do our best to break down where memories are stored in the brain by first focusing on two main different types of memory: implicit memory and explicit memory.
So, what part of the brain controls memory? All of its different, interconnected regions work together as the memory part of the brain. They each play their unique role in both memory consolidation and memory recall.
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Addiction: A Choice Or A Disease
Many people are misinformed about the disease of addiction. They commonly believe that addiction is a choice and that addicts simply choose this lifestyle.
Addiction does start with a choice the choice to try a drug or a drink. However, after a certain period of time or even after the first use that choice is no longer there. Losing the choice to use or not use is never the intended outcome. No one wakes up thinking to themselves, Im going to become an addict.
The difference between someone who is or isnt an addict comes down to the loss of choice. Someone who continues to choose to use a drug, but stops after facing consequences likely doesnt have this disease. On the other hand, someone who continues using regardless of the outcome likely has a substance abuse problem.
Losing the choice to use or drink isnt because of a lack of willpower or a lesser moral compass. It is actually controlled by the brain.
Memories Are Triggered By Senses
We now know that the memory comprises of several chunks of information. The more the sense and emotions involved, the easier it will be to access the memory. In the film Ratatouille, when Remy feeds Ratatouille to Anton, the critic gets a flashback of his mother. It shows Anton as a child, eating the same dish that was made by her mother.
This is a clear depiction of how memory works. The taste of a sensory trigger brought the memory of Anton’s mother. Thus, consciousness is based on several such connections. Similarly, a smell of perfume or a song can also take you to a trip down the memory lane because sensory stimuli are involved in accessing a certain memory.
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The Process Of Memory Consolidation
Memory consolidation is the brains ability to process events and turn them into memories.
When certain neurotransmitters are present in the brain, they enable the nerve cells to communicate with one another via synaptic connections. Once two neurons fire together more than once, they are more likely to fire together again . Once a message has been thoroughly communicated, you have memory consolidation.
The World In The Front Of The Brain
Short-term and long-term memory are not the only forms in which the brain stores information. All the time that the five senses are operating, the brain is assembling and sorting perceptions of the outside world, directing some to conscious attention and collecting others into a set of perpetually updated mental representations. Although we may seldom be aware of the full extent of these mental representations, or examine them directly, nevertheless, they hold great importance for our thought processes and our ability to carry out the simplest planned action or predictive step, even something as elementary as following a fast-moving target with our eyes. These mental representations are the data on which we base cognitionour thoughts, ideas, and abstract mental processes.
Animals, too, form complex mental representations of the world, which are shaped by their own brain structure and ecological requirements. For instance, information gathered through the sense of smell undoubtedly plays a much larger role in the mental representations of a dog than in those of a bird, which relies much more on its excellent vision to help it recognize its kin, observe the territories of its rivals, and seek out food and mates. With such differences taken into account, the study of mental representation in animals can help scientists explain similar processes in humans, particularly if the neurobiology of the animal is also under study or is well known from earlier research.
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What Part Of The Brain Decides In A Quick Response
The brain amygdala is responsible for recognition and rapid response to threatening or dangerous stimuli. In parallel, the nucleus accumbens, which is the brains reward system, is stimulated and leads to seeking pleasant activities, such as immediate responses.
Finally, the prefrontal cortex allows you to evaluate and control instinctual desires based on experience and specific context. In this way it can manage the activation of the amygdala, modulate the emotional response and, furthermore, evaluate the activation of the nucleus accumbens by weighting the weight of the gain.
Concomitantly, it inhibits impulsive behavior because it is in charge of reasoning, that is, of weighing the real danger of the situation, the short and long-term consequences, the potential benefits, etc.
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 .
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The Cerebellum And Prefrontal Cortex
The cerebellum plays a large role in implicit memories . For example, an individual with damage to their hippocampus will still demonstrate a conditioning response to blink when they are given a series of puffs of air to their eyes. However, when researchers damaged the cerebellums of rabbits, they discovered that the rabbits were not able to learn the conditioned eye-blink response . This experiment demonstrates the important role the cerebellum plays in the formation of implicit memories and conditioned responses.
Recent estimates of counts of neurons in various brain regions suggests there are about 21 to 26 billion neurons in the human cerebral cortex , and 101 billion neurons in the cerebellum , yet the cerebellum makes up roughly only 10% of the brain . The cerebellum is composed of a variety of different regions that receive projections from different parts of the brain and spinal cord, and project mainly to motor related brain systems in the frontal and parietal lobes.
In addition to contributions to implicit memory, conditioned responses, fine motor movements, posture and coordination, the cerebellum also maintains internal representations of the external world, which allow you to navigate through your living room to find your keys in complete darkness, and professional baseball players to coordinate their movement so they can catch outfield fly balls.
Understanding Parts Of The Brain
Learn about the parts of the brain and how dementia damages them, as well as about the symptoms the damage causes.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimers disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one.
A person with dementia will experience symptoms depending on the parts of the brain that are damaged, and the disease that is causing the dementia.
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Which Part Of The Brian Is Affected During Memory Loss
We already mentioned that there is not one single part of the brain that is responsible for learning or memory, so there is not a single region responsible for memory loss either.
The frontal and temporal lobes, the limbic system, and parts of the brain stem that control alertness are all involved in memory and learning. So, if any of these parts get damaged, a person can suffer memory loss or amnesia.
Cerebellum & The Prefrontal Cortex
The cerebellum and the prefrontal cortex are linked together in some way, and both also seem to be parts of the brain which help control memories.
Now, whereas the hippocampus is responsible for the creation and remembering of explicit memories, the cerebellum and the prefrontal cortex appear to play a large role in forming and keeping implicit memories, things such as procedural memory, motor learning, and classical conditioning. It is also thought that both of these parts of the brain play a big role in the way in which memories are recalled.
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What Are The 3 Major Parts Of The Brain And Their Functions
The brain has three main parts:
- The cerebrum fills up most of your skull. It is involved in remembering, problem solving, thinking, and feeling.
- The cerebellum sits at the back of your head, under the cerebrum. It controls coordination and balance.
- The brain stem sits beneath your cerebrum in front of your cerebellum.
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.
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General Discussion And Future Direction
On the other hand, even though the roles of the prefrontal cortex in working memory have been widely established, region specificity and localization in the prefrontal cortex in relation to the different working memory domains such as manipulation or delayed retention of information remain at the premature stage . It has been postulated that the neural mechanisms involved in working memory are of high-dimensionality and could not always be directly captured and investigated using neurophysiological techniques such as fMRI, EEG, or patch clamp recordings even when comparing with lesion data . According to DEsposito and Postle , human fMRI studies have demonstrated that a rostral-caudal functional gradient related to level of abstraction required of working memory along the frontal cortex might exist. Other functional gradients relating to different aspects of working memory were similarly unraveled . These proposed mechanisms with different empirical evidence point to the fact that conclusive understanding regarding working memory could not yet be achieved before the inconsistent views are reconciled.
Consequences Of The Difference
As a consequence of their disorders, at 60 minutes the participants were unable to recall details of the photos or to distinguish them from new photos.
However, according to one of the study authors, Professor Emrah Duzel, after five seconds, the patients were able to distinguish the images they had already memorized from new images , but not to recall the detailed placement of objects in the scenes .
The scientists explain that this is because there would be two different networks for the formation of short-term memories in the brain.
One of these networks would function independently of the hippocampus and would remain intact in patients with damage to the hippocampus and, consequently, with long-term memory deficits.
The other network would depend on the state of the hippocampus, and would affect the formation of short-term memories, along with the ability to form long-term memories.
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Functions Of The Frontal Lobe
The frontal lobe plays a key role in future planning, including self-management and decision-making.
People with frontal lobe damage often struggle with gathering information, remembering previous experiences, and making decisions based on this input.
Some of the many other functions the frontal lobe plays in daily functions include:
One of the most infamous frontal lobe injuries happened to railroad worker Phineas Gage.
Gage survived after a railroad spike impaled a portion of his frontal lobe. Though Gage survived, he lost his eye and much of his personality.
Gages personality dramatically changed, and the once mild-mannered worker struggled to stick to even simple plans. He became aggressive in speech and demeanor and had little impulse control.
Much of what we know about the frontal lobe comes from case reports on Gage. Those have been called into question since, however. Little is known for sure about Gages personality before his accident, and many stories about him may be exaggerated or false.
The case demonstrates a larger point about the brain, which is that our understanding of it is constantly evolving. Hence, it is not possible to accurately predict the outcome of any given frontal lobe injury, and similar injuries may develop quite differently in each person.
In general, however, damage to the frontal lobe due to a blow to the head, a stroke, growths, and diseases, can cause the following symptoms:
- speech problems
Which Part Of The Brain Is Responsible For Thinking And Memory
The majority of thinking-related processes happen in the frontal lobe. These include decision-making, problem-solving, and planning.
The frontal lobe also helps the development of cognition, language processing, and intelligence.
The temporal lobe controls other processes related to language understanding, perception, and recognition. It is also in charge of learning and memory.
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Which Part Of Brain Controls Memory
Asked by: Rex Keebler III
The main parts of the brain involved with memory are the amygdala, the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and the prefrontal cortex . The amygdala is involved in fear and fear memories. The hippocampus is associated with declarative and episodic memory as well as recognition memory.
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The human brain is hugely interconnected but three major components can be identified: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem.
The brainstem which includes the medulla, the pons and the midbrain, controls breathing, digestion, heart rate and other autonomic processes, as well as connecting the brain with the spinal cord and the rest of the body.
The cerebellum plays an important role in balance, motor control, but is also involved in some cognitive functions such as attention, language, emotional functions and in the processing of procedural memories.
The cerebrum , which makes up 75% of the brain by volume and 85% by weight, is divided by a large groove, known as the longitudinal fissure, into two distinct hemispheres. The left and right hemispheres are linked by a large bundle of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum, and also by other smaller connections called commissures.
Lobes of the cerebral cortexPicture from Wikipedia The Limbic System and Basal GangliaPicture from How Stuff Works
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The Benefits Of An Artificial Brain
Of course, the brain cannot ever be completely characterized in terms of a computer because in addition to all its computing faculties it possesses the properties of a biological organ in a living system. But, points out Gerald Edelman of the Neurosciences Institute at Rockefeller University, computers can indeed do something that, until recently, only a brain could do: they can carry out logical functions. Today, a computer can address any challenge or problem that can be described in a logical formula. This still leaves unexplored vast areas of human experience, such as perception but as described earlier in this chapter, computer and mathematical modeling on one side, and more detailed neurobiological examination on the other side, are making inroads in this area too.
An important principle of Darwin III’s nervous system is that the strength of the synaptic connections can increase selectively with greater activity when that activity leads to an adaptive end. What is ”adaptive” for Darwin III is defined by arbitrary values built into its programming. For example, the built-in principle that light is “better” than no light serves to direct and refine the system’s eye movements toward a target. Just as in living neurons, the enhanced connection provides a stronger response the next time that particular neural pathway is active.