The Neural basis of Memory Essay


From retrieving your front-runner vocal wordss to your family’s birthdays, our encephalon seems to keep unbounded sums of information which we are able to turn up and utilize at any given clip. Remembering is a map where one recalls a piece of information they require from their memory. However the information that is recalled was non ever at that place ; prior to being recalled the procedure in which one acquired the given information occurred, this procedure is larning. ( Martini and Ober, 2012 ) There are many different signifiers of memory and larning such as short term memory, where information is acquired immediately and long term memory where information is acquired easy and laboriously ; there is besides declaratory versus procedural memory, spacial memory and the consolidation of memory. ( Kesner and Martinez, 2007 ) Memory is non held in one single country of the encephalon, instead there are legion countries of the encephalon that communicate and shop memories. ( Shimamura, 2003 ) Memory is a map we merely could non populate without, but how is our encephalon able to larn, shop and entree this information apparently outright? The reply lies in the most basic unit of the encephalon, the nerve cell

Neuron Communication

Spanish anatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal was responsible for the find of nerve cells and their construction. He besides was the first to reason that the figure and strength of connexions between nerve cells is straight related to memory. ( Eichenbaum, 2008 ) When an action potency is triggered in a nerve cell, it travels down the axon and to the synapse, from the synapse neurotransmitters are realised which carry the signal to trip the synaptic potency in the dendrite of the following nerve cell. The size of the synaptic potency is of import as it determines its consequence on the following nerve cell, the size of the synaptic potency is dependent upon the strength of the connexion. Learning influences the size and the fire forms of a nerve cell and finally the creative activity of a memory. ( Eichenbaum, 2008 )


Via the usage of neuroimaging researches are able to analyzing specific parts of the encephalon in which become active while a specific undertaking is being performed. This technique has been used to turn out the importance of the prefrontal cerebral mantle in the retrieval of memory. While participants were asked to execute a memory retrieval undertaking it was seen that the prefrontal cerebral mantle was peculiarly active. When the undertaking was verbal the left prefrontal cerebral mantle was found to be really active whereas undertakings with spacial information the right side of the prefrontal cerebral mantle was peculiarly active. ( Shimamura, 2003 ) Working memory is peculiarly of import in the acquisition procedure as it actively searches for other information in which the new information can associate to, invariably pull stringsing it to accommodate already stored memory. Once this is complete the hippocampus converts this short term memory to long term memory. The more connexions that can be made with the new information the better the information is stored in memory. ( Shimamura, 2003 )

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At a cellular degree there are surveies into the exact ways in which memory architecture can be modelled ; either in analogue or in series and the consequences conclude that memory uses a complex combination of the two. ( Hermundstad, Brown, Bassett and Carlson, 2011 ) Memory is a complex circuit consisting of nerve cells linking in series and parallel, these circuits can stretch from onside of the encephalon to the other nevertheless it is easier to visualize the encephalon in parts when it comes to memory. ( Shimamura, 2003 ) In 1969 it was known that certain signifiers of memory were stored in certain countries of the encephalon such as the hippocampus and median lobe. ( K and el, 2012 ) However, merely in the past century has the apprehension of memory has been advanced significantly by uniting neuroscience with cognitive neuroscience. ( Shimamura, 2003 )

Patient H.M, merely known by his initials, is one of the most cited neurological patients and has helped do a important progress in understanding memory. Patient H.M underwent an experimental surgery which involved the remotion of encephalon tissue from the median temporal cerebral mantle, a part of the intellectual cerebral mantle that encompassed the interior surface of the temporal lobe and the remotion of the hippocampus in order to command epileptic ictuss. The consequence of the surgery was a decrease in epileptic ictuss nevertheless he was besides left with organic memory loss. ( Squire, 2009 ) Other surveies in persons who have suffered harm to their median temporal cerebral mantle via a shot or tumours have besides shown they suffer from organic memory loss. From this a outstanding position of the map of the median temporal cerebral mantle was draw which suggested that it is responsible for associating current experiences to those before it. Without this ability the memory of current experiences would fade out into fragments which would non associate to any peculiar clip or topographic point. ( Shimamura, 2003 )

Despite patient H.M holding organic memory loss, he is able to retrieve a short series of Numberss until he is distracted by another signifier of information. This indicates that patient H.M’s working memory is functional. ( Shimamura, 2003 ) Working memory is a set of operations that support the active keeping of information for a brief minute in clip. Working memory enables us to choose retrieve and maintain information for a short period. The country believed to be responsible for working memory is the prefrontal cerebral mantle. ( Sreenivasan, Curtis and D’Esposito, 2014 ) However there are current theories and surveies that indicate that working memory may be stored in the centripetal cerebral mantle. ( Sreenivasan, Curtis and D’Esposito, 2014 ) However within the prefrontal cerebral mantle is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the country of the encephalon responsible for the transition of short term memory to long term memory. ( Brown and Aggleton, 2001 ) This is why patient H.M is able to retain a short figure series boulder clay he is distracted and can no longer retrieve neither the sequence nor the blink of an eye in which he was told to retrieve them, as his hippocampus was removed during surgery. ( Squire, 2009 )

Memory Location

Once the hippocampus converts short term memory to long term memory the location of the memory is unknown. Karl Lashley performed an experiment in which he trained rats to finish a labyrinth in a peculiar manner in order to obtain nutrient. Once this preparation was complete he would do lesions in the rat’s encephalon and acquire the rat to execute the same labyrinth as it was trained to finish station the lesions. Karl Lashley found that regardless of the location of the lesions on the rat’s encephalon the impaired public presentation of the rat was the same. The lone determination was that the damage was determined by the size of the lesion non its location. From this he concluded that that there is no individual location of memory instead it is distributed widely in the encephalon. ( Eichenbaum, 2008 ) This decision went against the positions of the clip which modeled memory as a filing cabinet, where all associating memory was in one location. Today neuroscientists take into consideration both theoretical accounts of distribution and localisation of memory as memory storage appears to be distributed in broad parts of the encephalon, nevertheless certain parts of memory such as that of face acknowledgment can be lost or disrupted by specific encephalon harm, this damage is called prosopagnosia. However utilizing the distribution theory, when one recalls a specific event they recall the sight, odor and feel of that peculiar event from all different parts of the encephalon non merely one localised country. ( Shimamura, 2003 )

Damages such as prosopagnosia in which occurs due to damage to the ventral posterior part of the intellectual part renders the patient unable to recognize faces does non wipe out the full memory of the person. Peoples with this status are able to recognize the voices of people they know. To cast on the manner in which memory is store a PET survey was conducted in which persons were shown images of tools, animate beings or non-sense signifiers which were used as a control, while their encephalon activity was being monitored. The consequences showed that the active portion of the encephalon for the stimulation, irrespective of being a tool or animate being, was bilateral countries in the ventral cerebral mantle proposing that sematic cognition of both animate beings and tools have a wide and overlapping representation ; nevertheless there was distinguishable differences besides detected. The drawings of animate beings activated countries in the occipital cerebral mantle, a part known for ocular processing, whereas the drawings of the tools activated countries in the frontlet cerebral mantle which are premotor countries. This suggests that memory is stored harmonizing to the information obtained and how it is used for illustration animate beings are encountered visually whereas tools are used and manipulated. From this it was concluded that memory is non merely stored in one point alternatively they are stored harmonizing to the mode in which they have been used or encoded. ( Shimamura, 2003 )

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory is associated with accomplishments and skilled behaviors. Activities such as driving a auto, swimming and reading are a type of procedural memory. It is linked specifically with nervous circuits that modify perceptual and motor maps and unambiguously appears to be independent from the median temporal cerebral mantle. Procedural memory can happen without witting cognition or consciousness of the preparation session. ( Ward, Shum, Wallace and Boon, 2002 ) Such as patient H.M, he is able to larning motor accomplishments and performs them even the undermentioned twenty-four hours even though he has no remembrance of the acquisition procedure ; ( Squire, 2009 ) other patients with organic memory loss and encephalon harm of the median temporal cerebral mantle besides exhibit the same traits. ( Shimamura, 2003 ) Another illustration of procedural memory is the Pavolvian classical conditioning, where a tone is paired with a whiff of air to the oculus, doing the topic to bling. After a few trails the topic will wink automatically when they hear the tone itself, this is a signifier of fright conditioning. Procedural memory is assumed to be dependent on the unimodal sensory system in the posterior cerebral mantle and motor and premotor systems in the frontal cerebral mantle. ( Shimamura, 2003 ) Imaging surveies have found in peculiar in the countries specified the cerebellum and basal ganglia are peculiarly active in skilled behaviour.



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