How Memories are Formed and Maintained in The Brain

Memory and Brain Mechanism

The brain refers to a body organ that is accountable for the mind. It is the foundation for thinking, behavior, feeling, curiosity, wanting, memory and learning, wanting, and perceiving. Memory is an important mental process and without it, humans are not capable of doing anything other than stereotyped behaviors and simple reflexes. Memory is defined as behavioral change as a result of an experience. Memory is acquired through learning. Learning changes the brain’s physical structure. This means exposure to varying environments results in the collection of different information which enhances brain formation and expansion of memory (Brem et al., 2013). The brain can retain the memory based on the frequency of exposure or encounters. The best way the brain can record and maintain this memory is through neural circuitry.

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How Memories are formed in the brain and how they are maintained

Humans experience the world via the five senses that including smell, touch, taste, sight, and hearing. Each sense is analyzed by unique receptors on the body surface and then transmitted to the brain area regarded as the cortex. This is where most sensations are interpreted and turn conscious. Every sensation is represented in a particular part of the sensory cortical. Memory is formed when a sensory organ transmits (synapses) the acquired information through its sensory cortex to the brain. Each specific neuron group record a specific experience in the brain. Memory is the reactivation of a particular neuron group formed from consistent modifications in the strengths of the connections between neurons.

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These connections can be strengthened or weakened based on how often and when they have been invoked in the past. Active links are inclined to be stronger while those that are not frequently invoked tend to disappear with time.  According to Kampa et al. (2011), the replay or repetition of events helps in their consolidation in the brain, making it easy to recall them and make it part of an experience that can mold behaviors.  

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Are Our Memories Accurate?

Memory varies in accuracy based on various factors. One of the factors is the frequency in which an event occurred and the impact it created. Normal events that occur occasionally are more likely to be memorized and remembered more accurately than events that happened once. Life events with high impact are more likely to be remembered accurately, especially since they are narrated more often. This mostly happens when an event is recorded by many people who keep on narrating it to each other. Also, events that happened at an anticipated time in life such as birthdays, marriages, and graduations are more accurately remembered than haphazard events that happened by chance (Diamond & Levine, 2019).\

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The memory accuracy is determined by the importance of the event and how frequently an event is retrieved from the memory. It also depends on when last the event was experienced. Long-time events are more likely to remember with lost details, especially when not revisited frequently. Memory accuracy is also determined by age. The brain structure changes with age, and it shrinks as one ages. This reduces the amount of information the brain can hold and hence, losing details about past events with time. This means memory is not always accurate as accuracy is influenced by so many factors (Ebbesen & Rienick, 1998).

How Memory is Stored in the Brain; Working Memory vs. Long Term Memory

Working memory is associated with temporary neuron activation in the brain. On the contrary, long-term memory is regarded as the physical modification of neurons and their links. It involves information held in the virtual memory to permit the performance of an act. In most cases, working memory does not get to be pushed further in the neurocircuitry. It is neither stored nor memorized. It is likely to be forgotten the moment one is done with that particular activity. The brain is said to store information by altering the strength of the connection between neurons. The connection stands for a unique junction via which information is conveyed from one neuron to another.

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This synaptic transmission can be extensively separated into two steps that include a transmitting step where the chemical signal is released by a pre-synaptic or first neuron regarded as a neurotransmitter. The second step is a receptive step where the transmitter binds to particular receptors situated on the post-synaptic or second neuron surface. In every neuron, then the information is unidirectionally propagated from its receptive location such as dendrites, cell body, or spines to the axon. The axon ends with minute swelling regarded as varicosities that are filled with neurotransmitter packages. Long-term memory is acquired through learning and repetitive events that help in memory consolidation. Long-term is associated with the change in the brain structure that includes an increase in cortical thickness and brain size, mostly due to an increase in the size and number of synapses (Rose et al., 2010).

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How Brain and Memory Systems Knowledge can be used to Assist Individuals Suffering from Memory Problems

Most individuals suffering from various mental conditions are likely to have been exposed to a life event with a high impact. The event may have happened once but in an intense manner or repeatedly for a long time. In most cases, such an event might have been recorded by more than one sensory organ, making it to be reinitiated by different unique cortex receptors. This results in the transmission of this event in long-term memory. According to Kampa et al. (2011), the occurrence of an event of high impact can result in its replay in the mind especially when a person is sleeping.

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This results in the consolidation of such experience in the brain, influencing the brain structure and forming long-term memory. This is most cases re-invokes the initial body reaction it created when it first happened. Consequently, such an incident is likely to cause mental issues such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. The knowledge of the brain and memory system helps in understanding how these events might have affected the brain, guiding it on how to reprogram the brain to release them and restructure it to eliminate that problem.

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Memory serves as an important part of human life. It is mostly formed through a neural circuit that dictates the amount of information that is likely to be stored in someone’s brain for later use. The level of individual brain formation is mostly associated with the individual environment. People who record more fascinating and frequent events are more likely to experience more stable memory and extensive brain growth. However, those who experience different mild events are unlikely to store enough information to accurately retrieve it in the future. Such information gets lost with time. Such individuals experience limited brain growth and a low level of long-term memory.

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