The Role Of Memory

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Memory is defined as the cognitive system or systems for storing and retrieving information and is a very crucial aspect of our cognition. It is an important part of what makes us truly human and is far more complex than the popular metaphors used to imagine or describe it, such as a filing cabinet or a super computer. In the light of modern psychological and biological knowledge, experts believe that it is one of the most elusive and misunderstood of human attributes. Recognizing the central role of memory, researchers and psychologists have studied it systematically for more than one hundred years. In fact, memory was the focus of some of the earliest research in psychology- studies conducted by Herman Ebbinghaus in 1855 using himself
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Kandel studied sea snails and other animals with simple nervous systems in an attempt to explain what memories are: synapses or cells? Kandel stimulated the snails’ sensory neurons directly with electrodes. By a process of elimination, neuron by neuron, he mapped out the entire neural circuit of a simple behavior in the snails (the gill-withdrawal reflex) that changes and learns in response to its environment. Then, by removing parts of the circuit to a petri dish and subjecting the neurons to electric shocks and different chemicals, this changed the three neuron circuit in the snail. Function of the neuron changed with increase in the amount of the neurotransmitter produced by the neuron. Structure of the neuron changed with the number of interconnecting dendrites and axon terminals increasing allowing for more communication points (synapses).with this he determined many of the chemical pathways that mediate memory formation. It should be noted that prior to Kandel’s discovery, scientists knew that some kind of chemical change must occur between neurons when we learn. It is fair to ask just how much we can generalize from the slow snails to humans. Research using different species has produced similar results. But, the model is limited to memories that pattern behavior, called implicit or procedural…show more content…
For instance recently it has been suggested that the hippocampus plays main role in the merging of memories, allowing them to be stored in the cerebral cortex of the brain. Richard Thompson sought the engram in the cerebellum, rather than the cerebral cortex. He used classical conditioning of the eyelid response in rabbits in search of the engram. He puffed air upon the cornea of the eye and paired it with a tone. (This puff normally causes an automatic blinking response. After a number of experiences associating it with a tone, the rabbits became conditioned to blink when they heard the tone even without a puff.) The experiment monitored several brain regions, trying to locate the
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