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MilkyWay's avatar

What does research into memory tell us, about how memory is organised in the brain?

Asked by MilkyWay (13695points) September 1st, 2012

What does all the research done on memory tell us about how our brain stores memories, and how they are all organised in our mind?

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11 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This may not fit into what you are looking for, but I found it fascinating. The older we get, the less likely we are able to multitask. Here is one article on it. There was also a study done on people who were capable of multitasking in their younger years, but when the same tests were conducted on them years later, their scores slipped fairly dramatically. I recall watching a documentary on this. The interviews with the people tested over time were somewhat sad. Then again, I’d rather know that this is a factor of the brain than think that something is wrong with me.

Another example is the study of people diagnosed with autism or any other mental disorder. They just relate to life in a different way. Their brain works differently. Until we understand why, how can we properly assist them?

MilkyWay's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer That was an awesome read, even though not what I was looking for. Thanks Pie :D

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Can you please expand upon what it is that you are looking for? Are there specific examples you can give?

MilkyWay's avatar

Fort example, without going into it too deeply, there are two types of memory.
LTM and STM, Long term memory and Short term memory.
I wanted to know how the brain processes the information/memory it recieves, and how it stores/
There has been quite a lot of research going into this, so I wanted to know if there have been any breakthroughs or any theories on the matter.

gasman's avatar

Despite tons of research, I believe the basic molecular mechanism of memory (humans or worms) is unknown. There’s evidence implicating proteins, nucleic acids, and synaptic connections, but the field is begging for a breakthrough.

ruckij's avatar

Did you see Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher? I do honestly believe it is like that. A giant memory warehouse. A file room that stores everything by topic and even has a junk room for the things we want to forget.

LostInParadise's avatar

One thing that has always fascinated me is the process of retrieving memories. Suppose that you have forgotten a name of something. How do you try to retrieve it? You might imagine times when you were using it. We have connections between memories, so you try to think of related things that might jog the memory.Perhaps you give up, and later that day, when you are busy doing something else, the name pops into your head. How does that happen? Was there some autonomous process in the brain working in the background looking for the name? Was there some unexplainable connection between the name and what you are currently doing? I would love to know how memories connect to one another.

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HolographicUniverse's avatar


What research has discovered is the basic arbitrary explanation of how we process and store memories. Meaning we store memories by bits and retain them through methods such as chunking, the primacy/recency effect, distinction and association.

Physiologically its suspected we store memories in a certain area of the brain, if I recall correctly the temporal lobe, across sulcus’ ad even synaptic vessicles or dendrites (sort of like the same effect on learning)

With emerging techniques we may be near breakthrough but we haven’t quite gotten a definitive answer past the basic understanding and this is why if you research, you’ll come up with the same results.

With technology enabling EMG imagery, we may be able to start pinpointing them.

MilkyWay's avatar

@HolographicUniverse Thank you ever so much! :)

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