How does memory work?

In class we have been talking about memory and how it works. I have read a text by ScienceDaily about memory and here is what I have learnt.

New Vocabulary

neurotransmitter- a chemical substance that is released by a nerve fibre which allows signals to travel across.

long-term potentiation- long lasting strength of synapses between nerve cells.

Cognitive- process of gaining knowledge

deteriorate- to wear away

impairment- being weakened


Memory is created when the neurons communicate through synaptic connection with each other when neurotransmitter are there. However, they only connect when they get the same stimulus from the same neurotransmitter. The strength can vary which changes the how strong the memory is formed. A memory is created if the long term potentiation(LTP) is sustained. This happens when each nerve cells talk to each other at an elevated rate. The brain starts to lose it’s memory when the neurons start to decrease and don’t connect as much as they used to before. This is just like our muscles in the body. When we don’t use the muscles for a very long time they start to gradually lose their strength and weaken their strength.

Nature VS Nurture

Nature VS Nurture has been one of the topic of our new unit Physiology. Nature means what we can already do without being taught. For example, being able to blink your eyes is a natural thing because we we naturally able to do this since the day we were able to open our eyes. Most physical characteristics are nature based. Nurture means what you have been taught by the surrounding around you such as from your parents and friends. For example, how to be able to eat with a chopstick is a nurture thing because I wasn’t able to use the chopstick instantly when I saw them.

Is our behaviour dictated by our gender or environment around us? 

One of the biggest thing that dictates our behaviour is gender. A study was done in Cambridge University. Adults were handed a baby to look after. All of the adults tested automatically suggested the stereotypical toys to the child. So for the boys they mainly gave them the trucks and the airplanes. Whereas for the girls they were given toys such as dolls. This means from a young age the children are brought up in a certain way which makes them act in a certain way. Also adults more strictly discourage boys to play with dolls. Adults play a bit role in the nurture part of teaching the children but what about the nature part. There was another test done in Woburn Safari park by Professor Melissa Hines at the Cambridge University using monkeys who haven’t been socialized. The professor laid down a couple of toys such as firetrucks, airplanes and few dolls for the monkeys to choose from. As a result the female monkeys went to grab for the feminine toys and same for the other gender.

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong answer to whether behaviour is affected by nature or nurture. In solution behaviour is affected by both a combination of nature and nurture.