How Does Memory Work?

Definitions for Words I didn’t know

Neurons – A cell that sends out nerve impulses to parts of the body.

Synapses – A place where two nerve cells connect where impulses produced by a neurotransmitter pass by.

Neurotransmitter – A substance in the human body which carries impulses across synapses.

Ethernet – A system used to connect a number of computer systems to create a local  network

Cognitive – Being, relating to or involving conscious intellectual activity such as thinking or reasoning.

Summary of “How Does Memory Work”

The strength of the communication between neurons determine how a memory is formed. Neurons communicate with each other through synapses when they receive certain stimulation from the same neurotransmitters many times. Science Daily compares this to “plugging your laptop into an Ethernet cable — the strength of the network determines how the event is translated into your brain”. The repeated strengthening of the connections between neurons is called long-term potentiation (LTP). When the LTP is maintained a memory can be formed. LTP can alter strength between brain cell connections. LTP happens when cells continue to talk to each without stimulation from neurotransmitters. The ability to remember certain memories depends on the strength of the LTP. Some memories are more vivid and remembered than others because the LTP is stronger, the synapses you contact them through perform at a higher rate. The more the synapses in your brain are used, the stronger they get. Cognitive loss happens when the strong LTP is lost; when the synapses are not being used as often. Science Daily compares this to how when muscles are not being used they lose their strength and how when the brain is not being used it will also weaken.

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