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Assignment: Cognitive Neuroscience Essay

Assignment: Cognitive Neuroscience Essay

 

Learning is one of the fascinating processes of the human brain as it is a complex aspect of acquiring new memories. The information gathered either through experience or studying history must also be stored and used as raw ingredients when needed. Memory and storage are therefore key functions of the brain, which influence the ability of humans to learn. However, the process by which the human brain filters and stores information to protect us from overload of these data is a complex area of study not readily understood. Further, techniques on how to improve storage and memory to enable people to scale up their performance is an area of concern that requires research. The present study focuses on how memory are formed and stored in the brain in an analysis of the neural circuitry process.

Similarities and Differences between Working Memory and Long-Term Memory

            Exploration of the distinctions in the working memory as well as long-term memory is vital in developing an understanding of the memory function of the brain is organized. Both working and long-term memory can be used for retrieval practice to facilitate recall processes (Jeneson & Squire, 2012). Besides, the two memories help in the utilization of the stored information to manipulate the outcome of an event. However, the two memories are distinguished based on the duration of information. Long-term memory entails the storage and retention of information for a long period. It manifests in events of life experiences, the ability to speak a specific language and the development of cognitive skills on how to accomplish a task. Working memory, on the other hand, has a shorter retention period at an average period of two seconds or less. Long-term memory is used as a platform for storing information that is used at all times while working memory helps human to complete immediate tasks.

How Memory is Formed and Maintained in the Brain

Processes involved in the development of memory in human include encoding, storage, and recall. It starts with a perception of stimuli for an individual.  The brain rumbles with activities of 100 billion neurons, which reflect human thought, perception, and action. These nerve cells work by sending signals so that each cell communicate with one another. Each of the neurons can link with over 10,000 connections to release neurotransmitters that bind to specific receptors to produce signals (Rose et al., 2010). Memory commences with the reactivation of nerve cells based on the changes that occur between the connections in the neurons. An association between different neurons and the brain at the synaptic joints causes an action potential which initiates the strengths of the brain cells. The synaptic connections result in a network of neuronal circuits and these influence the functioning of the brain. Weak connections between neurons cause a spike occurs synaptic strengths leading to the formation of long-term potential (LTP) as well as long-term depression (LTD). These changes in synaptic strengths through the addition and removal of neurons is potential in memory development (van Kesteren et al., 2012). However, the neuronal circuits in the human brain are constantly adjusted through daily experience in life. These changes that cause synaptic communications between neurons is referred to as synaptic plasticity. The latter is a critical component in the development of higher brain function as evidenced through learning and development of memory.

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When it is Adaptive to Remember and when it is Adaptive to Forget

One needs to remember occasions when an activity that had a remarkable impact on the development of life was developed.

Assignment Cognitive Neuroscience Essay

Assignment Cognitive Neuroscience Essay

These may include an innovative concept or an idea that solved a given challenge. Developing memories about past positive actions offer a platform for quality improvement and motivation on recommendations for improvements in future practice. However, when a past activity is associated with hurtful memories, then it would be appropriate to forget such incidences to allow one to pursue positive endeavors in life. For instance, incidences of rape, the demise of a member of family, violence, and dismissal at the workplace can engender fear which compromises the quality of health among human. One can forget the bad memories by engaging in positive activities that guarantee satisfaction in life. Athletics, dance and drama can inculcate a positive perception about life for victims of violence.

Are Our Memories Accurate?

Yes. Our memories are defined by the neuronal connections in the specific parts of the human brain. These form a circuit system that connects our sensory experience with the actual activities undertaken over the past days. Besides, our memories replay the experience to encode and maintain the thoughts in the last decades. Our memory involves recalling of activities of the neurons initiated by the synaptic plasticity at the synaptic connections. Information from the sensory receptors converge in the hippocampus and is encoded where they came from (van Kesteren et al., 2012). This allows a comparison between the previously recorded memories with current developed new facts to reconstruct elements learned. Our memory is therefore accurate as it is a repetition of new facts compared with the previous information stored in the brain.

How the Brain and Memory System Can Help People With Memory Problems

The memory system is used to gauge the ability of people to forget information. Forgetting concepts is considered a normal phenomenon in human but is specific to the content of a given subject. However, memory trace should remain intact to allow for the reorganization of the neural network to recapture the previous experience. In case the forgetfulness exceeds the normal range, memories will be imprinted to help those with amnesia or patients who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It will be imperative to delete memories for PTSD to relieve them against negative consequences of traumatic events.

Role of Age and Environment in Memory Development

Age and environment determine how memories are formed. The aging process contributes to increasing forgetfulness due to a degeneration of the brain and neurons. These systems lose their connections and ultimately start to die off (Devitt & Schacter, 2016). Often, the elderly are insecure and will require a guarantee before making decisions about changes in their lives. The changes and decisions to engage in activities will have an impact on the overall psychological testing among the elderly. The young on the other hand has a significant amount of brain cells particularly in the hippocampus region, and this enhances memory. Human experience a gradual decline in cognitive abilities from 30 years. The environment comprises factors that influence health condition, mood and these have a direct impact on memory development (van Kesteren et al., 2012). Environmental factors such as poverty and perception of neglect can lead to depression among individuals across all ages. These can result in hopelessness, anxiety as well as a feeling of suspicion. These traits can lead to confusion and mental health illness which impairs memory.

Conclusion

Memory formation is physiological and neurological process based on an individual. Processing of human memory entails encoding, storage, and recall of information. Working and long-term memories reflect the amount of information a person holds in their mind. Analysis of the retention intervals and forgetfulness is key in developing a diagnosis of mental loss. These parameters are also used to provide interventions for people with mental health issues.

The goal of this paper is to understand how the brain and memory processes are intertwined and how certain techniques can improve these processes. In an essay of 1,000-1,250 words, discuss how memories are formed and maintained in the brain through the actions of neural circuitry. Use at least four scholarly resources to address the following questions:
Theoretically, how is working memory similar to and different from long-term memory?
How are memories formed in the brain (using neural circuitry), and how are they maintained?
When is it adaptive to remember, and in what ways may it be adaptive to forget?
Given what we know about brain mechanisms in memory, are our memories accurate? Explain your answer using information on how memories are stored in the brain.
How can knowledge of the brain and memory systems be used to help individuals suffering from memory problems (e.g., poor memory, amnesia, PTSD)?
Compare the role age and environment play in how memories are formed and maintained.

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