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M18 - The Biology of Memory 4:23 PM Coursera Psych as a...

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12/26/13, 4:23 PM The Biology of Memory Page 1 of 1 https://oli.cmu.edu/jcourse/webui/syllabus/module.do?context=c09d351e80020ca6017a8e973bf21522 Introduction to Psychology (Open + Free) Coursera Psych as a Science [ S I G N O U T ] My Courses | Syllabus | Outline | Help | More Search this course Module 18 / The Biology of Memory 95 Describe how neurons change to create memory. Distinguish the functions of the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebellum. The Biology of Memory 96 95 Types and Stages of Memory How We Remember: Cues to Improving Memory The Biology of Memory Unit 7:: Memory This course is not led by an instructor
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12/26/13, 4:23 PM The Biology of Memory Page 1 of 6 https://oli.cmu.edu/jcourse/workbook/activity/page?context=c09d351f80020ca600a2c769b3f6d9f1 Introduction to Psychology (Open + Free) Coursera Psych as a Science [ S I G N O U T ] My Courses | Syllabus | Outline | Help | More Search this course Module 18 / The Biology of Memory Just as information is stored on digital media such as DVDs and flash drives, the information in LTM must be stored in the brain. How do different encoding and retrieval strategies affect our brains at the neural level? We saw from previous sections on elaborative encoding, categories and schemas that we give LTM a unique internal organization. Does that mean that there must be a “memory center” of the brain where all memories are organized for quick retrieval? Additionally, how do diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and conditions such as amnesia cause us to forget information we have already stored in the brain? To answer these questions, we must think of the brain at two different levels: at the level of neurons and at the level of brain areas. The ability to maintain information in LTM involves a gradual strengthening of the connections among the neurons in the brain. When pathways in these neural networks are frequently and repeatedly fired, the synapses become more efficient in communicating with each other, and these changes create memory. This process, known as long-term potentiation (LTP) , refers to the strengthening of the synaptic connections between neurons as result of frequent stimulation . Drugs that block LTP reduce learning, whereas drugs that enhance LTP increase learning. Because the new patterns of activation in the synapses take time to develop, LTP happens gradually. The period of time in which LTP occurs and in which memories are stored is known as the period of consolidation . Consolidation of memories formed during the day often happens during sleep, and some theorize that this is one important function of sleep. Long-term potentiation occurs as a result of changes in the synapses, which suggests that chemicals, particularly neurotransmitters and hormones, must be involved in memory. There is quite a bit of evidence that this is true. Glutamate, a neurotransmitter and a form of the amino acid glutamic acid, is perhaps the most important neurotransmitter in memory.
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