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Unformatted text preview: 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.  When animals, including people, are under stress, more
glutamate is secreted, and this glutamate can help them remember.  The neurotransmitter serotonin is also
secreted when animals learn, and epinephrine may also increase memory, particularly for stressful events. 
 Estrogen, a female sex hormone, also seems critical, because women who are experiencing menopause, along with a reduction in estrogen, frequently report memory difficulties.  These changes occur through
practice. Rehearsal is important in learning. Each time we rehearse, the pathway is activated and each
activation strengthens the connections along that pathway.
Our knowledge of the role of bio...
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- Spring '08