By: B. Sapoznik
Picture from: https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/business/personality-types-a-b-c-d
We all remember that one day, or the one toy, or the one friend that did something. Like these examples, everything you remember or learn is a new memory, which is concealed inside of your brain, encrypted in a vast sea of thoughts. But, have you ever wondered what happens behind memories, or how they are formed? What is the science behind memories, and why do we remember them?
Whenever something happens (I mean literally anything), we unconsciously store that moment inside of our brain. This information is firstly contained in nerve cells/neurons. Neurons are specialized cells dedicated to send information to and from several parts of our brain. When the information is stored, our cells immediately file the information and when the information is mentioned, our neurons immediately remember and show that information to our brains, which is called enhancing a memory. Normally, what triggers a memory to be remembered is an emotion, which makes you remember the thing you are supposed to do or that you had done (for example being surprised and remembering to do homework for the next day). If an emotion is not released, it may cause you to forget short term memories (or tasks). These neurons are used to create spontaneous synapses, which causes you to remember short term memories randomly (maybe even after you are done with the task).
Even though we know how memories do work, where exactly in the brain are they stored? Inside of the brain, a specific area called the hippocampus takes care of storing and analysing memories. Inside of the hippocampus, all types of memories are stored, and it also is the place where memories are converted (short term to long term). Short term memory turning into long term memory is called memory consolidation. Memory consolidation happens when you repeat getting the same spontaneous synapses, or in other words: when you keep doing/practicing something. Memory consolidation also helps with creating muscle memory (creating a routine in your brain to carry out a certain task) as it turns the first time you do it, or the short term memory, into a common routine.
Furthermore, as the hippocampus occupies a great role in storing memories, it is critical for it to be working. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease stops the hippocampus from executing important roles. Due to this barrier, the disease sadly causes memory loss and other problems concerning the creation and development of memories.
On the other hand, have you ever felt a sudden feeling that you have lived through a moment before? This can happen anywhere – whether you’re walking the dog, doing homework, or any other thing – and the feeling is commonly known as Déjà Vu (translates to French as “Already seen”). This sentiment is usually caused because of “an attempt to correct an inaccurate memory” according to Dr. Akira O’Connor, who works at the University of St. Andrews. It also may be a sign that you are restless or tired, but this feeling is no more than a brain error (contrary to spiritual beliefs).
Finally, I hope this article has helped the understanding of the science behind all memories.