Stages of Memory
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that memories seem to be formed in different stages that evolve over time. These include acquisition, short-term storage, and consolidation.
One of the most fascinating things about memory in all animals is that memories are not one thing. Aristophanes said thousands of years ago something to the effect of, â€œMy memories have two forms; long and short.â€ What that statement says is that, even thousands of years ago, people noticed just by introspection, that the quality of a memory changes over time from when you first learn it until moments, hours, days, weeks, months or years later. What we know is that the quality of a memory evolves over time and taps into different mechanisms, and thatâ€™s why it has a different qualitative feeling to us when we think of trying to remember a phone number when we are dialing it versus remembering our phone number. During this process of memory storage, memories are sequentially transferred into different forms that have different characteristics. We have an early stage of acquisition when an animal first learns about the relationship amongst stimuli in the environment, and then we have a short-term memory period where that association thatâ€™s learned is stored for a short period of time in a way that is very robust in a sense that we have access to that memory very easily, but very labile in a sense that itâ€™s easy to disrupt. Then there is a period of time when that memory can be consolidated, which is jargon for transferring it into a form that is much more stable, but maybe less easily accessed. And then there is the retrieval, which is the time when we activate an old memory; when stimuli in the environment remind us of something in our past, and that old experience comes back into the forefront and is experienced in a vivid way again.
memory, stages, acquisition, short term memory, consolidation, long term memory, storage, retreival, mechanisms, aristophanes, josh, dubnau, cshl
Professor Karim Nader explains that short-term memories are more sensitive to disruption than long-term memories.
The hippocampus is closely aligned to memory formation. It is an important early storage place for long–term memory, and is involved in the transition to more enduring permanent memory.
Professor Eric Kandel discusses the importance of the hippocampus in the formation of long-term memories.
Professor Ron Davis explains that short-term memories are formed by recruiting new synapses. It is unknown whether long-term memories are formed in the same way.
Professor Karim Nader explains that long-term memories are traditionally thought of as being fixed in the brain.
Professor Seth Grant explains that long-term memories are created when the synapse sends a signal to the nucleus to activate certain genes.
Learning and memory are two intimately linked cognitive processes that stem from interactions with the environment (experience).
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that genes are responsible for memory in that they contain the raw instructions for memory. Experience determines how these instructions are assembled.
Professor Eric Kandel explains how a protein called CPB may have a built-in memory mechanism that can help long-term memory storage.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that memories may be present (encoded) but not accessible (retrievable). Scientists have devised a number of experiments for teasing apart encoding from retrieval.