The Science Behind: Memory


What is memory and how does it work?

Memory is the power of the brain by which data or information is stored. The nerve cells in your brain talk to each other when neurotransmitters are present. Think of neurotransmitters as a text. When you are busy, and you receive maybe 1 or 2 texts from someone, you ignore it. But, when the same person texts you about 100 - 200 times you will pay attention to the text and start a conversation with them. Similarly, the neurons ( nerve cells in your brain ) start a conversation between them when they receive information from several neurotransmitters at once.

Smell vs. Memory

Suppose you decide to visit a bakery since you haven't been to one in many years. You smell some cinnamon cupcakes. You start to remember when every time you went to a bakery with your friends everyone picked cinnamon cupcakes and all of you used to eat it together while sitting on a bench nearby the bakery. You just experienced what is known as "Odor-Evoked Autobiographical Memory." Basically a smell made you remember something from your past.

When you detect a smell through your nose, the signal goes straight to your olfactory bulb which is the smell analyzing the signal in your brain. The Olfactory Bulb is connected to the Amygdala and the hippocampus which are parts of your brain that help handle memory and emotion.

Short Term vs. Long term memory

Information you learn first lands into Short term memory where it's available from as low as a couple of seconds to as long as a few minutes. It's then transferred to long term memory through the hippocampus and finally to different storage regions across the brain. If you don't keep on repeating things again and again, at one point you might forget it.

Ways to make your memory better:

  1. Keep physically active

  2. Eat well

  3. Give your brain a workout

Until next time...



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