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There are many process of memory. The basic of them all are encoding, storage and retrieval. Your short-term memory (STM) has a limited time till the information is forgotten (10-30 seconds). Long-term memory (LTM) virtually has an unlimited storing capacity. Through process of consolidation and hints or cues you can retrieve past memory s and emotions. Our working memory has three areas: phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad and central executive. These components basically store audio/visual information and directs attention to various stimuli and assigns memory space (Kalat, p. 352).
Many patients with Amnesia, Korsakoff s syndrome and Alzheimer s disease have various memory defects. Many patients with these complications and disease have trouble with putting their memory into words (declarative memory). While others have trouble remembering how do certain things, like physical movements (procedural memory). The patients with damage to the hippocampus region. Suffer from explicit and implicit memory functions. These patients do not that they are using memory or not. Memory is a very important contribution to life, life with out memory is unlike life (Kalat, p. 346).
The biological reasons contributing to the memory process possibly lie within the hippocampus region. Biologically not a lot is known about what goes on in the brain, concerning memory and learning. What we mostly know is that the hippocampus when inflicted with injury, many memory difficulties arise. A result from the removal of the hippocampus is retrograde and anterograde amnesia. In a case with H.M. he finally memorized his way around the house after eight years. With the loss of one region of the limbic system you can acquire new skills, but many patients do not remember learning these skills. Another complication that comes with the removal is Explicit and implicit memory functions.
With us knowing many of the negative functions of the removal of the hippocampus. Even though we don t know the exact chemical process that goes on during the process of learning and memory. We begin to see relationships that memory has in certain areas of the brain.
The pioneers of learning and memory come from Karl Lashely, Donald Hebb, Ivan Pavlov, John Watson and BF Skinner. These men contributed excessive amounts of time into their research so we can better understand how we learn and remember. One of most popular of these is Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov is known for his foundation of classical conditioning. Pavlov paired two stimuli that would elicit a controlled response. BF Skinner steered a little away from Pavlov, introducing Operant conditioning. Operant conditioning A type of learning in which consequences of behavior are manipulated in order to an increase or decrease that behavior in the future (Samuel E. Wood, p. 166). John B. Watson believed that all noises besides those of loud noises were classically conditioned. Watson is best known for his Little Albert experiment. Donald Hebb believed that there was no single source where memory is derived. Hebb thought STM would consolidate into LTM. That is Short-term memory was a temporary holding station on its way to long-term memory (Kalat, p. 351). Karl Lashley was in search of the engram. An engram is the connection of one area of the brain to another. Lashley would teach the rats a learned response. After he would make incisions in the cerebral cortex. The idea was that cutting the brain would somehow cut off the learned response. This would show that two or more areas in the brain contribute to the learning and memory process.
H.M. was having severe seizures stemming from his hippocampus region. The doctor convinced the anti-epileptic drugs would not work. The doctor would remove the hippocampus and amygdala. After the surgery the seizures were dramatically reduced. In result of the removal H.M. LTM was substantially gone, but his IQ and personality remained the same. H.M. experienced retrograde amnesia, anterograde amnesia and explicit memory loss. H.M. opened a window in a dark room, which shed light on the role of the hippocampus in relation to memory.
Korsakoff s syndrome is a sever deficiency vitamin B. This syndrome particularly exclusive to alcoholics. In principle The brain needs thiamine (vitamin B) in order to metabolize glucose (Kalat, p. 354). People with Korsakoff s syndrome suffer in some of the same aspects of people with a damaged hippocampus, with retrograde and anterograde amnesia. One of the key symptoms is confabulation. These patients will make up a story and except it as true.
It is said that if we live long enough we will all develop Alzheimer disease. This disease is associated with serious memory loss, confusion, depression, restlessness, hallucinations, delusions and disturbances in eating (Kalat, p. 355). Korsakoff and Alzheimer disease both have to deal with a chemical imbalance. They both show dramatic memory loss.
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