The reality of memory

As human beings, it is our own personal memories that in some ways make us the people we are.  As individuals it could be said that we rely on memory to make sense of the world and all around us. We simply could not function without it. The difficult question has always been,  where physically in the brain are our memories stored?

This question has been more contentious than you might imagine. At one time it was thought that memory was stored only in certain parts of the brain. Some scientists then thought that it may be  stored over all the brain. Although great strides have been made in understanding exactly how the brain functions, there is still much that is unknown or unverifiable about how all of it actually works. As almost an abstract function, the reality of physical memory storage  has been particularly hard to pin down.

Neural Circuits

I came across an article in the web newsletter  – The big think– recently which threw interesting light on this subject. It was actually about the biological basis for the unconscious, but as part of the discourse it mentioned that a Nobel prize winner in physiology Eric Kandel,  had discovered that memory is encoded in the neural circuits of the brain.

Cell memory

There is also an alternative view in some circles, that not only is memory stored in the brain, but in fact it is stored in every cell of our bodies. There is supposed to be some evidence for this in a strange phenomena that is sometimes reported in heart transplant patients. This involves the person receiving the new organ actually reporting  taking on some of the  characteristics and skills that the donor had. This could only happen if the memories were stored in the heart tissue.

Questionable memory

Memory is a vital part of what makes us who we are.  The truth is though, we are told that a huge amount of our memories of events are inaccurate, where ever they are stored.  But anyway we could not function as human beings without it.

Aspect of reality

Considering how important memory is, we really so little about it. It is key to our own personal reality. As with everything to do with the human mind, no one really knows for certain the real big picture of how it really works.

What do you think?

Marian

 

 

2 Responses to “The reality of memory”

  1. Chloe says:

    I think all our memories and genetic memories are stored in each individual cell. I saw a program about identical twin studies. In one experiment they separated the twins and gave one electric shocks. Both twins were wired up to heart rate monitors. Both of twins had big peaks in their heart rates when the shocks happened So to me those twins who came from the same cell are the same person.

  2. Marian says:

    That is actually quite current scientific thinking. If you are interested look at the posts on the holographic universe.

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