How Does the Brain Store Memories?

Can you imagine living a life with no memories? The ability to recollect events isn’t just for posterity’s sake. It plays a critical role in your survival.

The lessons you learn since you’re young helps you land a job in the future. Your memory of your home, address, name, etc., is essential and even part of who and what you are.

So, how does the brain store memories? First, you need to know there are many types of memories, but they are often classified as either short or long term. Knowing this is important since not everyone is capable of doing both.

Experts believe that before the brain creates short-term memories, it first starts as a perception from any of all of your senses. Depending on how important or powerful this stimulation is, it can linger or stay even when it’s over. That’s when short-term memory kicks in.

Short-term memories form in the pre-frontal lobe of the brain. This part is essential in personality development, social interaction, sexual behavior, and decision making, among others. The pre-frontal lobe acts as a buffer for short-term memory, keeping it for around 15 seconds at a time, enough to help you complete a task such as solving a mathematical problem or comprehending sentences.

For short-term memories to become long-term, the brain requires constant exposure to the stimuli or the different senses. Either way, to create and store long-term memories, the short-term ones move toward the hippocampus, which is part of the temporal lobe whose job is to process data from the various senses.

Even if the long-term memory is controlled by the hippocampus, this region doesn’t keep all the details of the memory. Rather, they are broken down to various neurons. Just imagine one TV show divided into various episodes. These neurons form a specific pathway that is activated when you need to retrieve a particular memory.