The Biological and Psychological Basis of Learning and Memory

Topics: Cerebrum, Brain, Hippocampus Pages: 5 (1863 words) Published: March 2, 2011
The means by which the brain performs are referred to as neuroprocesses, which are related to learning and memory. The brain is the center of every function of the body that controls functional learning and memory and how the two are interdependent. Learning occurs when the memory is stimulated. The memory is activated once learning has taken place. With knowledge at the center of attention, it is imperative to stimulate the brain through lifelong learning to achieve longevity and quality of life. The brain is the center of every functioning part in a human body. Every process stems from the brain. The central nervous system is an intricate menagerie of cells, neurons, cords, nerves, and many other parts that act as the computer center for our bodies. Neuroanatomy is the make-up of the central nervous system. The processes by which the brain acts or performs are neuroprocesses. Learning and memory are two similar neuroprocesses that cannot function without each other. The brain responds to experiences or memories from the past and learns how to function in similar situations in the future. When the brain receives changing information or variations from experiences learning occurs in the brain. Memory takes into consideration how the learned experiences are stored and reactivated (Pinel, 2009). The act of learning occurs when two neurons communicate by sharing signals, receiving, and recalling information. Moreover, the processes responsible for learning are spread out over multiple areas of the brain and are classified into three different networks; recognition, strategic, and affective. The recognition network receives sensory information from the environment and transforms it into knowledge. It identifies and categorizes what is seen, heard, or read. The strategic network is recruited for planning and coordinating goal-oriented actions. Finally, “the affective network is involved in emotional dimensions of learning such as interest, motivation, and stress” (Hinton & K.M.-C, 2008, p. 90). Additionally, the cortex specifically the lateral prefrontal cortex, the temporal lobe, and the basal ganglia are main processing areas for learning. Neurons in the cortex and basal ganglia respond upon learning. To learn, memory storage areas in the brain must be tapped into to recall the information. The specific learning cells in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia exhibit signals relating to the outcome of human response and the behavioral cell’s signals shape learning. According to a study at Harvard in (2009), our observations may represent a snapshot of the learning process-how single cells change their responses in real time as a result of information about what is the right action and what is the wrong one. The temporal lobe is mainly responsible for cognitive development or learning and memory. The brain has multiple portions that allow us to process memories, which include the hippocampus, amygdala, basal ganglia, cerebral cortex, parietal lobe, frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and supramarginal gyrus. Damage to any of these areas can cause short-term memory loss, amnesia, or permanent loss of memory. Further, the hippocampus is associated with various functions of memory, which is responsible for creating mental maps, converting memories from short to long term, and encoding memories. Forming memories from experience without the hippocampus is possible, but damage to this area of the bran can inhibit the ability to form new memories to describe events. Located below the hippocampus is the amygdala. It responds strongly to emotional stimuli, especially fear. The neurons in the amygdala encode and enhance memories creating more consolidated, deep, and accurate recollections of events. This process of transferring information creates one long-term memory. Moreover, the basal ganglia are associated with both learning and memory, which is are responsible for the unconscious memory processes. These include motor...
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