Questions on memory storage...
bill at nsma.arizona.edu
Tue Aug 13 15:57:33 EST 1996
csorg at enteract.com (Chris sorg) writes:
> I'm curious as to how the brain stores memory. As to specifics, I
> know this is a pretty broad question with more theories than
> answers, but I have a few specific questions in mind:
> (1) Is the brain the ONLY place where memories are stored, or
> can nerves throughout the body have memory?
There is some evidence for a primitive kind of learning in the spinal
cord. Not anywhere else outside the brain, as far as I know -- in
humans, at least.
> (2) Can nerve ganglia act as "small brains" for activities such
> music playing and gymnastics, ie complex muscle movements?
In humans, the motor nerves come directly from the spinal cord, not
from peripheral ganglia. Certainly there is a substantial amount of
complex processing inside the spinal cord. The idea of nerve ganglia
acting as small brains may apply more directly to invertebrates, for
example the octupus, where as I understand it much of the
tentacle-control circuitry is peripheral.
> (3) Is the old, outdated idea of engrams back 'in' as a way of
> viewing memory storage in the brain?
The "engram" is simply the physical representation of memory in the
brain, and it is not an outdated idea.
> (4) Biological mechanisms for memory: are they neurochemical
> changes, physiological changes (such as denser dendritic
> connections), both, or none of the above?
Almost certainly both. For any sort of comprehensive answer, you'll
have to read a book.
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