Contributors: Morgan Lawson
Our brain contains millions of nerve cells called neurons. Neurons are programmed to stimulate cells in our body to communicate. We have three different types of neurons, unipolar, bipolar and multipolar. Neurons are categorized by how many nerve cell extensions they have connected to soma. Each one of these nerve cells sends electrical impulses throughout our brain. Messages are sent through electrical impulses since we can literally send a smell across our brain. When an event happens or we see someone, memorize a group of numbers etc. Our senses are directly related to these electrical impulses in our brain. Electrical impulses are sent across the axon which then has to cross the synaptic gap. To cross the synaptic gap neurotransmitters are released and carry the impulses across the synapse. After crossing the synaptic gap the electric impulse is received by dendrites. The process is then repeated. This is all in the process of encoding the message that was sent. Once its encoded, the brain works on storing the the message. Depending on whether or not the message is long term or short term indicates where it is stored. Without this categorization we would hold on to every detail of every hour of our day. Our short term memory on average can hold about seven items. It can also also be held for a short period of time. Long term memory the exact opposite of short term memory can store an unlimited amount of information indefinitely. Since the electrical impulses in our brain are directly connected to our senses. That is when we smell something or taste something takes us back to a past event in our life. The smell or taste triggers the neurons associated with that memory. This brings me us to the last process in memory, that is retrieval. There is much debate over whether or not you can loose your memories or if the bonds that allow us to access them are broken over time. STM and LTM are two different forms of retrieval. STM is retrieval by sequence. So if you were given a group of numbers and asked what number four was you would go through the sequence. LTM is retrieval by association. So associating, say a place going back to that place to remember an event or whatever it may be.