What is Memory?

What is a Memory? From a logical standpoint memory is the process in which events that occurred are acquired, stored, retained and later retrieved. But then that brings up the question how does it store these thoughts? The closest thing that I can think of when it comes to storing memory would have to be a a computer. Computers presently store their memory digitally meaning that they break down the memory into bits and pieces and store them into a hard disk drive or some other memory device. For us humans our memory device would have to be our brains, and after watching Sebastian Sung’s “I am my own Connectome” lecture in class I do believe that the brain is way more complex than a simple HDD.

But how would a brain break down such things such as memories from a week long vacation, or graduating high school? Well it does so through the use of “neural activity” where chemical and electrical signals take the place of the 1’s and 0’s of data travel and jump through the branches of the neuron so our memories can be stored and await to be retrieved again. But unlike a HDD not every brain is the same. In a brain connections can grow weaker an stronger, they can also break and grow new ones. In a sense the brain evolves with how it is nurtured, which explains why “identical” twins even though the same in appearance are not the same in the mind.

In Sung’s lecture he said that in theory if we could map out the human brain’s connectome we would be able to look at memories, figure out what a person has a certain disorder, and maybe even know what a person is thinking. But as to how far along we are to mapping out the human brain’s connectome is rather miniscule and hopfully with the advances in human technology in the near future we will be able to break the “code” that is the human genome.

So now I come back to the question “What is a memory?”. I now have come to the conclusion that a memory is a person’s relationship with them self meaning it is a culmination of events and happenings that have shaped you into the person that you are today.


Just a student

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