How do we create memories?

Have you ever thought about how our brain registers all the memories that we live? How we are able to easily recall a memory from the past like as it had happened yesterday? Or why do we remember so many details (or not) of the most important days in our lives?

I recently watched an episode of a Netflix docuseries called “The Mind, Explained” about “Memory” in which they give a simplistic answer to all these questions and explain how the brain protects us and (also) tricks us.

What has really fascinated me the most after watching this docuseries is how do we create memories. In particular, the fact that all the brain mechanisms involved when registering a memory from the living present are also triggered when we recall that particular memory later on in time. For instance, the same brain process is used over and over independently of time. So, at this point, it comes up in my mind whether the brain has a sense of time and differentiates between the past, present and future events. But that’s a question that I won’t touch in this post (and maybe in another one).

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Image source from Youtube

Let’s come back to how do we create memories. It seems that different parts of the brain involved in different functions (e.g., to see, to listen, to move, to sense, to feel…) send different bits of information (e.g., visual, auditory, motor, sensory, emotional…) to a part of the brain (i.e., the hypothalamus) that works as a orchestra director, and pieces together all these bits of information to create a memory. Whenever we want to recall a memory, the orchestra director calls the different parts of the brain involved in that memory and pulls back the bits of information to recreate the memory. Depending on how tight are the connections of that memory within the parts of the brain, you will remember more or less information. Is not that fascinating?

If you want to know more about this I strongly recommend you to watch the full episode either on Netflix or Youtube. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

References

Feature image source from here.

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