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- Learning & Memory
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- Learning and Memory: Cellular and Systemic Views
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This myelin is critical to the efficient conductance of electrical signals along the axonal circuits. Much more about neurons below. Behind and below the cerebral hemispheres is the cerebellum. See Figure 2 This part of the hindbrain serves several critical functions. It is the center for regulation of all of the learned movements that we have trained ourselves to perform, to the point that they become subconscious and second nature. There, you consciously think about how to put one foot in front of the other and not lose your balance as you work to master this skill.
After a lot of practice, the skill becomes second nature. The cerebellum helps regulate our coordination of voluntary movement and fine-tunes these movements to make them smooth. When there is cerebellar pathology, walking, posture, the ability to vocalize, and skilled movements such as a golf swing, can be severely compromised.
What most people ordinarily think of as memory, such as what we perceive in conscious thought, is created and stored in the cerebrum. But, the initial processing of memory occurs in the limbic system. See Figure 3.wikbud.eu/wp-content/2019-11-12/2440.php
Learning & Memory
The limbic system LS participates in and modulates a variety of functions including memory, emotion, behavior, motivation, sense of smell, and the endocrine system. Your emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, and it has a great influence over our formation of memories. The various types of components that make up the limbic system include nuclei aggregations of neuronal cell bodies , white matter tracts bundles of axons and cerebral cortex. We will focus on some of the most critical portions relevant to memory and learning, but bear in mind that all the components of the limbic system likely play some role in these functions.
The regions that we will focus on include the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex.
Learning & Memory Impact Factor IF || - BioxBio
Note, that like many of the structures of the brain, the limbic system has right and left sides, which results in pairs of each of the components. When you need to remember a phone number long enough to dial it, you briefly store the number in your left hippocampus and adjacent temporal lobe cortex.
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The left hippocampus is the primary recorder of autobiographical and episodic memory the story of your life. The right hippocampus and adjacent temporal lobe cortex are responsible for recording 3D spatial memory, such as how you just found your way into an office building, and to your intended destination. The hippocampi, despite their small size, are absolutely necessary if we are to have any ability for creating long-term memories.
They are located in the inner aspect of the temporal lobes, just in front of the hippocampus. Each amygdala is directly connected, one synapse away, to its hippocampus. The amygdala is the seat of our emotions and is at the center of feelings such as fear, fight-or-flight, anger, rage and anxiety. The reason why the amygdala is immediately adjacent and directly wired to the hippocampus is because, from a survival standpoint, we need to rapidly turn on our memory recorders and pay close attention when we perceive imminent danger and fear.
We need to remember that saber-toothed tiger and its behavior in case we survive this moment, so that we can learn from the experience and avoid that danger the next time.
Learning and Memory: Cellular and Systemic Views
The prefrontal cortex PFC , as I mentioned, is in-part functionally a component of the limbic system. Our working memory described in Part II is stored in this region and is modulated by our emotions, rising up from the lower portions of the limbic system. The PFC is the seat of our personality. Lesions of the PFC can lead to loss of concentration, inability to make judgments, personality alterations and a host of psychopathologies including various antisocial behaviors.
It turns out that the myelination of the cerebrum occurs over many years, beginning in the back of the brain and working its way to the front. During our early- to mid-twenties, the myelination process of insulating our axons in the prefrontal lobes is completed. However, during the teenage years, before the prefrontal cortex is fully myelinated, our behavior is most at risk for being impulsive and irrational. The most fundamental unit of the brain on the cellular level is the neuron. Lay people often think of neurons as being most numerous in the grey matter of the cerebral hemispheres, but that is not the case.
There are less than 20 billion neurons in the cerebral hemispheres and more than billion neurons in the cerebellum. Neurons are comprised of several anatomic parts germane to our discussion. Without getting into too much unnecessary detail, neurons have a cell body which contains the nucleus and DNA. The neuron cell body also contains many other intracellular structures and organelles.
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