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Memory and brain mechanisms

Memory and brain mechanisms

Theoretically, how is working memory similar to and different from long-term memory?

Memory is divided into three segments, which are long-term memory, short-term memory, and working memory. Long-term memory is a part of the brain that can store a vast of information on past events for a long period of time without losing details of these events. Short-term memory also stores information on past events but has a limited capacity and cannot store information for long. Working memory, on the other hand, refers to the part of the brain responsible for planning and other intelligence-related aptitudes (Squire, 2009). Long-term memory and working memory are often confusing as they have numerous similarities. However, they also have differences. The interrelation between these two sections of the brain is dependent on the retrieval of secondary information from memory, the processes involved, and the consistency between the retrieval and processing theory applied (Squire, 2009).

The main difference between working memory and long-term memory is that while long-term memory mainly holds information, working memory demonstrates the processes that the brain goes through to retrieve the stored information and perform other tasks, such as arithmetic and planning (Squire, 2009). Working memory is able to manipulate information to get the desired results, but long-term memory cannot manipulate information. An example that can be employed in this case is the retrieval of knowledge regarding a mathematical formula. Long-term memory provides the information as stored. The working memory then has to be incorporated to manipulate the formulae and apply it in solving the presented mathematical problem.

When it comes to similarities between long-term memory and working memory, both are shown to conduct cognitive processes in conjunction. In the retrieval of information stored in the secondary memory, such as links between names of individuals and facial features, both parts of the brain are seen to work in the same way in order to provide this information (Squire, 2009). Another similarity depicted by the two parts of the brain is the work of information storage both long-term memory and working memory perform the duty of information storage. However, while long-term memory is used to store information for a long time and can be retrieved at any time, working memory only stores information for short periods to enable manipulation of this knowledge in a bid to retrieve desired results (Squire, 2009).

How are memories formed in the brain (using neural circuitry), and how are they maintained?

Brain function is a phenomenon that has been subject to many scientific and psychological journals in a bid to explain the formation and storage of memories. The most accurate theory used to describe the process is the neural circuitry theory (Bartsch, 2005). According to this theory, the brain is formed from an interconnection of neurons that are used to relay information from one organ to another in the body. In order to communicate, the neurons are interconnected, thus forming synapses that enhance passing of information. These synaptic connections formed by neurons also join, forming neural circuits that are responsible for all brain activities, including memory formulation (Bartsch, 2005)

In memory creation, the brain relays activities or pictorials of an event in the brain through neurons, which pass it through the connection points made of synaptic connections. At this point, the information is passed in the brain in the form of senses that are interpreted through the synaptic connection, thus creating new neural circuits to encode the information stored. This encoded information becomes a memory that can be stored for a long period and retrieved when required by replaying the encoded neural circuits (Bartsch, 2005).

Given what we know about brain mechanisms in memory, are our memories accurate? Explain your answer using the information on how memories are stored in the brain.

Memories stored in the brain can be either accurate or inaccurate depending on the process followed during storage of information. As shown in the discussion above, information is stored in neurons that rely on synaptic connections and neural circuits to present this information (Bartsch, 2005). Memories, therefore, are recorded according to individual perception and senses at the point when the recording takes place. If the information is interpreted accurately during storage, then the memories retrieved will also be accurate as they present exactly what was encoded during the storage of the information (Sandra, 1992). The same case applies if the information is twisted during storage; the memory will be inaccurate.

How can knowledge of the brain and memory systems be used to help individuals suffering from memory problems (e.g., poor memory, amnesia, PTSD)?

Understanding the inner workings of the human brain is very important, especially for psychiatrists and other professionals in the field of psychology. In order to provide help to someone suffering from conditions that are memory-related, one has to understand how these memories are made, stored, and retrieved. In cases such as amnesia, a person loses memories from both long-term and short-term memory. This problem is caused by damage to the synaptic connections due to trauma, which affects the neurotic circuits. The breaking of a neurotic circuit causes the loss of memories stored (“Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment,” 2014). However, with knowledge of brain functions, it becomes easy to manipulate the neurons and trigger the unlocking of memories.

Amnesia and other forms of PTSD are attributed to stress, which disrupts the synaptic communication in the brain, thus leading to the loss of memories or continuous flashbacks of traumatic experiences that one has undergone. Knowledge of brain memory systems can assist in treating people with such disorders through reprograming their war of thinking to prevent re-encoding of the horrific experiences, thus preventing flashbacks of information (“Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment,” 2014). This method has been used to treat soldiers coming from a war where they are given medication such as propranolol to chemically change neurons and prevent continuous coding of the same memories.

Compare age and environment’s role in how memories are formed and maintained.

Age and environment have an important role to play in the formulation of memories. This is accrued to the fact that the environment affects the perception of individuals with regard to the storage of memories. When an individual is in a relaxing environment, memories stored are bound to be clearly compared to those stored in stressful environments such as war. An environment is said to influence a person’s mood and, thus, the storage of memories (Sandra, 1992). Age also affects the storage of memories, as during old age, a person is not about to retain as much information. During old age, people are seen to forget information stored in their long-term memory, such as important dates and events, which are clear to remember at a younger age (Sandra, 1992). Memory-related problems that are depicted in individuals are accrued to changes in both the environment and central nervous system changes that come with old age.


Bartsch, R. (2005). Memory and understanding. Advances in Consciousness Research. doi:10.1075/aicr.63

Sandra, A. (1992). Discovering the Brain. National Academic Press. doi:10.17226/1785

Squire, L. R. (2009). Memory and brain systems: 1969-2009. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(41), 12711-12716. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.3575-09.2009

Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment. (2014). Military Medicine, 179(12), 1401-1403. doi:10.7205/filmed-d-14- 00418


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In this assignment, you will research and reflect on a topic from this week’s readings.  This allows you the opportunity to explore topics and ideas that you are especially interested in.  Create a PowerPoint presentation consisting of at least 8 slides (excluding the title and reference pages) on the role of your topic and the impact it has on learning. Please do not use Erikson or Piaget as your focus.  I want you to look at something new that is specific to adults.

Memory and brain mechanisms

Memory and brain mechanisms

Create the presentation for an audience of nursing educators.  Include some theory, but be sure to discuss applications to teaching and learning.

Narrate the PowerPoint with what you would say to your audience.  You can use the PowerPoint voice-over feature or use a screencast tool. Canvas does not allow me to open all add-on applications, so make sure that the one you select works with Canvas.

Be creative and make the presentation visually interesting with things like graphics, video, etc.

In addition to the Merriam and Baumgartner text, find at least three additional professional sources to support your information.  Two of these must be from peer-reviewed nursing journals. Cite any sources in APA format.

Cite any sources in APA format.

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