Long-term memories are distributed throughout the cortex.
After consolidation, stabilization of a memory trace, long-term memories are stored in the brain in the form of neurons that fire together in the same pattern that created original event. Each part of a memory is stored in the area that initiated it. Memories are not stored like books on shelves they must be reconstructed from the elements scattered throughout different areas of the bran by encoding process.
Process of consolidation requires the use of neural mechanism called long-term potentiation, which increases synaptic strength by activating of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons (Garret, 2008). Long-term potentiation synchronizes firing of neurons making them more prone to depolarize in the future.Each neuron makes thousands of connections with the other neurons. Our memory is set in many connections which are involved in different memories.Numerous memories can be encoded within single neuronal network, by different patter of synaptic connection
With the increase of new experiences more connections and pathways are created which leads to developing a pattern of recognition for firing neurons. For instance, reading the same text over and over, repeated firing of certain cells will most likely result in firing the same neurons later which would lead to memorization of that particular text, with fewer mistakes. Memory reconsolidation is the process of retrieving previously consolidated memory, and then active consolidating it again in order to maintain and strengthen memories that are already stored in the long- term memory. There are two main methods of retrieving the memory: recognition and recall.Recognition is unconscious process, which passes the information through the limbic area to generate a sense of familiarity before sending it to the cortex for processing. Recall involves reconstruction of the information and activation of the neurons involved in the memory formation in the first place.
Memory retrieval is more or less automatic process, although distractions at the time of recall tend to slow it down. Distraction at the time of encoding can impact later retrieval process. Encoding begins with perception of information through the senses. The thalamus and frontal lobe regulate attention, which causes the neurons to fire more frequently increasing the likelihood that the even is encoded in memory.
All perceived sensations are decoded in different areas of the cortex, and then combined in the hippocampus into one single experience. The hippocampus is responsible of converting the information into long-term memory.
The first step of consolidation is the formation of short-term memory from sensory memory, followed by conversion to a long-term memory.
A neural network of cortical synapses records the various