The hippocampus does not hold all the memories

Initially, your memories stay in the hippocampus and the areas connected to the neocortex, the outer part of the cerebral cortex.

As memories age, different brain areas start to manage your memories. The frontal, temporal and parietal lobes are in charge of the oldest memories.

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Day-to-day memories depend on the hippocampus

The hippocampus - a structure in the brain - controls the brain's ability to learn and form memories of day-to-day facts.

But research found that the activity in the hippocampus steadily declines with age. The memory of subjects in their 50s and 60s weakened as subjects recalled events that were up to 12 years old but reached a plateau during older remembrances.

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A particular neuronal circuit between the two regions of the brain: the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, is found to be responsible for alerting us when a particular threat has been eliminated.

The many neurological circuits between these two areas of the brain are the reason we experience and are able to regulate our fear response.

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Past and future
  • When English speakers use hand gestures to talk about the past and the future, they thrust a hand over the shoulder for the past and put a hand forward to indicate the future. English speakers also talk of the past as "leaving behind" and the future as "looking forward."
  • The Yupno people of Papua New Guinea don't think of the future as before you, but as uphill. Their concept of time is not anchored in the body, but to the world and its contours.

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Recent studies suggest we employ the same neurophysiological mechanisms while dreaming that we use to construct and recall memories while we are awake.

Studies also found that vivid, bizarre and emotionally intense dreams are linked to parts of the amygdala and hippocampus. The amygdala plays a key role in processing and memory of emotional reactions. The hippocampus is implicated in important memory functions, such as the consolidation of information from short-term to long-term memory.

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