Brain Fitness- How are Memories Created?

How Memory is Controlled in the Brain:

1.Formation and retention: The hippocampus plays a strong role in processing information and is very important in storing information. It lies deep in the central portion of the brain.
2.The amygdala is an almond shaped structure which processes emotions. This structure allows your brain to imprint a memory associated with a strong emotion.
3.The cerebral cortex stores short and long term information. It is involved in processing language, sensory input or problem solving.
4.Neurons and neurotransmitters are the information highway or internet of the brain- neurons are the connections and neurotransmitters (using chemicals) relay the information.
5.Memorization involves encoding information which is done with concentration and focus.
6.Storage and consolidation– Signals are sent to the hippocampus and amygdala to prompt storage.
7.Retrieval or recall stage– The brain needs to activate the same pattern of nerve cells that were used in storage in order to retrieve it.

Some people have what we call a photographic memory. They are able to recall images, sounds or objects with extreme accuracy.
Then there are individuals known as eidetic. They can look at a picture, go away and see a vivid image as if the image were still there.
Memory can also be divided in to Short Term or Long Term Memory. Other models describe the presence of a phonological (linguistic and acoustic) memory and a visual/spatial memory (controls mental images).
Then there is episodic memory which allows you to remember events such as a concert. It permits your brain to “play the scene again” and is controlled by the hippocampus.
Semantic memory which is imprinted in your long term memory does not require the hippocampus to act as a link. Semantic memory activates the frontal and temporal cortex.
If you would like more information on the different areas of the brain that control long and short term memory, go to-
Institute of Neurosciences and Health

Improving your Memory:
Speak positively about your memory. Reinforce the concept that you can improve your ability to recall facts and events. Do different things with your brain. Try Sodoku or crossword puzzles
Close your eyes when performing a task. This stimulates your brain to do something new and deal with unfamiliar exercises.
Use other senses. Use your eyes and associate visual scenes with a memory. Read out loud to add hearing and audio sense. Recite the material rhythmically.
Rewriting information helps to imprint it on your brain.
Smells and sounds associated with an event create a vivid image.
Rehearse as frequently as possible- overlearn. Review daily. This is much more effective than cramming.
Use acronyms to help recall lists. For example use the acronym “HOMES” to remember the great lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.

And don’t forget the most essential and basic components of your health that you can control. Exercise, proper diet and good sleeping habits improve blood flow and oxygenation to your brain. Maintaining a normal blood pressure, blood sugar and healthy blood flow to your brain are all extremely important and vital to keeping your memories alive.

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