Learning and Memory Essay

1098 Words 5 Pages
Learning and Memory

Learning and memory are not unitary processes. Learning is the process by which new information is acquired; memory is the process by which that knowledge is retained. Learning can be divided into two types: 1)Explicit memory is the conscious acquisition of knowledge about people, places and things. It occurs in the highly developed vertebrate brain ,mainly in the diencephalic structure (1). 2) Implicit memory is the non conscious learning of motor skills and other tasks. It does not depend on the temporal lobe, but involves the sensory, motor associated pathways in the expression of learning process. This type of memory can be studied in higher invertebrates whereas explicit learning is only studied in mammals
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The idea behind this is consistent with what a memory mechanism should and can possess. Donald Hebb wrote, "When an axon of cell A...excites cell B and repeatedly takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or more cells so that A 's efficiency as one of the cells firing B is increased (4)" Thus, memory is likely to involve a strengthening of synaptic activity. This "Hebb's rule closely resembles the definition of LTP in that learning is accompanied by an increase in the efficiency of communication between neurons.

After reviewing information, it seems that LTP implication in learning has been accepted as a model because it makes sense and nothing better has been proposed. It is a long standing theory that has come under various controversy. However, conflicting experimental results have lead some to believe that LTP is involved in only some learning. Furthermore, many scientists argue that statements such as "learning underlies learning and memory" should be replaced by "enhanced synaptic efficacy underlies memory storage (3)" Shors and Matzel believe that LTP mainly acts by "altering the organisms responsiveness, or perception of environmental stimuli." They proposed the argument that certain environmental cues are represented in the brain as a pattern of synaptic responses and LTP acts to magnify these responses in order to allow a more rapid detection of stimuli (3).

Many studies have been done with LTP in learning.

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