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Neuron in Memory Formation including axons, dentrites, synapse and neurotransmitters Role of the Temporal Lobe
(including hippocampus and the amygdala)


The role of the neuron in memory formation

Kandel experimented on Aplysia (sea slugs). His research suggests that, during learning, neurons increase production of neurotransmitters ejected into the synapse, resulting in an increase in synaptic transmission and the formation of a chemical trace of the information.

Memory traces

When a new memory is formed, it leaves behind a biological change in the neurons. This change is referred to as a memory trace. Eric Kandel found that biochemical changes in the connections between the nerve cells occur as new memories are created. These changes strengthen the connections, and thus make it easier for the messages to pass from one neuron to the next.

Types of Changes to Neurons

Three changes to the neurons of Aplysia: 1. Function more neurotransmitters are released 2.Structure:- Axons and dendrites create more branches to strengthen connections between neurons 3. Synaptic growth more synaptic connections are formed that also strengthen connections between neurons

HOMEWORK LA 6.26 (Page 337) Qs 1,2,8,9

Read the case study hanout : How is memory linked to the Temporal Lobe? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBsW5qz5sDU Man without a memory HOMEWORK: READ 2013 addition Answer Following Qs LA 7.4 Qs 1-3

Temporal lobe

Assists in memory of language specifically for naming familiar objects, places and faces and for constructing fluent, articulate and coherent speech. Also involved in the memory of facts, personally significant events and familiar routines. The left temporal lobe stores information such as names of familiar people, animals and tools as well as factual information and personal event that can be expressed in words. The right temporal lobe stores information for recognising familiar faces, music and pictures.


Assists memory formation, sorting and storage and the transfer of information from STM to LTM. Damage can lead to permanent short-term and long-term memory dysfunction. People with hippocampal damage find it difficult to learn new factual information, however, their ability to learn new skills or procedures appears unaffected.

Long Term Potentiation

Neural basis for memory formation
Synapse strength can increase in 3 ways

- Release extra neurotransmitter

- Increase number of receptor sites

- Growth of new synapses