Brain Bee Study Guide: Chapter 4 Learning, Memory, and Language

Brain Bee Study Guide Notes: Chapter 4: Learning, Memory, and Language

Brain Bee Study Guide: Students can prepare for their local, regional, national, and international Brain Bee competitions by studying Brain Facts, a resource published by the Society for Neuroscience. In this study guide, we have compiled study resources/study guide notes for Brain Bee students: Chapter 4: Learning, Memory, and Language in Brain Bee

Brain Bee Study Guide CHAPTER 4: Learning, Memory, and Language

  1. Learning & Memory (Slide 2)
    1. H.M. Study
  • patient in case was Henry Molaison, who had epileptic seizures for many years
  • treated by Hartford neurosurgeon, Dr. William Beecher Scoville, who removed various regions of temporal lobes —> seizures lessened but Molaison left with severe amnesia
  • IMPACT: researches concluded that the hippocampus and parahippocampal region (which were among those removed) were critical in converting short-term memories into long-term ones
  1. Additional Points
  • medial temporal region in close relation with areas of cerebral cortex which are responsible for thinking and language
  • medial temporal region deals with formation & organization of memory but cortical areas deal with long-term STORAGE
  1. Facets Of Memory (Slide 3)
    1. Declarative Memory
  • DEFINITION: the ability to learn and consciously remember everyday facts and events
  • areas in cerebral cortex work with hippocampus to support declarative memory
  • information from new experiences enters WORKING MEMORY, an impermanent form of declarative memory
    • working memory depends on prefrontal cortex among others
      • neurons in prefrontal cortex maintain relevant info during working memory and combine with sensory info 
      • prefrontal cortex highly activated when people maintain/manipulate memories
      • interacts with posterior cortical areas to support executive functions such as selection, rehearsal, and monitoring of info being retrieved from long-term memory
  • SEMANTIC MEMORY is a form of declarative knowledge that includes general facts and data
    • scientists believe that different cortical networks specialized for processing different kinds of info (i.e. faces, actions, language, etc.)
    • functional imaging shows zones in cortical expanse that selectively process different categories of info
  • EPISODIC MEMORIES are memories of specific personal experiences that occurred at a particular place and time
    • medial temporal lobe areas believed to serve role in initial processing and storage of these memories
    • parts of parahippocampal region process the “who”, “what”, “when” info and hippocampus links these elements —> linked info integrated into cortical areas responsible for the info
  1. Nondeclarative Knowledge
  • DEFINITION: knowledge of how to do something (a.k.a procedural memory)
  • expressed in skilled behavior and learned habits, & requires processing by the basal ganglia and cerebellum
  • cerebellum involved with motor tasks and amygdala associated with emotional aspects of memory
  • expression of emotional memories also involves hypothalamus and sympathetic nervous system
Storing your memories 🙂
  1. Storing Memories (Slide 4)
  • involves persistent change in synapses
  • LTP is long-term potentiation, which is a long-lasting increase strength of synaptic response following stimulation
    • occurs mainly in hippocampus and other areas involved with memory
    • occurs because of changes in strength of synapses at contacts involving NMDA  (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptors
    • read end of page 26 into page 27 for more info on process of changing synaptic strength
    • in above process, molecular “cascade” leading to protein synthesis (which triggers synapse growth) is essential for LONG-TERM MEMORY
  • NO SINGLE BRAIN CENTER STORES MEMORY, memory is likely stored in distributed collections of cortical processing systems (each part of brain probably contributes dif. to permanent memory storage)
  1. Language
  • DEFINITION: different kinds of language disorders
  • NONFLUENT APHASIAS are caused by damage to left frontal lobe (i.e. Broca’s aphasia in which speech production abilities impaired)
    • nonfluent aphasics still understand heard speech but structurally complex sentences may be poorly understood
  • FLUENT APHASIA is caused by damage to left temporal lobe (i.e. Wernicke’s aphasia in which comprehension of heard speech is impaired)
    • speech output is fluent but usually sounds like gibberish
  • WORD DEAFNESS is caused by damage to superior temporal lobes in both hemispheres
    • can’t understand auditory speech on any level
    • functionally deaf for speech — can hear sound and identify emotional quality but can’t understand
  • IMPACT OF STUDIES ON APHASIA: speech recognition involves both left and right temporal lobes although speech production is left-dominant
What type of memory is it when you remember a moment in your past and hugging your good boy dog? 🙂 Answer: Episodic Memory!
  1. Other Stuff
  • mutations of FOXP2 impede learning to make mouth/jaw movements involved in speech, which are accompanied by difficulties in both spoken & written language
  • functional imaging shows that systems involved in accessing meaning of words are partly located in middle/inferior portions of temporal lobe
  • sensory-motor circuit for speech in left posterior temporal lobe, which is believed to help speech recognition and production systems communicate with each other

Brain Bee Study Guide: Chapter 4: Learning, Memory, and Language

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