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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: May 2018

1 - Types of Memory and Brain Regions of Interest


Learning Objectives

  • • To understand each of the memory types.
  • • To list the brain regions that have been associated with memory.
  • • To describe the effects of removing the medial temporal lobes.
  • • To pinpoint the visual sensory regions in the brain.
  • • To identify the control regions in the brain.
  • Memory enables us to have skills, to communicate with others, to make intelligent decisions, to remember our loved ones, and to know who we are. Although human memory has been studied for over two centuries (Aristotle, 350 BCE), the cognitive neuroscience of memory has only been studied for the last two decades. Section 1.1 of this chapter gives a brief overview of the field of cognitive neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscientists employ techniques that non-invasively track the functioning human brain. Section 1.2 details the fourteen different types of memory. In section 1.3, an overview of human brain anatomy is provided. Commonly known anatomic distinctions such as the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe, and the occipital lobe are reviewed and then more detailed anatomy is discussed. Section 1.4 highlights the importance of the medial temporal lobe in memory, which was discovered in the 1950s when this region was surgically removed from one unfortunate individual. In section 1.5, an overview of brain sensory regions is provided, such as the regions associated with visual perception and auditory perception. When a person remembers detailed information, such as the room they stayed in on their last vacation, the corresponding sensory regions of their brain are reactivated. In section 1.6, the regions of the brain that control memory retrieval are considered, which include part of the frontal cortex, the parietal cortex, and the medial temporal lobe. The final section, 1.7, provides an overview of the organization of this book. This book identifies the brain regions associated with different types of memory and details how activity in these regions changes over time. After the current evidence on the cognitive neuroscience of memory has been reviewed, the final chapter discusses the future of memory research. In the last decade, there have been many advances in understanding the brain mechanisms underlying human memory, but there is much to learn and the next decade promises to be even more exciting.

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