The following comment was recently posted in response to a conversation in connection with a Seeded article on the Vine, to wit:
“I have yet come across an understandable explanation how the brain stores memory. Most likely because there has yet to be any real understanding.”
Given the above, I would like to offer my learned opinion on said in hopes that it might provide a better understanding of how and/or where the brain stores information. Or at the very least, “spark” a discussion that will lead to or result in a better understanding about said
First I will post some quoted commentary that should provide a generalized understanding of post-birth brain development and the role that one’s environment plays in the nurturing (learning or data sensing/storing) and the wiring of their brain, to wit:
Brain structure is not genetically determined.
How the brain develops hinges on a complex interplay between the genes you're born with and the experiences you have. Clear evidence has emerged that suggests that activity, experience, attachment, and stimulation determine the structure of the brain.
Early experiences directly affect how the brain is "wired."
At birth, baby's brain is remarkably unfinished. Most of its 100 billion neurons are not yet connected in networks. Some neurons are programmed for specific functions-breathing and heartbeat, but most are not yet designated for tasks and are waiting for the experiences in the environment to determine their function. Connections are created by the sensory experiences-seeing, smelling, touching, and especially tasting, stimulate the growth of neural connections. Forming and reinforcing these connections are the key tasks of early brain development. Read more @: http://www.multcolib.org/birthtosix/braindev.html
I would now like to specifically address the above comment in hopes that I might be able to provide some better understanding as to how and/or where the brain stores “memory”. And the first thing one has to acquire is a better understanding of the fact that the word “memory” is a descriptor word that is used for describing both the data/information that is being stored and recalled ….. as well as the device said data/information is recorded in/on.
Thus said, there is a big difference between “stored memory” data and data ”memory storage” because the former is the “data” and the latter is the “device” ….. and one should always denote the difference when engaging in a technical discussion on the brain/mind.
And secondly, every cell in the body of a living organism, animal or plant, contains stored data/information, but the word “memory” is only applicable to the animal species that have a brain that is capable of consciously recalling (remembering) of environmentally sensed data/information. DNA or inherited info …… and muscular or muscle control info …. are also stored in cells but neither one can be consciously recalled.
And speaking of “consciously recalling”, one needs to acquire the understanding that there is both a conscious mind and a subconscious mind with the conscious mind being that which the “person” perceives he/she to be, ….. to be thinking, dreaming, seeing, saying, feeling, etc. And the understanding that their conscious mind is subservient to their subconscious mind …. which does all the processing of the sensed environmental data, …. the storing and recalling of “memory storage” data ….. and controls all communications with the conscious mind, voluntary muscles, body organs, etc. And that the “mind”, both conscious and subconscious, it not a physical entity ….. but a, per say, process or “operating program”. Also that the word ‘unconscious’ should only be used in reference to the conscious mind because the subconscious mind is never unconscious nor does it ever asleep.
Most every species of animal is capable of sensing and storing environmentally sensed data/information and their subconscious mind is capable of reacting to it if it is again sensed on future occasions, …… regardless of whether or not said information is presented to their conscious mind, the majority of which is not if the conscious mind is asleep.
Likewise, some plant species are also capable of storing environmentally sensed data/information and reacting to it if it is again sensed on future occasions. Ref: Acacia trees and Giraffes - http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/acacias-v-giraffes-a-uniquely-african-tussle/
Genetic memory verses Environmental memory
We know there is sufficiently enough "genetic memory" data in each egg and sperm, ..... after they combine into a single cell fertilized egg, ...... to control and/or direct mitosis (cell division) of said egg as it grow into an adult human of billions of cells .... and to give direction and purpose to each of those billions of cells depending upon where they are located within the human body.
But now, even though both brain neuron cells and body cells contain the same "genetic memory" data (same DNA)....... the "environmental memory" data stored in body cells is not the same as the "environmental memory" data that is stored in "neuron" brain cells. In other words, the "environmental memory" data that in stored in body cells is dependent upon the cell's location within the human body.
And thus I am supposing that every cell has the storage potential of both "genetic memory" data and "environmental memory" data ..... and that both are stored within the Chromosomes or DNA in each cell ..... and the latter is only relevant depending on the cell's location in the human body. And I am supposing said because it makes no logical sense that evolution would evolve or create redundant or different entities for performing the same function of data/information storage.
One could say that some muscle cells have "environmental memory" because they can be nurtured to react (a per say reflex action) to different environmental stimuli as well as to "conscious thought" requests. Is not the "learning to ride a bicycle" the same as nurturing the mental memories of the appendage muscles? And is not the "learning to speak the vocal sounds of a language" the same as nurturing the mental memories of the vocal cord muscles?
And given the fact that "new" neurons are constantly being created and "linked" to existing neurons, .... the "learning" capacity of a human's physical "mental memory" is only limited by their skull size. Excluding the "ageing process", ..... that is.