Our brains are nothing short of amazing. We know! We get to work with them every day here at INDY Neurofeedback. From our work with the youngest of preschoolers to the most senior of seniors, we marvel at the brain’s ability to collect, associate, connect, learn, infer, and create memories with seconds-long impressions happening every moment of every day.
With that in mind, it’s worth remembering that our brains are more than processing machines. Brains are constantly forming the basis of what makes each of us unique every minute of every day. In fact, our brains actually physically change with every new thought and piece of information.
Every sensory experience each of us has initiates changes in the molecules of the brain’s neurons, reshaping the way they connect to one another. So, quite literally your brain is made of information, which in turn, constantly re-shapes your brain. Everything stored in your memory exists because your brain’s molecules, cells, and synapses calculate time and set information in place within these brain spaces.
So what exactly is stored learning or memory? “Memories are really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time,” according to neuroscientist Nikolay Kukushkin.
So how does retrieving a memory from your brain work?
“What is unique about neurons is they can connect to thousands of other neurons, each very specifically,” says Kukushkin. “And what makes those connections a network is the fact that those specific connections, those synapses, can be adjusted with stronger or weaker signals. So every experience has the potential to reroute the relative strengths of all those neuronal connections.”
In essence, there is no singular place in the brain where information and memories are stored. Because our brains have an amazing property called plasticity — a feature of neurons that memorize — our memory is simply the brain system itself.
Obviously, no recalled information (memories) exists in a vacuum. Our brains break down experiences into multiple timescales, with individual memories existing within multiple time windows of different lengths. This recalling requires exchanges of information in the brain on the molecular scale – which of course, is beyond the perception of event you are remembering. This process is pretty difficult for even neuroscientists to completely comprehend. But we do know quite a lot more about the mechanics of brain function and interbrain communication, thanks to fascinating processes like neurofeedback.
If you have questions about memory, learning, and your brain health, we invite you to talk to us about neurofeedback. The techniques INDY Neurofeedback utilizes can help you — and your brain — function in the best ways possible.