Memory - A Path Explanation

At the simplest level, the brain is constructed of neural networks. Through experience, the connections between neurons become stronger or weaker depending on signals from surrounding/connecting neurons.

A stronger connection between neurons means an incoming signal from a connecting neuron will be correlated with a firing of the connected neuron (i.e. an action potential in Neuron A should result in a higher probability in a reaction potential in Neuron B, the connected neuron).

As related or similar experiences occur, networks (clusters) of neurons become synchronized more specifically to these kinds of events (experiences).

At some point, a subset of these neurons (invariant, prime or trigger neurons) become specific to an event experience.

Thus any experience that simultaneously (some bounded interval) stimulates prime neurons results in a specific firing sequence of neurons which were involved in a previous experience.

This cascade of neural cluster sequence firings result in a feeling (emotion, visualization  etc.) similar to original event experiences (i.e. a memory of the experience). This is similar to auto-associative neural networks.

The key to this paradigm is the existence of these invariant neurons which may exist at any position in the firing sequence of the cascade.

This is why a smell, word or a picture can result in the recall of a specific event.

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