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The human brain consists of neurons that transmit impulses like wires that conduct electricity.I am confused about where are our thoughts stored and what really are thoughts? For example if I think about space, what is actually happening in my brain, and in what form is my memory that there are black holes in space, stored?

After doing a little bit of research I somehow came to the conclusion that thoughts are nothing but the electro-chemical reactions that are triggered by external stimuli and Hippocampus is responsible for storing long term memory. But I was unable to understand what the following paragraph means:

"The hippocampus helps to solidify the pattern of connections that form a memory but the memory itself depends on the solidification of connections between the individual brain cells".

Please explain it. Am I correct so far? Please help.

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closed as too broad by Abdullah, Bez, Chris, AliceD, p.s.w.g Feb 15 '15 at 0:44

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ In short - it's more complicated than that ;) $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Feb 12 '15 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron, am I correct when I say that thoughts are nothing but the electro-chemical reactions that are triggered by external stimuli, ? $\endgroup$ – Abdullah Feb 12 '15 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ I think we don't know how thoughts arise from incredible amount of chemical reactions in brain. And of course internal stimuli are important. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Feb 12 '15 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron, Can you please frame an answer explaining the above paragraph, :)? $\endgroup$ – Abdullah Feb 12 '15 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ I know nothing about neuroscience! Your question is on-topic here but I thought I would let you know that your question would also be a very good fit for CognitiveScience.SE $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Feb 12 '15 at 17:22
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The hippocampus helps to solidify the pattern of connections that form a memory but the memory itself depends on the solidification of connections between the individual brain cells".

This refers to the phenomenon called Long Term Potentiation which regulates synaptic strength between neurons. Certain patterns of firing (high frequency) causes the post synaptic neuron to strengthen the synapses. One way of doing that is by increasing the number of receptors (Usually NMDA receptors). Due to this, the response would be stronger in the next firing event. You can imagine its effects- more number of times you read a passage better will you remember it.

Hippocampus is involved in this process (it is one region where a lot of synaptic dynamics happens) but consolidation and long term storage of memories is handled by the cortex. Essentially what happens when a memory is formed is strengthening of synapses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @WYSIWYG, but I could not understand what "...patterns of firing.." means. $\endgroup$ – Abdullah Feb 13 '15 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Abdullah Pattern means the how the frequently and at what intensity is the synaptic signal given. I said patterns because in certain cases continuous firing can also cause weakening of synapses. This is called Long Term Depression. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Feb 13 '15 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ +1.Moving on to my original question,is it yet to be discovered what thoughts are and in which form are they stored? $\endgroup$ – Abdullah Feb 13 '15 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Abdullah To an extent. The term "thought", itself is quite broad. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Feb 13 '15 at 11:08

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