Neuroscience 6e Chapter 30 Summary

Human memory entails many biological strategies and anatomical substrates. Primary among these are a system for memories that can be expressed by means of language and can be made available to the conscious mind (declarative memory) versus systems that concern skills and associations that are essentially nonverbal, operating at a largely unconscious level (nondeclarative or procedural memory). Based on evidence from amnesic patients and knowledge about normal patterns of neural connections in the human brain, the hippocampus and associated midline diencephalic and medial temporal lobe structures are critically important in acquiring and consolidating declarative memories, although not in storing them, which occurs primarily in the cerebral cortices. In contrast, the acquisition and consolidation of nondeclarative memories for motor and other unconscious skills depend on the integrity of the premotor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, and are not affected by lesions that impair the declarative memory system. The common denominator of stored information is generally thought to be alterations in the strength and number of the synaptic connections in the cerebral cortices that mediate associations between stimuli and the behavioral responses to them, which include perceptions, thoughts, and emotions as well as motor actions.