associative nature of long-term memory is based in the brain's neural
networks. These networks are composed of neural cells, called neurons.
It is estimated that there are over 100 billion neurons in the brain
which can form many trillions of potential interconnections. These
neurons form complex webs that enable the brain to perform as an
extremely powerful, parallel processor. Neurons communicate across
junctions, called synapses, by electrochemical means. There are
approximately one million trillion synapses.
we learn, our neural circuitry changes. Synapses increase in efficiency
to facilitate the transmission of nerve impulses as learning occurs.
Our brain alters the strength of existing neural connections, alters
the information contained in neural webs, and/or produces new neural
connections between neurons. This means that our brains are constantly
changing throughout our lifetime. The more that specific neural
pathways are used the stronger they become and the more likely they
will be used again. As multiple pathways are simultaneous excited,
new neural pathways are created which increases the brain's ability
more we recall and use specific memories or information the easier
recall of the information becomes. However, this does not mean that
memories, particularly of our life experiences, will remain 100%
as they were first encoded in our neural pathways. Overtime with
repeated recall some memories undergo change. It may be that our
emotional state at recall influences how we experience the memory
which in turn effects its neural coding.