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Human Neuropsychology

In discussing human behavior and the brain, what would be the relationship between learning and memory from a functional perspective? Why would they be considered interdependent?

There are many studies on animals in regard to this information; have there been any case studies or research to map this relationship?

What are the comparisons in regards to humans vs. animals in terms of understanding the learning-to-memory link?

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1.) In discussing human behavior and the brain, what would be the relationship between learning and memory from a functional perspective? Why would they be considered interdependent?

Basic foundations in physiological mechanisms and brain functions indicate that the complex brain consists of many billions of neurons. According to Pinel (2006), neurodevelopment associated with brain mechanisms "begin with a single fertilized egg cell and ends with a functional adult brain" (p. 212). The significance of the relationship between learning and memory is based on studies that show learning plays an important role in memory functions. For example, learning has a key function in episodic memory - the ability to accurately recall events from daily experiences. Learning and memory are perceived to be interdependent because the relationship involves the ability of individuals to encode and later retrieve information. Further, as noted in the literature, this relationship has shown to be essential in the assessment of memory disorders concentrating on encoding and retrieval deficits (Olton, 1983; Olton & Samuelson, 1977). For example, memory functions in high cortical regions in the brain are involved in a variety of neuropsychological illnesses due to high cortical regions in the brain in which acute stress modulates cognitive functions (e.g., controlling behavior in short-term working memory).

The ability to learn is based on developing behaviors that are adapted to a changing environment. Learning takes place in four different forms: (a) perceptual learning, (b) stimulus-response learning, (c) motor learning and (d) relational learning. For instance, perceptual learning is the ability to recognize stimuli that have been seen before. The primary function of this form of learning is to categorize objects and/or situations. Stimulated-response refers to learning to perform a particular behavior. Perception of spatial location involves learning about the relationship between many stimuli, and episodic learning involves remembering a sequence of events (Pinel, 2006). According to Pinel, the brain's ability to learn is based on neural networks where neurons are connected through junctions similar to synapses (membranes that transmit cellular information). These junctions serve for purposes of excitement or inhibition. Neural networks can be taught to recognize particular stimuli synapses. For instance, the difference between learning to perform a particular response when a particular stimulus is present and being able to remember an experience occurred is strengthened by the connections between neurons that perceive a stimulus and neurons that control a behavior. Based on relational learning, a person must learn the relation between the present stimuli, and ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses human behavior and the brain, and the relationship between learning and memory.

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