Is Your Hippopotamus… Oops, I Meant Hippocampus Working?

Posted by: michael  :  Category: Factors affecting Brain Health

The Hippocampus is known as the seat of memory. There is a decrease in volume of the hippocampus during the course of normal aging and that can affect our sense of direction and memory. So, let’s find out a bit more about it.

Know your lobes
There are four main lobes in the brain: frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital. The frontal lobes are directly behind the forehead; the temporal lobes at the sides of the brain; the parietal lobes lie behind the frontal lobes and the occipital lobes situated at the back and lower part of the head.

The hippocampus resides inside the temporal lobes of the brain and in conjunction with the parietal lobes the hippocampus plays a key role in spatial orientation.

Spatial orientation – what does that mean?
Well, basically if your spatial orientation is poor you’re likely to get lost. Your sense of direction becomes faulty and your ability to read and understand maps is compromised. So if your lover offers to take you for a drive make sure his/her hippocampus is functioning well or who knows where you might end up!   

In addition to the part it plays in spatial orientation, the hippocampus plays a critical role in memory encoding and retrieving.

Memory encoding and retrieving – what does that mean?
It means that the hippocampus plays a role in the formation of mental associations between differing types of information received by the brain and in memory recall. For example, the brain might be receiving information from the eyes, nose, touch and so on and the hippocampus identifies any associations between the incoming data so it can store a more complete ‘package’ This is important in that memory recall may be triggered by sensing part of the package rather than waiting for the whole ‘package’ to be sensed – if you can follow what I mean.

But there’s more
The hippocampus decides which information will be stored as long-term memory and which will not. It is suggested the decision to store is based primarily on whether the information is important emotionally or is related to information that is already stored. This facility of selection helps prevent us being overwhelmed by a flood of trivia that might otherwise have been stored and recalled.  

Researchers at University of California Irvine have identified the first known case of a new memory syndrome — a woman with the ability to perfectly and instantly recall details of her past. Given a date, she can recall with astonishing accuracy what she was doing on that date and what day of the week it fell on.

 The brain is surely an incredible organ – are you taking care of yours?


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6 Responses to “Is Your Hippopotamus… Oops, I Meant Hippocampus Working?”

  1. Maribel Says:

    My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that ‘achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice, too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.’

  2. michael Says:

    Yes, achievement is private in that no-one else can ever really know the road you’ve taveled.

  3. barbabas Says:

    Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.

  4. skell Says:

    What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.

  5. gay Says:

    It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.

  6. Albert Wells Says:

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