MadSci Network: NeuroScience

Subject: Is human memory similar to to the ram in a pc?

Date: Wed Jan 1 21:53:06 1997
Posted by: Leonard A. Briscoe, Jr.
Grade level: grad
School/Organization: NA
City: Baltimore State/Province: Maryland
Country: US
Area of science: NeuroScience
Message ID: 852177186.Ns
Is human memory similar to to the ram in a pc?


Forgive me if the way my question is formulated makes it difficult
to understand.  I have no formal scientific education in this area --
just curiosity.  Please tell me if I am totally off or not.

Does human memory(short-term and long-term) operate similarly to the
ram of a PC?  Meaning, are memories constantly renewed/maintained by some 
sort of constant cycling process which maintains their integrity
(like information in ram memory, which is lost when one shuts off
the computer), or are they saved in some sort of dormant way -- 
like a hard drive? 

It seems inconceivable to me that they are not constantly maintained.  
Since I have some small idea how our biochemistry works, it would seem 
to me that any thing(particularly a memory fragment saved in some sort of 
biochemical/bioelectric form) would cease to exist if left dormant.
If memory does infact function like I imagine it to, then that would mean that
it would be impossible to reconstitute someones memory after a cryogenic
sleep -- unless the brain was kept running one a minimal amount of bioelectric 

Thank you for taking time to answer my question. 


Re:Is human memory similar to to the ram in a pc?

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