Ever imagined what would life be like if you were blessed with impeccable memory? If this was to be true, then you would remember everything that has been taken-in as input from the sensory organs. The thought itself is overwhelming. But in reality, brain sorts all the information into two kinds of memories – short term memory and long term memory. Information that is perceived to be irrelevant is discarded. Short term memory helps us with information that we need right now and discards it once used. On the other hand long term memory stores information to be used in the long run or for life.
We tend to collect information through nerve cells of sensory organs and store it in the form of memories. This information flows through nerve cells in the form of electrical impulses, thereby activating the neurotransmitters. Further, neurotransmitters transmit information to nerve cells through neural pathways and move it in line with neurons. If we use this information immediately, neurons categorize this information as short term memories. All the information is stored and this is proportional to the size of the brain. Strength of the neural pathways determines our ability to recollect information.
A recent research on object-based attention propounded that human brain is capable of filtering relevant pieces of information from heaps of data. For instance, if we direct the brain to ventilate a house, it would focus on opening the door and windows of the house and not of neighboring houses. A recent research suggests that human brain segregates importance information and stores it in our memory.
Perception can defined as our ability to see, hear or acknowledge things in our surroundings with the help of sensory organs, whereas memory refers to brains ability to store information and recollect when needed. The concepts of memory and perception have been studied and investigated separately. Both the skills of the brain are considered to be important in dealing with psychiatric illnesses amongst humans. Our responsiveness to external stimuli is dependent upon these two factors.
We are known to auto-extend attention to the entire object while dealing with a part of it. We tried to study the tendency of human brain to filter relevant information from the whole set. For instance, in the above experiment the brain would focus on both doors as well windows of that particular house in order to ventilate it. The point to be understood here is, the brain tries to keep track of both the objects. These objects would be registered in the short-term memory of the brain. Irrelevant objects like neighbors houses would be filtered by the brain.
Medical experts used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to tap the neuronal activity of the brain to examine the results of this experiment physiologically. A lot of activity has been observed in the cerebral cortex of the brain. The sole purpose of the experiment was to tap the positioning of relevant and irrelevant objects during the filtering process. A remarkable finding of the experiment is that a lot of activity was observed in that region of the brain that mainly deals with perception. This clearly indicates that we can attribute several important functions of human cognition to our perception.