The increase in synaptic firing potential that contributes to memory formation is known as synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity refers to the ability of synapses, or the connections between neurons, to change their strength in response to neural activity. This change in strength can occur in both excitatory and inhibitory synapses.
Synaptic plasticity is thought to underlie many forms of learning and memory, including short-term memory formation, long-term memory formation, and associative learning. Synapses are strengthened when they are repeatedly activated in the presence of certain stimuli. As the strength of a synapse increases, it can become more easily activated in the future, allowing the brain to recall specific memories or behavior patterns.
Synaptic plasticity also plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of long-term memories. Long-term memories occur when synapses are strong enough to remain intact even after the initial stimulus has faded away. This ability is known as long-term potentiation (LTP). LTP is thought to be a key process by which memories are consolidated over time.
In addition to its role in memory formation, synaptic plasticity is also important for the reorganization of neural networks in response to new experiences. When neural networks are reorganized, new memories can be created and old memories can be modified. This type of reorganization is thought to underlie many forms of learning.
Synaptic plasticity is the underlying mechanism behind the formation and maintenance of memories. By changing the connections between neurons, synaptic plasticity allows for the storage and recall of learned information. Without it, memories and learning would not be possible.