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It is proposed that short term memory is prolonged firing of neurons which depletes the Readily Releasable Pool (RRP) of neurotransmitter vesicles at presynaptic terminals[1]. The pattern of depleted presynaptic terminals represents the long term memory trace and the depletion itself is the short term memory. After the firing has slowed down, endocytosis causes short term memory to decay. If the endocytosis is allowed to finish (the memory is not activated again), the pattern of exhausted postsynaptic terminals becomes invisible and the short term memory disappears. The long term memory remains as the metastable pattern of the neuronal excitations.

See also



  1. Tarnow, Eugen (2008): Short Term Memory May Be the Depletion of the Readily Releasable Pool of Presynaptic Neurotransmitter Vesicles. ([1])