Memory is a complicated phenomenon. Researchers still don’t know exactly how it works at the physiological level. Long-term memory involves the hippocampus of the brain. Some researchers think the hippocampus binds together different elements of a memory, which are stored in separate areas of the brain. In other words, the hippocampus helps with memory organization. Other researchers think that the hippocampus helps with memory consolidation, or the transfer of information into long-term memory.
The brain area involved in processing a memory may determine where memories are stored. For example, memories of visual information probably end up in the visual cortex. Research suggests that there may be specific neural circuits for particular memories. Psychologists also think that memory relates to changes in neurotransmitter release from neurons, fluctuations in hormone levels, and protein synthesis in the brain.