Navigation Links
Researchers know what you were about to say; fMRI used to detect memory storage and retrieval

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University have provided evidence that the act of recalling a memory is a bit like mental time travel. Their study, presented in the Dec. 23 edition of the journal Science, demonstrates that the same areas of the brain that are active during an event are activated when a person attempts to recall that event ?seconds before the memory surfaces.

"This study shows that, as you search for memories of a particular event, your brain state progressively comes to resemble the state it was in when you initially experienced the event," said Sean Polyn, a post-doctoral fellow at the Computational Memory Lab in Penn's Department of Psychology. "It is all part of the brain's ability to cross-reference memories, pulling together separate pieces of information from an elaborate network of stored representations to recreate an event."

The inability to recall something is a common frustration.

"An every-day strategy for getting at lost memories involves using a part of a memory to pull out the entire thought, much like when you try remember where you put your keys last night," Polyn said. "If you recall that you were washing dishes, that might trigger associated memories, leading you to remember that your keys are next to the sink. We refer to this phenomenon as 'bootstrapping.'"

According to Polyn, this "bootstrapping" effect occurs as a brain area called the hippocampus helps sort through the storage bins of memory, returning the brain to its state at the time of the initial experience. Polyn believes that the knowledge of how the brain uses its memories could be applied to designing more detailed models of memory, which could help treat brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. This knowledge could also guide creation of more self-sufficient artificial neural networks and robots.

The study also broke new ground in how fMRI could be used to study how brain activity changes from second to second. Polyn and his Princeton colleagues gave participants 90 things to remember ?divided among celebrity faces, common objects and famous locations ?using the fMRI to detect which parts of the brain were involved in the learning process for each category. They developed a technique that could track the brain activity corresponding to each of these categories as participants retrieved memories. As they remembered, the technique provided a second-by-second readout of how the brain searched for information.

So participants would not feel compelled to "cram" the 90 items, the researchers presented them in the form of a series of judgments, for example, asking whether or not the subject liked or disliked a labeled photograph of comedian Carrot Top. These judgments were designed to make participants think more deeply about the items, allowing them to form stronger memories. These judgments were interspersed with simple arithmetic questions to keep the participants from simply memorizing the items. The subjects were then asked to freely recall the 90 items, in whatever order they could remember them.

As the research team reviewed the data, they could see how the portions of the brain that stored memories of faces, for example, would activate several seconds before the participant began to name the celebrities. According to Polyn, objects, faces and locations are all stored differently in the brain. When the participants moved from one category to another, the researchers noted a corresponding shift in brain activity.

"The results of this experiment suggest that when we think back to the past, each detail we remember triggers another, until the memory returns completely," Polyn said. "In that sense, memory retrieval is like revisiting the past; brain patterns that are long gone can be revived by the memory system."


'"/>

Source:University of Pennsylvania


Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/28/2016)... Sweden , April 28, 2016 First ... M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin ... 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK ... The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of ... the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the ... of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits a ... crime scene to track the criminal down. An ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly ... support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: