Navigation Links
Getting a grasp on memory
Date:3/31/2011

When we suddenly get the answer to a riddle or understand the solution to a problem, we can practically feel the light bulb click on in our head. But what happens after the 'Aha!' moment? Why do the things we learn through sudden insight tend to stick in our memory?

'Much of memory research involves repetitive, rote learning,' says Kelly Ludmer, a research student in the group of Prof. Yadin Dudai of the Institute's Neurobiology Department, 'but in fact, we regularly absorb large blocks of information in the blink of an eye and remember things quite well from single events. Insight is an example of a one-time event that is often well-preserved in memory.'

To investigate how lessons we gain from insight get embedded in our long-term memory, Ludmer, Dudai and Prof. Nava Rubin of New York University designed a test with 'camouflage images' - photographs that had been systematically degraded until they resembled inkblots. When volunteers first viewed the images, they were hard pressed to identify them. But after the camouflage was switched with the original, undoctored picture for a second, the subjects experienced an 'Aha!' moment - the image now popped out clearly even in the degraded image. Their perceptions, says Ludmer, underwent a sudden change - just as a flash of insight instantly shifts our world view. To tax their memory of the insightful moment, participants were asked to repeat the exercise with dozens of different images and, in a later repeat session, they were given only the camouflaged images (together with some they hadn't seen before) to identify.

The team found that some of the memories disappeared over time, but the ones that made it past a week were likely to remain. All in all, about half of all the learned 'insights' seemed to be consolidated in the subjects' memories.

To reveal what occurs in the brain at the moment of insight, the initial viewing session was conducted in a functional MRI (fMRI) scanner. When the scientists looked at the fMRI results, they were surprised to find that among the areas that lit up in the scans - those known to be involved in object recognition, for instance - was the amygdala. The amygdala is more famously known as the seat of emotion in the brain. Though it has recently been found to play a role in the consolidation of certain memories, studies have implied that it does so by attaching special weight to emotion-laden events. But the images used in the experiment - hot-air balloons, dogs, people looking through binoculars, etc. - were hardly the sort to elicit an emotional response. Yet, not only was the amygdala lighting up in the fMRI, the team found that its activity was actually predictive of the subject's ability to identify the degraded image long after that moment of induced insight in which it was first recognized.

'Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that the amygdala is important for creating long-term memories - not only when the information learned is explicitly emotional, but also when there is a sudden reorganization of information in our brain, for example, involving a sudden shift in perception,' says Ludmer. 'It might somehow evaluate the event, 'deciding' whether it is significant and therefore worthy of preservation.'


'/>"/>

Contact: Yivsam Zagad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43852
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Many veterans not getting enough treatment for PTSD
2. 57 Million Americans Are on the Brink of Getting Diabetes: A Convenient Lab Test Can Help Pull Them Back
3. Panel asks dairy avoiders: Are you getting enough?
4. Beware of Getting Caught in the Crossfire, Warns MediCare International
5. Some older ER patients are getting the wrong medicines, U-M study finds
6. Some Older ER Patients Are Getting the Wrong Medicines, U-M Study Finds
7. New Breast Cancer Book Offers Humor Filled Look at Being Thirty-Something, Single And Getting Through Diagnosis
8. Getting heavier, younger: U-M study shows generational shift in obesity
9. Getting Through the First 60 Days as a New Parent Just Got Easier
10. Fear of getting fat seen in healthy womens brain scans
11. Getting the bead on conception
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Today, Jefferson Health in Philadelphia ... announced an agreement to create the Jane and Leonard Korman Respiratory Institute in ... Leonard Korman Family Foundation. The collaboration leverages the strengths of each organization and ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... ... Healthcare companies are trying to meet talent shortages and find new ways to ... “If you’re a healthcare executive open to new opportunities this year you’re probably taking ... you are for a new job search. I’ve heard from countless job seekers in ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... 27, 2017 , ... The American Brain Foundation last night ... Neurology Award (PLINA). The couple joins a prestigious list of past PLINA winners, ... actor Michael J. Fox and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. , Smith ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... 2017 , ... SyncDog, Inc. , the leading ISV ... 2017 in Santa Clara, California. Each year, MobileIron Live! assembles mobility innovators, ... maximize the benefits of mobility in their operations securely. MobileIron is ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... Malibu, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... United States with an oil many times purer and more potent than the market ... mountain air of Gstaad, Switzerland, as well as a patented chromatography process for extraction, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... Texas , April 20, 2017  Vivify Health, ... mobile devices, has been awarded a very significant patent ... via EMRs to continual care via digital health.  This ... key intellectual property and further secures Vivify,s position as ... launched in 2009, was the first company to apply ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... WOONSOCKET, R.I. , April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... (NYSE: CVS), today unveiled a new store design ... new assortment of healthier food, health-focused products and ... the store to help customers discover new offerings. ... represent the next evolution of the customer experience ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... LUND, Sweden , April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... OTCQX: NEVPF) ("NeuroVive") today announced positive preclinical ... company,s preclinical compound for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), ... NV556 has previously ... STAM™ NASH model. Today, NeuroVive,s scientists present ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: