Researchers show that memories reside in specific brain cells Our fond or fearful memories — that first kiss or a bump in the night — leave memory traces that we may conjure up in the remembrance of things past, complete with time, place and all the sensations of the experience. Neuroscientists call these traces memory engrams. But are engrams conceptual, or are they a physical network of neurons in the brain? In a new MIT study, researchers used optogenetics to show that memories really do reside in very specific brain cells, and that simply activating a tiny fraction of brain cells can recall an entire memory — explaining, for example, how Marcel Proust could recapitulate his childhood from the aroma of a once-beloved madeleine cookie. In that famous surgery, Penfield treated epilepsy patients by scooping out parts of the brain where seizures originated. Fast forward to the introduction, seven years ago, of optogenetics, which can stimulate neurons that are genetically modified to express light-activated proteins. False memory
How Friends Ruin Memory: The Social Conformity Effect | Wired Science Humans are storytelling machines. We don’t passively perceive the world – we tell stories about it, translating the helter-skelter of events into tidy narratives. This is often a helpful habit, helping us make sense of mistakes, consider counterfactuals and extract a sense of meaning from the randomness of life. But our love of stories comes with a serious side-effect: like all good narrators, we tend to forsake the facts when they interfere with the plot. We’re so addicted to the anecdote that we let the truth slip away until, eventually, those stories we tell again and again become exercises in pure fiction. The reason we’re such consummate bullshitters is simple: we bullshit for each other. The power of this phenomenon was demonstrated in a new Science paper by Micah Edelson, Tali Sharot, Raymond Dolan and Yadin Dudai. This time, though, the subjects were given a “lifeline”: they were shown the answers given by other people in their film-viewing group. Image: wolfgangfoto/Flickr
How Our Brains Make Memories Sitting at a sidewalk café in Montreal on a sunny morning, Karim Nader recalls the day eight years earlier when two planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. He lights a cigarette and waves his hands in the air to sketch the scene. At the time of the attack, Nader was a postdoctoral researcher at New York University. He flipped the radio on while getting ready to go to work and heard the banter of the morning disc jockeys turn panicky as they related the events unfolding in Lower Manhattan. Nader ran to the roof of his apartment building, where he had a view of the towers less than two miles away. In the following days, Nader recalls, he passed through subway stations where walls were covered with notes and photographs left by people searching desperately for missing loved ones. Like millions of people, Nader has vivid and emotional memories of the September 11, 2001, attacks and their aftermath. Nader believes he may have an explanation for such quirks of memory.
Weight Loss Improves Memory John Gunstad, an associate professor in Kent State University’s Department of Psychology, and a team of researchers have discovered a link between weight loss and improved memory and concentration. The study shows that bariatric surgery patients exhibited improved memory function 12 weeks after their operations. “The initial idea came from our clinical work,” Gunstad said. “I was working at Brown Medical School in Rhode Island at the time and had the chance to work with a large number of people who were looking to lose weight through either behavioral means or weight loss surgery.” Gunstad said he kept noticing that these patients would make similar mistakes. The research team studied 150 participants (109 bariatric surgery patients and 41 obese control subjects) at Cornell Medical College and Weill Columbia University Medical Center, both in New York City, and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, N.D. Notes about this neuroscience research
Memory in the Brain [Interactive] Although most people think of memory as a vault for storing information, it is more like a seamstress who stitches together logical threads into scenes that make sense. In this view, a good memory is therefore not one that holds lots of data but that can deftly separate what is useful from what could distract or upset you. Getting rid of what is not necessary—forgetting—is thus an important part of memory and of thought. It is also critical to emotional wellbeing. Revisiting bad memories is hardly a formula for happiness, after all. To learn more about memory and the power of forgetting, see the January 2012 Scientific American Mind. More to Explore8 Ways To Forget Your TroublesLet It GoA Feeling for the PastTrying to ForgetTotaling Recall10 Novels That Will Sharpen Your Mind [Interactive]
Reminiscence bump explanations: Why we remember young adulthood better than any other age YanLev/iStockphoto/Thinkstock. Twentysomethings are having a moment. They’re inspiring self-help guides (see Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How To Make the Most of Them Now), hit television shows, Tumblrs-turned-handbooks, and lyrical New Yorker think pieces. What is it about twentysomethings? Robin Henig asked in the New York Times Magazine not too long ago. Katy Waldman is a Slate assistant editor. Follow A little-known but robust line of research shows that there really is something deeply, weirdly meaningful about this period. Memory researchers have been wrestling with the reminiscence bump since at least the 1980s, when studies began turning up evidence that memory has a peculiar affinity for events that happen during the third decade of life. Autobiographical memories are not distributed equally across the lifespan. At first, researchers proposed that the reminiscence bump coincided with a phase of developing mental firepower.
Improve Your Memory by Speaking Your Mind’s Language By learning the language your mind uses, you’ll be able to tap into your mind’s full potential and develop a remarkable memory. It’s easier than you think – and you’ll actually have fun doing it. Your Mind Thinks in Pictures Along its evolution, the brain has become amazingly effective in dealing with sensory data. It is by correctly interpreting the five senses that the mind understands the environment and takes decisions. Among the human senses, sight has become the most sophisticated and developed of all. Imagery is the real language of the mind. If I ask you to think about a horse, what comes to your mind? Visual Thinking and Memory To fully illustrate the astonishing effect that images have on your memory, let’s walk through a basic memorization technique called memory pegging. Before getting to the technique, let me give you a simple challenge: memorize a groceries list of ten items. baconeggswinebatteriesbubble gummilkenvelopesspinachcoffeetomato Learning Your Mind’s Basic Vocabulary
10 Things That Can Influence Our Memory Health When we experience something, there’s a variety of different factors which determine how well we’ll remember it—and how we’ll feel about it later on. Science has tasked itself with exploring the things which make our memory tick. Sounds During Sleep Reinforce Memories Scientists have found that memories associated with sound can be reinforced by playing those sounds softly to people while they sleep. In a similar study by the same researchers, participants were asked to remember random locations of images on a screen, each of which was associated with a sound. The scientists involved believe that we use our sleep to process and consolidate our memories. The jury’s out on what practical use this might have—but it at least suggests that we may be able to influence what we remember, with the help of a carefully chosen sound track. Distractions (When You’re Old) As we get older, we tend to become more forgetful. We Can Practice Forgetting Diet Impacts Your Memory
4 Things Most People Get Wrong About Memory Human memory has been shown again and again to be far from perfect. We overlook big things, forget details, conflate events. One famous experiment even demonstrated that many people asked to watch a video of people playing basketball failed to notice a person wearing a gorilla suit walk right through the middle of the scene. So why does eyewitness testimony continue to hold water in courtrooms? Here are four common incorrect assumptions about memory, held by some of the survey subjects, that experts say should be forgotten: 1. Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of those in the random telephone survey said that they agreed with this model of a passively recorded memory. 2. More than three quarters (77.5 percent) of people thought that this would be the case. 3. Most memory experts disagree with this statement, but more than half (55.4 percent) of the surveyed public thought that it was accurate. Image courtesy of iStockphoto/DebbiSmirnoff
La mémoire des bébés En août dernier, j’ai déménagé à l’autre bout du pays avec un enfant qui allait, quelques mois plus tard, fêter son troisième anniversaire. J’étais convaincu qu’il oublierait son ancienne vie —ses amis, ses habitudes— en un ou deux mois. En réalité, plus de six mois plus tard, il s’en souvient encore avec des détails troublants: le Lavomatic sous notre appartement, les petits copains avec qui il courait tout nu, les collègues de ma femme. Je viens juste d’arrêter de faire semblant d’être son amie Iris, abandonnée depuis longtemps —à sa demande. publicité Nous pensons que les enfants ont peu de souvenirs parce que nous-mêmes ne nous rappelons pas grand-chose de notre enfance. Le présent perpétuel, un concept oublié Jusqu’aux années 1980, presque personne n’aurait cru qu’Isaiah puisse encore se souvenir d’Iris. Le concept du présent perpétuel a lui-même été oublié depuis. Les croyances populaires concernant les enfants plus âgés ont également été bouleversées. La mémoire est une passoire
How Memory Works: an Infographic For our blog’s sections on ‘Your Brain‘ and ‘Test Prep‘, we’re always on the lookout for great articles, videos and charts on memory and retention. By helping you understand how our brains work, we want to allow you to try different approaches to studying that will hopefully help you become better learners for life. Over time, we’ve compiled articles on brain foods, how motivation and memory works, methods for better retention, … If we take a look at the sum of all articles and areas of interest, it seems obvious that there should be one chart that combines all of these elements that make up and influence our memory. Thanks to onlinecolleges.com, there now is. Dr.
How to Study Less by Learning Things Once You read over your notes. Then you read them over again. Then you read them over a third time. A lot of study time is wasted because of one problem: you fail to learn things the first time around. Repeatedly going over the same information like putting a band-aid over a sieve. The key to reducing the amount of time you study is simple: learn things the first time you see them, instead of after dozens of repetitions. This is all easier said than done. Step One: Find the Holes If you want to repair a leaky brain, you need to figure out where the holes are. What from this section am I most likely to forget? When you identify weak points, you can invest more time in fixing those instead of wasting time with a blanket studying technique of all information. Step Two: Repair Weak Points Once you’ve identified potential weak-points, you should immediately seek to fix them. Memorizing? Repairing weak points in your understanding isn’t that difficult – if you first know where they are.