Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How memories are made

It's like a science fiction movie . . . you know, those cheap sci-fi thrillers in which some mad scientist discovers a way to read the memories by analyzing the nerve cells of somebody's brain . . . perhaps even transferring the memories to someone else's brain.

Or that new TV sci-fi called Fringe in which memories of both living subjects and the recently deceased can be "read" or analyzed.

Well, ok, it's not quite like that . . . but recently scientists have discovered a method to observe neurons in a living human brain creating, then recalling, specific memories. Using video clips of episodes from Seinfeld, The Simpsons, etc., researchers recorded memories being made, then later recalled.

They were able to tell which clip would be recalled a moment before the subject actually had the experience of recalling it!

Learn more about it in the summary article How Memories are Made and Recalled at Science Daily.

The original research findings are found in:

Internally Generated Reactivation of Single Neurons in Human Hippocampus During Free Recall

Hagar Gelbard-Sagiv, Roy Mukamel, Michal Harel, Rafael Malach, and Itzhak Fried.
, 2008; DOI: 10.1126/science.1164685

Hey, don't forget the FREE holiday lectures from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute on a related topic:

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