Feb 132006
 

Rat

Neuroscientists from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT have discovered that after completing a task, a rat’s brain will mentally replay recent events, but in reverse order. They believe this process plays a key role in learning and memory and may explain why taking frequent breaks when studying is more effective for learning new material than cramming for extended periods of time. Their work could yield a better understanding of amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders and lead to more efficient methods for learning and memorization.

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Feb 022006
 

LiveScience.com is reporting today that a new study by neuroscientists at the University of California, Irvine has confirmed the long held belief that different pieces of a single memory are stored in separate locations in the brain. This is the first time solid evidence has been collected verifying that what we recognize as a single experience is actually saved in our brains as multiple memory fragments. The researchers believe their work will lead to insights into understanding and ultimately treating neurological disorders that affect memory storage, retention, and recall.

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Dec 222005
 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have done a study confirming a long held belief by most neuroscientists that during memory recall the brain “time travels” back to the state it was in when the memory was formed. As reporterd by LiveScience.com today, the scientists have found that by recording the brain activity of people while they are forming memories, they can later predict ahead of time what memory a person is trying to recall by analyzing their brain activity during the memory retrieval process.

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Nov 282005
 
Brain image scan

source: MIT

LiveScience.com is reporting that a new brain-imaging study performed by researchers at MIT has concluded that if you predict a memory will need to be recalled as you store that memory, you will in fact be able to remember it better later. In other words, people who make more accurate memory predictions are better learners. The opportunity for prediction does not only occur during the initial learning stage, but rather is a continuous process by which the subconscious monitors the brain to determine if something is known as well as it should be. Better learners will intuitively react to the feedback from this monitoring process and review information that is flagged as not properly understood or memorized.

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Nov 242005
 

Scientists from the University of Oregon have discovered that a person’s memory capacity is not just dependent on how much information their brain can store, but also on how well they are able to filter their thoughts to focus on what they are trying to remember. In other words, people with an effective “thought bouncer” managing memory crowd control are better at remembering and keeping track of their thoughts. LiveScience.com has an article today about the research results that will be published in the Nov. 24 issue of the journal Nature.

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Oct 192005
 

Macaca mulatta in Guiyang

By Einar Fredriksen [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

LiveScience.com published a summary today of a study that will be appearing in the October 20th issue of the journal Neuron regarding associative memories in rhesus monkeys. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have been trying to determine how associative memory works and have produced some surprising results about what happens neurologically when it would appear that something has been forgotten.

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Feb 162005
 

In an effort to explore the relationship between brain activity and consciousness, Stanford University nueroscientist Bill Newsome is currently seeking regulatory approval to implant an electrode into his own brain. Engadget has a summary of an interview MIT Technology Review did recently with Newsome in which he explains his obsession with determining how brain functions give rise to consciousness and why the limitations of studying animals have driven him to propose this extraordinary experiment.

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