How does remembering work
Memory: This is how we shape and forget memories
Memory wants to be explored
When we recall a memory, different parts of our brain communicate with each other, including regions in the cerebral cortex that are responsible for processing information; Regions that process our sensory impressions; and the medial part of the temporal lobe, which appears to help coordinate the process. A recent study examined the retrieval of newly created memories in humans: The researchers found that at the moment of remembering, the waves of nerve activity in the medial temporal lobe synchronize with the waves in the cerebral cortex.
Yet many of the secrets of memory remain unsolved. How exactly are memories encoded within neural groups? How far are those nerve cells distributed over the brain that code a certain memory? To what extent does our brain activity correspond to our experience of memories? These areas of research could one day provide new insights into how the brain works and how to treat amnesia.
For example, recent research has shown that some memories need to be consolidated again each time they are retrieved. That would mean that the act of remembering would temporarily make a certain memory malleable - it could then be strengthened, weakened or otherwise changed as needed. During such a reconsolidation, memories could be treated more easily, which could also be used in the treatment of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
U.S. National Library of Medicine: Memory
Neuroscience - Exploring the Brain, Third Edition
Skill-memory consolidation, Behavioral Brain Research
Memory reconsolidation, Current Biology
Digit-span assessments, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
The article was originally published in English on NationalGeographic.com.
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