When we're trying to decide which cell phone case to buy or which hotel room to book, we often rely on the ratings and reviews of others to help us choose. But new research suggests that we tend to use this information in ways that can actually work to our disadvantage.
Neuroscientists who study memory have long believed that when we recall an event, our brains turn on the same hippocampal circuit that was activated when the memory was originally formed. However, MIT neuroscientists have now shown, for the first time, that recalling a memory requires a 'detour' circuit that branches off from the original memory circuit.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have devised a method to selectively erase particular fear memories by weakening the connections between neurons involved in forming these memories. In their experiments, they found that fear memory can be manipulated in such a way that some beneficial memories are retained while others, detrimental to our daily life, are suppressed. The research, done using a mouse model, offers insights into how PTSD/specific phobias may be better treated.
The human brain has a region of cells responsible for linking sensory cues to actions and behaviors and cataloging the link as a memory. Cells that form these links have been deemed highly stable and fixed. Now, the findings of a Harvard Medical School study conducted in mice challenge that model, revealing that the neurons responsible for such tasks may be less stable, yet more flexible than previously believed.
According to new research from the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, experiencing something and remembering it later is not a neural 'direct flight.' The pathway in the brain's hippocampus that underlies long-term memory formation contains at least one 'stopover' that is important specifically for retrieving episodic, personally experienced memories. This is in contrast to known direct memory circuits that pass through the hippocampus. This detour may be involved in quickly updating memories and responding to instinctual fears via hormonal release.
A popular theory in neuroscience proposes that slow development of the prefrontal cortex explains teenagers' seemingly impulsive and risky behavior. But an extensive literature review finds that much of the evidence for that theory misinterprets adolescent exploratory behavior as impulsive and that much of what appears to be impulsivity is behavior that is often guided by the desire to learn about the world.
One of the most striking findings in psychology is that almost all cognitive abilities are positively related, which allows researchers to summarize people's skills on a wide range of domains as one factor, known as 'g' or 'general intelligence.' Despite this, the mechanisms underlying 'g' remain somewhat mysterious. In a new study, scientists from Cambridge, London, and Berlin use longitudinal data to directly compare different proposed explanations for the phenomenon of 'g.'
New experiments described in the Journal of Neuroscience support distinct roles for two brain pathways in processing information related to an object, with one carrying a largely invariant representation of an object and the other a flexible one depending on what we do with an object.
A study in eNeuro shows that, when remembering a sequence of events, the brain focuses on the event paid the least attention, rather than replaying the events in the order they occurred. This finding suggests that attention during the initial encoding of a memory influences how information is manipulated in working memory.
Imagining an action between two objects (the umbrella being lodged in the door lock) and a potential consequence (not being able to lock the door) may help people improve their memory for relationships with other objects, according to a recent Baycrest Health Sciences study published in the Memory & Cognition journal.