Memory



The brain is a computer that runs on binary code. Computers are programmed differently as are humans and other sentient life forms. As with a computer, memory and storage capacity varies.

Memory is about focus which goes by many names such as: attention span, mindfulness, conscious awareness, recall, recapture, reflection ... It is influenced by learning disorders, emotional problems, and other factors. As you get older, your ability to multitask and focus diminishes, so doing a workaround helps get everything done efficiently.

In psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. Traditional studies of memory began in the fields of philosophy, including techniques of artificially enhancing memory. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century put memory within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In recent decades, it has become one of the principal pillars of a branch of science called cognitive neuroscience, an interdisciplinary link between cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

Memory is one of the activities of the human mind, much studied by cognitive psychology. It is the capacity to retain an impression of past experiences. There are multiple types of classifications for memory based on duration, nature and retrieval of perceived items.

The main stages in the formation and retrieval of memory, from an information processing perspective, are:

- Encoding (processing of received information by acquisition)

- Storage (building a permanent record of received information as a result of consolidation)

- Retrieval (calling back the stored information and use it in a suitable way to execute a given task)

A basic and generally accepted classification (depending on the duration of memory retention and the amount of stored information during these stages) identifies three distinct types of memory: Sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. The first stage corresponds approximately to the initial moment that an item is perceived.

Some of this information in the sensory area proceeds to the sensory store, which is referred to as short-term memory. Sensory memory is characterized by the duration of memory retention from milliseconds to seconds and short-term memory from seconds to minutes. Once the information is stored, it can be retrieved in a period of time, which ranges from days to years and this type of memory is called long-term memory.

The sensory and short-term memory are bio-electrical types of memory, as they store information in form of electrical signals, whereas the long-term memory is a bio-chemical type of memory.

When we are given a seven digit number, we can remember it only for a few seconds and then forget (short term memory). On the other hand we remember our telephone numbers, since we have stored it in our brain after long periods of consolidation (long term memory).

The definition of working memory, which is erroneously used as a synonym of short-term memory, is based on not only the duration of memory retention but also the way how it is used in daily life activities. For instance, when we are asked to multiply 45 with 4 in our head, we have to perform a series of simple calculations (addition and multiplications) to give the final answer. The process of keeping in mind all this information for a short period of time is called working memory.

Another good example is a chess player, who is playing with multiple opponents at the same time and trying to remember the positions of pieces in all games and using this information to make a good move, when required. Long-term memory can further be classified as declarative (explicit) and procedural (implicit).

Explicit memory requires conscious recall, in other words the information must be called back consciously when it is required. If this information is about our own lives (what we ate for breakfast in this morning, our birth date etc.), it is called episodic memory, if it concerns our knowledge about the world (capital of France, presidents of US etc.), then it is called semantic memory.

Implicit memory is not based on the conscious recall of information stored in our brain, but on the habituation or sensitization of learned facts. We perform better in a given task each time we repeat the task, that is we use our implicit memory without necessarily remembering the previous experiences but using the previously learned behaviors unconsciously. For example, classical conditioning is one kind of implicit memory. Another example is memory resulting from motor learning, which depends upon the cerebellum and basal ganglia. Read more ...




In the News ...





Painless Zap to the Brain Resurfaces 'Forgotten' Memories   Seeker - December 1, 2016

The goal was no less than understanding the neural and cognitive processes that support our ability to retain information. What they discovered goes against the long-standing view that working memory always relies on sustained activity - a use-it-or-lose-it school of thought. Zapping the brain helped awaken short-term memories that, from a scientific standpoint, seemed lost. The information is still there it's not forgotten, it's still in working memory, but it's being represented in a different way than the current historical theory would suggest.




What Happens in the Brain When We Misremember   Scientific American - September 9, 2016

Most people think of memory as a faithful, if incomplete, recording of the past - a kind of multimedia storehouse of experiences. But psychologists, neuroscientists and lawyers know better. Eyewitness testimony, for instance, is now known to be notoriously unreliable. This is because memory is not just about retrieving stored information. Our minds normally construct memories using a blend of remembered experiences and knowledge about the world. Our memories can be frazzled, though, by new experiences that end up tangling the past and the present.




How the Brain Builds Memory Chains   Scientific American - July 21, 2016

Recollections of successive events physically entangle each other when brain cells store them. Think about the first time you met your college roommate. You were probably nervous, talking a little too loudly and laughing a little too heartily. What else does that memory bring to mind? The lunch you shared later? The dorm mates you met that night? Memories beget memories, and as soon as you think of one, you think of more. Now neuroscientists are starting to figure out why.'




Middle-age memory decline a matter of changing focus   Science Daily - July 12, 2016

The inability to remember details, such as the location of objects, begins in early midlife (the 40s) and may be the result of a change in what information the brain focuses on during memory formation and retrieval, rather than a decline in brain function. Brain changes associated with dementia are now thought to arise decades before the onset of symptoms. So a key question in current memory research concerns which changes to the aging brain are normal and which are not.




Erasing unpleasant memories with a genetic switch   Science Daily - June 30, 2016
Dementia, accidents, or traumatic events can make us lose the memories formed before the injury or the onset of the disease. Researchers have now shown that some memories can also be erased when one particular gene is switched off. In the reported study, the mice were trained to move from one side of a box to the other as soon as a lamp lights up, thus avoiding a foot stimulus. This learning process is called associative learning. Its most famous example is Pavlov's dog: conditioned to associate the sound of a bell with getting food, the dog starts salivating whenever it hears a bell. When the scientists switched off the neuroplastin gene after conditioning, the mice were no longer able to perform the task properly. In other words, they showed learning and memory deficits that were specifically related to associative learning. The control mice with the neuroplastin gene switched on, by contrast, could still do the task perfectly.




Hacking memory to follow through with intentions   Medical Express - May 23, 2016

Whether it's paying the electric bill or taking the clothes out of the dryer, there are many daily tasks that we fully intend to complete and then promptly forget about. New research suggests that linking these tasks to distinctive cues that we'll encounter at the right place and the right time may help us remember to follow through. There are many ways we can try to remind ourselves to do something in the future - we can set a calendar alert, jot down a quick note, or even use the old-fashioned string-around-the-finger trick. But the problem with many of these strategies is that they don't provide a reminder that will be noticed when we need it most.




Dreaming brain rhythms lock in memories   BBC - May 12, 2016
Disrupting brain activity in sleeping mice, specifically during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, can stop the animals remembering things they learned that day, a study suggests. It is the clearest evidence to date that REM sleep is critical for memory. By switching off certain brain cells, the researchers silenced a particular, rhythmic type of brain function - without waking the mice. If they did this during REM sleep, the mice failed subsequent memory tests.




Dreaming brain rhythms lock in memories   BBC - May 12, 2016
Disrupting brain activity in sleeping mice, specifically during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, can stop the animals remembering things they learned that day, a study suggests. It is the clearest evidence to date that REM sleep is critical for memory. By switching off certain brain cells, the researchers silenced a particular, rhythmic type of brain function - without waking the mice. If they did this during REM sleep, the mice failed subsequent memory tests.




  Derailed train of thought? Brain's stopping system may be at fault   Medical Express - April 18, 2016
Have you had the experience of being just on the verge of saying something when the phone rang? Did you then forget what it is you were going to say? A study of the brain's electrical activity offers a new explanation of how that happens. Researchers suggest that the same brain system that is involved in interrupting, or stopping, movement in our bodies also interrupts cognition - which, in the example of the phone ringing, derails your train of thought




Been here before: How the brain builds place memories   Science Daily - February 5, 2016

Neuroscientists have succeeded in activating dormant memory cells in rats. Using weak electrical impulses targeted at previously inactive cells in the hippocampus, the researchers induced the cells to recognize the exact place where the impulse had been first administered. The new study offers insight into the question of how memories are formed within our brains.




New Estimate Boosts the Human Brain's Memory Capacity 10-Fold   Scientific American - February 5, 2016
The question of just how much information our brains can hold is a longstanding one. We know that the human brain is made up of about 100 billion neurons, and that each one makes 1,000 or more connections to other neurons, adding up to some 100 trillion in total. We also know that the strengths of these connections, or synapses, are regulated by experience. When two neurons on either side of a synapse are active simultaneously, that synapse becomes more robust; the dendritic spine (the antenna on the receiving neuron) also becomes larger to support the increased signal strength. These changes in strength and size are believed to be the molecular correlates of memory. The different antenna sizes are often compared with bits of computer code, only instead of 1s and 0s they can assume a range of values. Until last week scientists had no idea how many values, exactly. Based on crude measurements, they had identified just three: small, medium and large.




Sleep isn't needed to create long-term memories - just time out   New Scientist - December 27, 2015

Need to remember something important? Take a break. A proper one - no TV or flicking through your phone messages. It seems that resting in a quiet room for 10 minutes without stimulation can boost our ability to remember new information. The effect is particularly strong in people with amnesia, suggesting that they may not have lost the ability to form new memories after all. New memories are fragile. They need to be consolidated before being committed to long-term storage, a process thought to happen while we sleep. But at least some consolidation may occur while we're awake.




7 Things that will improve your memory   Huffington Post - November 11, 2015

1. Get those Z's.
2. Doodle.
3. Be mindful of your diet.
4. Quit smoking.
5. Exercise.
6. Avoid multitasking.
7. Ultimately, live a healthier lifestyle.




Brain mechanism for creating durable memories   Science Daily - October 28, 2015

Rehearsing information immediately after being given it may be all you need to make it a permanent memory. Psychologists found that the same area of the brain activated when laying down a memory is also activated when rehearsing that memory. The study showed that the brain region known as the posterior cingulate -- an area whose damage is often seen in those with Alzheimer's -- plays a crucial role in creating permanent memories.




Different memory resolutions map onto different brain locations   Science Daily - October 21, 2015

Neuroscientists have shown that memories of the same events co-exist at different resolutions in the brain. Coarse and fine memory scales are distributed across different parts of the hippocampus, a brain area that plays an important part in memory. Memories of the same events co-exist at different resolutions in the brain. Coarse and fine memory scales are distributed across different parts of the hippocampus, a brain area that plays an important part in memory.




Scientists to bypass brain damage by re-encoding memories   Science Daily - September 29, 2015

Researchers are testing a prosthesis that translates short-term memories into longer-term ones, with the potential to bypass damaged portions of the brain. The prosthesis, which includes a small array of electrodes implanted into the brain, has performed well in laboratory testing in animals and is currently being evaluated in human patients.




Scientists identify that memories can be lost and found   Science Daily - August 4, 2015

A team of scientists believe they have shown that memories are more robust than we thought and have identified the process in the brain, which could help rescue lost memories or bury bad memories, and pave the way for new drugs and treatment for people with memory problems. Scientists say that reminders could reverse the amnesia caused by methods previously thought to produce total memory loss in rats.




Study unites neuroscience and psychology to paint more complete picture of sleep and memory   PhysOrg - June 11, 2015
A new study from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) integrates neuroscience and psychological research to reveal how sleep is more complex than the Bard might have imagined. The new research shows in animal models that sleep suppresses the activity of certain nerve cells that promote forgetting, insuring that at least some memories will last. We have revealed that one of the ways sleep protects a new memory is by quieting dopamine neuron activity that causes forgetting. Since laboratory animals and humans share a need for sleep, as well as many genetic and circuit mechanisms underlying learning and memory, our findings may shed light on the mechanisms underlying the interaction between sleep and memory in humans.




Workings of working memory revealed   PhysOrg - June 8, 2015

Until now, it was thought that working memory - the way in which we deal with and respond to immediate demands - was underpinned by stable brain patterns. The OHBA team discovered that instead, the areas of the brain responsible for working memory are changing all the time. Previously it was believed that in order to carry out a task, there would be constant brain activity related to the goal of that task. In a review of fifty years of studies using monkeys, the OHBA team found that instead there were periods when there was no brain activity related to the goal. Yet, as soon as it was necessary, these 'activity-silent' periods ended and the brain activity could be observed again.'




'Lost' Memories Restored in Mice   Live Science - May 28, 2015
In a feat that calls to mind the memory-tweaking technology in the film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," a team of researchers restored "lost memories" in the brains of mice. The mice in the study were given a drug that prevented them from consolidating a fearful memory. But when neurons involved in encoding the memory were stimulated with pulses of light, the animals were able to retrieve the forgotten recollection. In some forms of amnesia, past memories may not be erased, but may just be inaccessible for recall.




Repeated remembering erases similar memories   BBC - March 17, 2015

Recalling a particular memory can cause us to forget another, similar memory - and neuroscientists have now watched this process happen using brain scans. Inside the brains of human subjects, they pinpointed the unique imprints of two visual memories that were triggered by the same word. Then they watched as repeatedly recalling one of the images caused the second, interfering memory to vanish. The results suggest that our brains actively delete memories that might distract us from the task at hand.




New insight into how brain performs 'mental time travel'   PhysOrg - February 17, 2015

Mental time travel is the recollection of memories rich in detail regarding the time and place of an original experience that it is much like traveling through time. Researchers found that they can use the activity patterns in a specific region of the brain to substantially improve their ability to predict the order in which the participants recall information that they have recently studied. It's extremely important that we understand what different brain regions are doing as we search through our memories




Memory recall 'better when eyes shut'   BBC - January 16, 2015

Closing your eyes when trying to recall events increases the chances of accuracy. Scientists tested people's ability to remember details of films showing fake crime scenes. They hope the studies will help witnesses recall details more accurately when questioned by police. They say establishing a rapport with the person asking the questions can also help boost memory.




Why Painful Memories Linger   Live Science - December 10, 2014

Memories of traumatic events can be hard to shake, and now scientists say they understand why. Studies on laboratory rats have revealed, for the first time, the brain mechanism that translates unpleasant experiences into long-lasting memories. The findings support a 65-year-old hypothesis called Hebbian plasticity. This idea states that in the face of trauma, such as watching a dog sink its teeth into your leg, more neurons in the brain fire electrical impulses in unison and make stronger connections to each other than under normal situations. Stronger connections make stronger memories. The new findings are not only an important advance in researchers' understanding of how Hebbian plasticity works, but they also may lead to treatments to help patients forget horrible memories, such as those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).




Blood type 'link to memory loss'   BBC - September 11, 2014

There may be a link between a rare blood type and memory loss in later life, American research suggests. People with AB blood, found in 4% of the population, appear more likely to develop thinking and memory problems than those with other blood groups. A US team led by Dr Mary Cushman, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, analysed data from about 30,000 US citizens aged 45 and above. It identified 495 participants who had developed thinking and memory problems, or cognitive impairment, during the three-year study. They were compared to 587 people with no cognitive problems. People with AB blood type made up 6% of the group who developed cognitive impairment, which is higher than the 4% found in the general population.




Similar memories benefit from 'extra space' in brain   BBC - July 8, 2014
Similar memories overlap physically in the brain and this produces less confusion if the brain area responsible is larger, according to new research. Most of us store many similar memories, relating to the places we spend most time and the people we know best. Normally we can tell them apart, though some of us may be better at it than others. The CA3 region was thought to process each memory using distinct sets of brain cells. These findings suggest, however, that when two episodes incorporate similar content, they may in fact be "remembered" by physically overlapping networks - and more space could be beneficial.




How our brains store recent memories, cell by single cell   Science Daily - June 17, 2014

Confirming what neurocomputational theorists have long suspected, researchers report that the human brain locks down episodic memories in the hippocampus, committing each recollection to a distinct, distributed fraction of individual cells. The findings further illuminate the neural basis of human memory and may, ultimately, shed light on new treatments for diseases and conditions that adversely affect it, such as Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.




Sleep's memory role discovered   BBC - June 5, 2014

It is well known that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. But what actually happens inside the brain has been a source of considerable debate. Researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School trained mice in a new skill - walking on top of a rotating rod. They then looked inside the living brain with a microscope to see what happened when the animals were either sleeping or sleep deprived. Their study showed that sleeping mice formed significantly more new connections between neurons - they were learning more.


A connection between two brain cells




Researchers use rhythmic brain activity to track memories in progress   PhysOrg - June 5, 2014
Tuning functions constructed from spatially distributed oscillatory alpha activity are shown during the storage of a single oriented line in visual working memory. Early transient peaks (top) and later sustained peaks (bottom) correspond to distinct stimulus-specific patterns of neural activity observed during stimulus encoding and storage, respectively.




Our memory for sounds is significantly worse than our memory for visual or tactile things   Science Daily - February 27, 2014

Remember that sound bite you heard on the radio this morning? The grocery items your spouse asked you to pick up? Chances are, you won't. Researchers have found that when it comes to memory, we don't remember things we hear nearly as well as things we see or touch. We tend to think that the parts of our brain wired for memory are integrated. But current findings indicate our brain may use separate pathways to process information. Even more, our study suggests the brain may process auditory information differently than visual and tactile information, and alternative strategies -- such as increased mental repetition -- may be needed when trying to improve memory.




Your memory is no video camera: It edits the past with present experiences   Science Daily - February 5, 2014

Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new study. In terms of accuracy, it's no video camera. Rather, memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences to aid survival. You memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences. This the first study to show specifically how memory is faulty, and how it can insert things from the present into memories of the past when those memories are retrieved. The study shows the exact point in time when that incorrectly recalled information gets implanted into an existing memory. To help us survive our memories adapt to an ever-changing environment and help us deal with what's important now.




Younger People Have 'High Definition' Memories   Science Daily - January 14, 2014
Researchers looked at age-related differences on how memories are stored and retrieved. It's not that younger people are able to rem




Scientists and practitioners don't see eye to eye on repressed memory   PhysOrg - December 13, 2013
Skepticism about repressed traumatic memories has increased over time, but new research shows that psychology researchers and practitioners still tend to hold different beliefs about whether such memories occur and whether they can be accurately retrieved. Whether repressed memories are accurate or not, and whether they should be pursued by therapists, or not, is probably the single most practically important topic in clinical psychology since the days of Freud and the hypnotists who came before him. The new findings suggest that there remains a serious split in the field of psychology in beliefs about how memory works.




Possibility of Selectively Erasing Unwanted Memories   Science Daily - September 11, 2013

The human brain is exquisitely adept at linking seemingly random details into a cohesive memory that can trigger myriad associations -- some good, some not so good. For recovering addicts and individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), unwanted memories can be devastating. Now, for the first time, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been able to erase dangerous drug-associated memories in mice and rats without affecting other more benign memories.




Scientists Create New Memories by Directly Changing the Brain   Science Daily - September 11, 2013
By studying how memories are made, UC Irvine neurobiologists created new, specific memories by direct manipulation of the brain, which could prove key to understanding and potentially resolving learning and memory disorders.




Remembering to remember supported by two distinct brain processes   PhysOrg - August 19, 2013
You plan on shopping for groceries later and you tell yourself that you have to remember to take the grocery bags with you when you leave the house. Lo and behold, you reach the check-out counter and you realize you've forgotten the bags. Remembering to remember—whether it's grocery bags, appointments, or taking medications - is essential to our everyday lives. New research sheds light on two distinct brain processes that underlie this type of memory, known as prospective memory.




What Do Memories Look Like?   Science Daily - June 19, 2013
Led by Don Arnold and Richard Roberts of USC, the team engineered microscopic probes that light up synapses in a living neuron in real time by attaching fluorescent markers onto synaptic proteins -- all without affecting the neuron's ability to function. The fluorescent markers allow scientists to see live excitatory and inhibitory synapses for the first time and, importantly, how they change as new memories are formed. The synapses appear as bright spots along dendrites (the branches of a neuron that transmit electrochemical signals). As the brain processes new information, those bright spots change, visually indicating how synaptic structures in the brain have been altered by the new data.




  Download Your Memories; Retrieve Them Later   Discovery - June 3, 2013

Could human memories be uploaded and stored -- just like data -- in a computer? Scientists say not now, but in the coming decades it's likely we'll be able to store our memories in a way that allows us to retrieve them later. Long the stuff of science fiction novels, this kind of merger between computer technology and the human brain is being pushed by new findings in neuroscience, as well as advances in computer science and artificial intelligence.




If you can remember it, you can remember it wrong   PhysOrg - May 21, 2013
Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo is often inescapable. On small scales, we know it is in fact impossible to measure something without changing its essential character in some way. One idea that has recently gained momentum, is that although our brains have mechanisms for unpacking past experience into a form where it can be consciously manipulated with the full power of the mind, mechanisms to repack those memories into the original form lack similar finesse. In this light, once touched, a memory is no longer exactly the same.




Reactivating memories during sleep: Memory rehearsal during sleep can make a big difference in remembering later   PhysOrg - April 12, 2013
Why do some memories last a lifetime while others disappear quickly? A new study suggests that memories rehearsed, during either sleep or waking, can have an impact on memory consolidation and on what is remembered later. The new Northwestern University study shows that when the information that makes up a memory has a high value (associated with, for example, making more money), the memory is more likely to be rehearsed and consolidated during sleep and, thus, be remembered later.




Aging brain gets stuck in time, researchers show   PhysOrg - March 14, 2012
The aging brain loses its ability to recognize when it is time to move on to a new task, explaining why the elderly have difficulty multi-tasking, Yale University researchers report. Laubach's team was studying the impact of aging on working memory, the type of memory that allows you to recall that dinner is in the oven when you are talking on the phone. The researchers examined brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex of young and older rats that is related to spatial working memory - the type of memory that allows you to recall, for example, that mashed potatoes are on the stove and the turkey is in the oven




Remembrance of things future: Long-term memory sets the stage for visual perception   PhysOrg - December 28, 2011
Rather than being a passive state, perception is an active process fueled by predictions and expectations about our environment. In the latter case, memory must be a fundamental component in the way our brain generates these precursors to the perceptual experience – but how the brain integrates long-term memory with perception has not been determined.




Walking through doorways causes forgetting, new research shows   PhysOrg - November 17, 2011
We've all experienced it: The frustration of entering a room and forgetting what we were going to do. Or get. Or find. Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.




How the Brain Makes Memories: Rhythmically   Science Daily - October 11, 2011
The brain learns through changes in the strength of its synapses -- the connections between neurons -- in response to stimuli. Now, in a discovery that challenges conventional wisdom on the brain mechanisms of learning, UCLA neuro-physicists have found there is an optimal brain "rhythm," or frequency, for changing synaptic strength. And further, like stations on a radio dial, each synapse is tuned to a different optimal frequency for learning.




Your Memory Might Not Be As Powerful As You Think   Live Science - August 4, 2011
A significant number of Americans believe that memory is more powerful, objective and reliable than it actually is, a new survey finds. Some memory myths are so pervasive that up to 83 percent of people believe them.The survey, published online today (Aug. 3) in the journal PLoS ONE, queried a nationally representative sample of 1,500 Americans about a variety of common beliefs about memory. The survey found that almost two-thirds of Americans believe that memory works like a video camera, accurately recording events for later review. In fact, study researchers said, scientific data suggests that even confident eyewitnesses to an event are wrong about what happened 30 percent of the time.




  Social pressure falsifies memory: study   PhysOrg - June 30, 2011
How easy is it to falsify memory? New research at the Weizmann Institute shows that a bit of social pressure may be all that is needed. The study, which appears Friday in Science, reveals a unique pattern of brain activity when false memories are formed – one that hints at a surprising connection between our social selves and memory.




Memory Lapses Linked to Brain Cells Napping   Live Science - April 28, 2011
If you're staying up past your bedtime, you may not be as awake as you think you are. A new study of sleep-deprived rats finds that some of the animals' brain cells go into an "off" state even as the rats remain active and seemingly alert.




Is Your Brain Sleeping While You're Awake?   National Geographic - April 28, 2011
Key parts of sleep-deprived brains may go offline, hindering decision-making. If you think you can function on minimal sleep, here's a wake-up call: Parts of your brain may doze off even if you're totally awake, according to a new study in rats.




Where unconscious memories form   PhysOrg - December 16, 2010
A small area deep in the brain called the perirhinal cortex is critical for forming unconscious conceptual memories.




Researchers find novel memory-enhancing mechanism in brain   PhysOrg - December 15, 2010
In collaboration with scientists at Germany's University of Munster, the UCI team found that a small protein called neuropeptide S can strengthen and prolong memories of everything from negative events to simple objects. According to study leader Rainer Reinscheid, UCI associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, the discovery could provide important clues about how the brain stores memories and also lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other cognitive impairments.




  Sleep helps brain sift memories, study shows   PhysOrg - December 1, 2010
Most adults say they can't remember things as well as they used to. But what they really mean is that they can't remember anything for very long - and poor sleep may be the cause.




How memories are born   PhysOrg - October 25, 2010
When we experience something new, or wish to remember something important, groups of cells deep inside the center of our brains fire in unison as a new memory is born.




Kids' Mental Number Lines Reveal Math Memory   Live Science - September 11, 2010
Kids who visualize numbers as an evenly spaced line are better at remembering the digits than kids who scrunch up the numbers in their heads, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Psychological Science, suggest the way kids visualize numbers reflects their understanding of what the symbols mean.




Vivid dreams improve our memories   Telegraph.co.uk - August 16, 2010
Vivid dreams can improve our memories and make us better problem solvers, a study indicates.




Memory researchers explain latest findings on improving the mind, stopping memory loss   PhysOrg - August 13, 2010
The ability to remember is not just to glimpse into the past; a sharp memory can help with creativity, productivity and even the ability to imagine the future, according to several psychologists.




Remembering so as not to forget   PhysOrg - July 20, 2010
Verbal distractions are a primary cause of poor memory, according to scientific tests, which prove that the key to preventing ourselves from forgetting is to rehearse and refresh our thoughts. Psychologists from the University of Bristol conducted a series of tests with 117 six year old children and 104 eight year old children to assess why we forget and how we preserve material in working memory, which governs our ability to process information in order to complete everyday tasks such as problem solving and arithmetic.




Memories are made of this: New study uncovers key to how we learn and remember   PhysOrg - June 28, 2010
The study in the Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology found one of the key proteins involved in the process of memory and learning. The breakthrough study has potential to impact drug design to treat Alzheimer's disease.




Preserving memory with age   PhysOrg - May 18, 2010
If you lived longer, would you still remember everything? It depends. Two methods of extending life span have very different effects on memory performance and decline with age. Two authors determined how each of the behaviors declines with age, and tested the effects of two known regulators of longevity -- dietary restriction and reduced Insulin/IGF-1 signaling -- on these declines. Surprisingly, very different effects on memory were achieved with the two longevity treatments: dietary restriction impaired memory in early adulthood but maintained memory with age, while reduced Insulin/IGF-1 signaling improved early adult memory performance but failed to preserve it with age. These results suggest not only that longevity treatments could help preserve cognitive function with age, but also that different longevity treatments might have very different effects on such declines.




Shedding light on the dynamics of memory: Researchers find mechanism that maintains memories   PhysOrg - April 13, 2010
Why do we remember? What allows our brains to retain bits of information (while forgetting others) for years and years? Why can we remember things that happened decades ago, but forget whether we left the lights on when we left home this morning?




Bad Memories Erased with Behavior Therapy   Live Science - December 9, 2009
In a scientific experiment that brings to mind the memory-erasing escapade in the 2004 film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," scientists have blocked fearful recollections in human participants, sans drugs. The results challenge the view that our long-term memories are fixed and resistant to change. This isn't the first time science has endeavored to understand and vanquish our fears. But it's the first time using a behavioral technique has been proven to work in humans, as opposed to a pharmacological one. A similar study was carried out in rats and reported earlier this year.




Noninvasive Technique to Rewrite Fear Memories Developed   Science Daily - December 10, 2009
Researchers at New York University have developed a non-invasive technique to block the return of fear memories in humans. The technique, reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature, may change how we view the storage processes of memory and could lead to new ways to treat anxiety disorders.




Sounds During Sleep Aid Memory, Study Finds   New York Times - November 19, 2009
Science has never given much credence to claims that you can learn Chinese or French by having the instruction CDs play while you sleep. If any learning happens that way, most scientists say, the language lesson is probably waking the sleeper up, not causing nouns and verbs to seep into a sound-asleep mind.




Waking up memories while you sleep   PhysOrg - November 19, 2009
They were in a deep sleep, yet sounds, such as a teakettle whistle and a cat's meow, somehow penetrated their slumber. The 25 sounds presented during the nap were reminders of earlier spatial learning, though the Northwestern University research participants were unaware of the sounds as they slept.




Memories Exist Even When Forgotten, Study Suggests   Science Daily - September 10, 2009
A woman looks familiar, but you can't remember her name or where you met her. New research by UC Irvine neuroscientists suggests the memory exists – you simply can't retrieve it. Using advanced brain imaging techniques, the scientists discovered that a person's brain activity while remembering an event is very similar to when it was first experienced, even if specifics can't be recalled.




Researchers identify one of the necessary processes in the formation of long-term memory   PhysOrg - September 8, 2009
A new study that was carried out at the University of Haifa has identified another component in the chain of actions that take place in the neurons in the process of forming memories. This discovery joins a line of findings from previous studies that together provide a better understanding of the most complex processes in nature - the process of memory formation and storage in the human brain.




Believing Is Seeing: Thoughts Color Perception -- Implications From Everyday Misunderstandings To Eyewitness Memory   Science Daily - September 3, 2009
Folk wisdom usually has it that "seeing is believing," but new research suggests that "believing is seeing," too – at least when it comes to perceiving other people's emotions. The study, published in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science, "addresses the age-old question: 'Do we see reality as it is, or is what we see influenced by our preconceptions?'" said coauthor Piotr Winkielman, professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego. "Our findings indicate that what we think has a noticeable effect on our perceptions.




Researchers Unravel Mystery Behind Long-lasting Memories   Science Daily - August 13, 2009

Extreme emotions trigger the release of a chemical in the brain called norepinephrine, which is related to adrenaline.




Scientists discover why we never forget how to ride a bicycle   PhysOrg - July 17, 2009
When one acquires a new skill like riding a bicycle, the cerebellum is the part of the brain needed to learn the co-ordinated movement. One particular type of nerve cell -the so called molecular layer interneuron - acts as a "gatekeeper", controlling the electrical signals that leave the cerebellum. Molecular layer interneurons transform the electrical signals into a language that can be laid down as a memory in other parts of the brain.




First Image of a Memory Being Made   Live Science - June 26, 2009

For the first time, an image of a memory being made at the cellular level has been captured by scientists. The image shows that proteins are created at connections between brain cells when a long-term memory is formed. Neuroscientists had suspected as much, but hadn't been able to see it happening until now. The experiment also revealed some surprising aspects of memory formation, which remains a somewhat mysterious process.




Scientists discover how the brain remembers one-time experiences   PhysOrg - May 26, 2009
Single events account for many of our memories - a marriage proposal, a wedding toast, a baby's birth. Until a recent UC Irvine discovery, scientists knew little about what happens inside your brain that allows you to remember such events.




Memory pill that could help students and Alzheimer's patients being developed   Telegraph.co.uk - April 29, 2009

A pill that could make memories "stick" is being developed by scientists in a study that could help students revising for exams and patients with brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.




How The Brain Translates Memory Into Action   Science Daily - April 27, 2009
When we emerge from a supermarket laden down with bags and faced with a sea of vehicles, how do we remember where we've parked our car and translate the memory into the correct action to get back there? New research identifies the specific parts of the brain responsible for solving this everyday problem. The results could have implications for understanding the functional significance of a prominent brain abnormality observed in neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia.




Scientists identify machinery that helps make memories PhysOrg - October 30, 2008
A major puzzle for neurobiologists is how the brain can modify one microscopic connection, or synapse, at a time in a brain cell and not affect the thousands of other connections nearby. Plasticity, the ability of the brain to precisely rearrange the connections between its nerve cells, is the framework for learning and forming memories.




New understanding of how we remember traumatic events PhysOrg - October 23, 2008
Neuroscientists at The University of Queensland have discovered a new way to explain how emotional events can sometimes lead to disturbing long term memories.




What do you remember? BBC - June 18, 2008
If someone was killed in front of you would you remember what happened? Many experts are challenging the view that eyewitnesses recounting what they saw is the best way of tapping their memory. Some think brain scans could be the way forward.




New Understanding Of Basic Units Of Memory Science Daily - September 24, 2007
A molecular "recycling plant" permits nerve cells in the brain to carry out two seemingly contradictory functions -- changeable enough to record new experiences, yet permanent enough to maintain these memories over time.




Blind People Have Superior Memory Skills Live Science - June 22, 2007
Blind people are whizzes at remembering things in the right order, scientists now find. In the absence of vision, the world is experienced as sequences.




Amnesia Destroys Imagination as Well as Memory, Study Finds National Geographic - January 18, 2007
Amnesia may rob people of their imaginations as well as their memories, new research suggests. Amnesia, which is sometimes temporary, describes several conditions that involve partial or complete memory loss. Brain damage, tumors, strokes, or even psychological issues that cause the brain to black out disturbing memories can cause the effect.




Too Much Knowledge Can Be Bad For Some Types Of Memory Science Daily - May 20, 2005
A new study found adults did better remembering pictures of imaginary animals than they did remembering pictures of real cats. The results show how some types of memory might be better when people forget what they know and instead approach a subject with a child-like sense of naivete.




Short Term Memory's Effectiveness Influenced By Sight, Sound Science Daily - September 2004
For decades scientists have believed that people can only remember an ordered list of about seven items at a time - such as seven grocery items or seven digits of a phone number - but new research from the University of Rochester has shown that this magic number varies depending on whether the language used is spoken or signed. The results in the cover story of the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience have important implications for standardized tests, which often employ ordered-list retention as a measure of a person's mental aptitude.




The amazing memory man BBC - October 2003
Andi Bell has ten shuffled packs of playing cards placed in front of him and is given just 20 minutes to memorise the order of every single card - all 520. When he is tested, Andi - the 2002 world memory champion - correctly remembers the position in the packs and the value of every single card he is tested on. So how does he do it?




Computer boosts memory by 10% - Neurofeedback BBC - January 2003
Scientists believe they may have found a way to improve our memory by as much as 10%. Researchers at Imperial College London have used a technique called neurofeedback to train people to remember more clearly. It works by showing people their own brainwaves on a computer screen, and teaching them how to control them.




Key memory process identified BBC - June 2002
Scientists say they have discovered how a strong smell or a song can sometimes trigger a vivid memory. Researchers in the US say they have pinpointed the precise region of the brain that sparks such recollections. They say the discovery may explain why what appears to be a simple song or a random perfume can lead us to remember evenings with friends or holidays abroad, for instance.






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