Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Where Are My Glasses?' -- Study Reveals Clues To The Mechanism Of Short-term Memory

Date:
February 20, 2005
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
Understanding the biology of memory is a major goal of contemporary neuroscientists. Short-term or "working" memory is an important process that enables us to interact in meaningful ways with others and to comprehend the world around us on a moment-to-moment basis. A study published this week in Science (February 18) presents a strikingly simple yet robust mathematical model of how short-term memory circuits in the brain are likely to store, process, and make rapid decisions about the information the brain receives from the world.

Understanding the biology of memory is a major goal of contemporary neuroscientists. Short-term or "working" memory is an important process that enables us to interact in meaningful ways with others and to comprehend the world around us on a moment-to-moment basis. A study published this week in Science (February 18) presents a strikingly simple yet robust mathematical model of how short-term memory circuits in the brain are likely to store, process, and make rapid decisions about the information the brain receives from the world.

Related Articles


A classic although purely practical example of working memory is our ability to look up a telephone number, remember it just long enough to dial it, and then promptly forget it. However, working memory is fundamental to many other cognitive processes including reading, writing, holding a conversation, playing or listening to music, decision-making, and thinking rationally in a general sense.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory computational neuroscientist Carlos Brody explores how brain neurons interact with each other to form the circuits or "neural networks" that underlie working memory and other rapid and flexible cognitive processes.

In the new study, Brody's group developed a mathematical model for interpreting data collected at Universidad Nacional Autσnoma de Mιxico by his collaborator Rodolfo Romo. Romo's group measured brain neuron activity of macaque monkeys while the animals performed a simple task that involves working memory.

In one version of the task, animals were trained to compare an initial stimulus (a vibration applied to a fingertip) with a second stimulus applied a few seconds later and to immediately provide a "yes" or "no" answer to the question "was the first vibration faster than the second?"

This behavior requires the animals to load the initial stimulus into their working memory ("loading phase"), hold information about that stimulus in their working memory ("memory phase"), and compare that information to the second stimulus and make a decision based on the comparison (the "decision phase").

At the outset of the study, Brody and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory postdoctoral fellow Christian Machens hoped to develop a mathematical model--based on known properties of "spiking" neurons--that would explain how the brain carries out just the memory phase of the behavior.

To their surprise, the simple "mutual inhibition" model they developed yielded a neural network architecture that explains not only the memory phase, but also the loading phase and the decision phase of the behavior. The model makes several predictions about the neurological basis of working memory that can be tested to confirm the likelihood that the model is a significant advance toward understanding fundamental properties of brain structure and function.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "'Where Are My Glasses?' -- Study Reveals Clues To The Mechanism Of Short-term Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050217224542.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2005, February 20). 'Where Are My Glasses?' -- Study Reveals Clues To The Mechanism Of Short-term Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050217224542.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "'Where Are My Glasses?' -- Study Reveals Clues To The Mechanism Of Short-term Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050217224542.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins