Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human working memory is based on dynamic interaction networks in the brain

Date:
May 8, 2010
Source:
University of Helsinki
Summary:
A new study sheds light on the neuronal mechanisms sustaining memory traces of visual stimuli in the human brain. The results show that the maintenance of working memory is associated with synchronization of neurons, which facilitates communication between different parts of the brain. On the basis of interaction between the brain areas, it was even possible to predict the subject's individual working memory capacity.

A research project of the Neuroscience Center of the University of Helsinki sheds light on the neuronal mechanisms sustaining memory traces of visual stimuli in the human brain. The results show that the maintenance of working memory is associated with synchronisation of neurons, which facilitates communication between different parts of the brain. On the basis of interaction between the brain areas, it was even possible to predict the subject's individual working memory capacity.

The results were published last week in the online version of the journal PNAS.

The working memory of an average person can sustain only three of four objects at a time. The brain areas maintaining the working memory are known well, but there is little information about how these areas interact. The research group led by Satu and Matias Palva imaged the brain activity of subjects performing working memory tasks by using magneto- and electroencephalography (MEG and EEG). In addition to this, they developed a new method for using MEG and EEG data to identify networks of fast neuronal interactions, i.e., synchrony, between different areas of the cerebral cortex. With this novel approach, it was possible to reveal functional networks formed by brain areas at the accuracy of milliseconds.

Maintaining of a memory trace synchronised different brain areas

In their study, the researchers mapped almost four billion different neuronal interactions. They were especially interested in rhythmic interactions between different parts of the brain. While sustaining the working memory of visual stimuli, the rhythmic activity of the subject's different brain areas were transiently synchronised. The results reveal that the synchronisation of neuronal activity in different brain areas had a connection both to the maintenance and to the contents of working memory.

The study also revealed several specialized function-specific networks and interactions between them. The network comprising different areas of the brain's frontal and parietal lobes played a central role. These areas are responsible for the coordination of attention and action. The networks in the occipital lobe, on the other hand, handle and maintain the sensory information about the visual stimuli.

Working memory and attention are the cornerstones of our cognition and consciousness -- knowledge about their underlying neuronal mechanisms can be applied, for example, when developing therapeutic and diagnostic methods for Alzheimer's disease, dementia, schizophrenia, perception and learning disorders, autism and other brain diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Palva et al. Neuronal synchrony reveals working memory networks and predicts individual memory capacity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913113107

Cite This Page:

University of Helsinki. "Human working memory is based on dynamic interaction networks in the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413105704.htm>.
University of Helsinki. (2010, May 8). Human working memory is based on dynamic interaction networks in the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413105704.htm
University of Helsinki. "Human working memory is based on dynamic interaction networks in the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413105704.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. 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:
from the past week

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