Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain state affects memory recall

Date:
June 14, 2011
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Lost your keys? Your brain might be in a better state to recall where you put them at some times than at others, according to new research.

Lost keys at the beach. New research shows that the human brain might be in a better state to recall things at some times than at others.
Credit: Habman18 / Fotolia

Lost your keys? Your brain might be in a better state to recall where you put them at some times than at others, according to new research from UC Davis.

Related Articles


A paper describing the work is published June 13 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"It's been assumed that the process of retrieving a memory is cued by an external stimulus," said Charan Ranganath, professor at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience and Department of Psychology. "But we found that the levels of brain activity before items came up were correlated with memory."

Graduate students Richard Addante and Andrew Watrous; Ranganath; Andrew Yonelinas, professor of psychology at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain; and Arne Ekstrom, assistant professor of psychology at the Center for Neuroscience, measured a particular frequency of brainwaves called theta oscillations in the brains of volunteers during a memory test.

Theta waves are associated with a brain that is actively monitoring something, Ranganath said. For example, rats show high theta waves while exploring a maze.

In the memory test, the volunteers had to memorize a series of words with a related context. They later had to recall whether they had seen the word previously and the context in which the word was seen.

High theta waves immediately before being prompted to remember an item were associated with better performance.

The work goes against the assumption that the brain is waiting to react to the external world, Ranganath said. In fact, most of the brain is busy with internal activity that is not related to the outside world -- and when external stimuli come in, they interact with these spontaneous patterns of activity.

It's not clear whether it is possible to deliberately put your brain into a better state for memory recall, Ranganath said. The laboratory is currently investigating that area -- with the hope that it might lead to better treatments for memory loss.

The work was funded by grants from the NIH.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard J. Addante, Andrew J. Watrous, Andrew P. Yonelinas, Arne D. Ekstrom, and Charan Ranganath. Prestimulus theta activity predicts correct source memory retrieval. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1014528108

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Brain state affects memory recall." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110613151716.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2011, June 14). Brain state affects memory recall. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110613151716.htm
University of California - Davis. "Brain state affects memory recall." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110613151716.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. 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