Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Memory is a dynamic and interactive process, new research shows

Date:
May 28, 2014
Source:
Canadian Association for Neuroscience
Summary:
Memory is more dynamic and changeable than previously thought, new research shows. Two important brain regions, the hippocampus and the neocortex, have different yet complementary roles in remembering places and events. A researcher proposes a novel theory to explain interactions between these brain regions, and how we remember. These results could help inform treatment and management of people with memory disorders.

Research presented by Morris Moscovitch, from the Rotman Research Institute at the University of Toronto, shows that memory is more dynamic and changeable than previously thought. Dr. Moscovich's results reveal that important interactions between the hippocampus and the neocortex, two regions of the brain, have different yet complementary roles in remembering places and events. These results highlight that different forms of memories exist in the brain, and that these are encoded in different, but interacting parts of the brain. Dr. Moscovitch proposes a novel theory to explain these interactions, that furthers our understanding of what we remember, and could be useful for treatment and management of people with memory disorders.

These results were presented at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience held in Montreal, Canada May 25 to 28th 2014.

By studying how humans remember events and places in the short and long term, and how rodents remember and navigate through familiar and unfamiliar environment, Dr. Moscovitch and others have revealed differences between what they call "episodic memory," which is a form of memory rich in contextual details, dependent on a brain region called the hippocampus, and another form of memory, called "semantic memory" which relies primarily on neocortex, and which is a more general memory, recording the gist of the initial episodic memory.

Studies in animals and humans have shown that the hippocampus, a brain region located deep inside the brain, has a central role in recent and remote episodic memory. Patients with hippocampal loss, including the famous Henry Molaison (patient HM) and Kent Cochrane (patient KC), were shown to be unable to make new memories, but they retained the ability to recall earlier events, in a schematic, general fashion. Dr. Moscovitch, investigating how rich, recent memories are often converted to more schematic, remote memories has elaborated a theory he has termed "multiple trace/transformation theory."

According to multiple trace/transformation theory, each time an episodic memory is retrieved, it is automatically re-encoded by the hippocampus along with the new context in which retrieval occurs. Over time, and with every retrieval, multiple memory traces accumulate; the neocortex extracts similarities from these traces to form a generalized memory, the semantic memory. By this process, the memory is transformed over time, from a mostly hippocampus dependent, context-rich memory, to a more general memory, a recording of the essential elements of the memory, that captures the gist of the initial episodic memory.

Dr. Moscovitch presented results that show that the same processes apply to memory about places and the environment. Initially dependent on the hippocampus, they also are transformed, and become schematic memories that can be retrieved without the involvement of the hippocampus. As it was previously thought that the hippocampus was always involved in remembering places, this discovery sheds new light on the different forms of memory that exist.

"Spatial representations provide the framework in which events unfold, so that they interact with each other to form rich episodic memories that have both spatial and event elements" says Dr. Moscovitch. "Memory for events is facilitated if they occur in familiar rather than unfamiliar places. These findings could be used to help ameliorate memory problems in older adults, and in people with dementia, who have to leave their home and move into new living quarters."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Association for Neuroscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Association for Neuroscience. "Memory is a dynamic and interactive process, new research shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140528133213.htm>.
Canadian Association for Neuroscience. (2014, May 28). Memory is a dynamic and interactive process, new research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140528133213.htm
Canadian Association for Neuroscience. "Memory is a dynamic and interactive process, new research shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140528133213.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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