Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Home Lead Story This is Why Human Memory Can't Recall Familiar Names at Times

This is Why Human Memory Can’t Recall Familiar Names at Times

Neuroscientists have identified different sets of individual neurons which help us retrieve memories when required

Most of us know that feeling of trying to retrieve a memory that does not come right away and neuroscientists have now identified different sets of individual neurons which help us retrieve memories when required, a hallmark of the human brain’s flexibility.

An essential aspect of cognitive flexibility is our ability to selectively search for information in memory when we need it.

“This is the first time neurons have been described in the human brain that signal memory-based decisions. In addition, our study shows how memories are transferred to the frontal lobe selectively and only when needed,” explained senior author Ueli Rutishauser, visiting associate in biology and bioengineering at California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

The study, published in the journal Science and which has implications for the treatment of memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and schizophrenia, was performed in patients who were already undergoing brain surgery for treatment of their seizures.

Scientists hScientists have decoded why people can't recall familiar names at times from their memoryave decoded why people can't recall familiar names at times
A subject might be shown a picture of somebody they had never seen before and asked, “Have you seen this face before?”. Pixabay

The volunteers viewed images on a screen and answered different types of questions about the images, while the researchers from Caltech and and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recorded the activity of individual neurons in their brains using implanted electrodes.

For example, a subject might be shown a picture of somebody they had never seen before and asked, “Have you seen this face before?” or “Is this a face?”

The two questions, respectively, help the researchers distinguish between a memory-based decision and a decision based not on memories but categories, such as faces.

“We make decisions based on retrieved memories all the time,” says lead author Juri Minxha, a postdoctoral scholar at Cedars Sinai.

“In this study, we asked simple yes or no questions designed to cause a volunteer to access either their recent memory or their categorical knowledge”.

The encoding and retrieval of memories occurs in the lower-middle portion of the brain in a region called the medial temporal lobe, which includes the hippocampus.

Decision-making processes involve a region at the front of the brain called the medial frontal cortex.

The ability to flexibly engage and utilize our memories to make decisions depends on interactions between the frontal and temporal lobes.

In the study, the researchers monitored single neurons in both the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe of 13 subjects.

The results revealed neurons that encode memories in the temporal lobe, and “memory choice neurons” in the frontal lobe; these neurons do not store memories but rather help retrieve them.

Scientists have decoded why people can't recall familiar names at times from their memory
Neurons in both the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe do not store memories but rather help retrieve them. Pixabay

Also Read: Kids Online Workout Sessions Gain Popularity During Lockdown

“So if we ask a patient if they have seen a face before, neurons in both regions become active. But if we show them the same image and ask, ‘Is this a face?’ then the memory choice neurons remain silent. Instead, we see a second distinct population of neurons in the frontal lobe, supporting the subject’s current goal of categorizing the image,” explained Minxha.

Interestingly, the team found that the decision was represented by the memory choice neurons in an abstract way, such that the very same neurons could signal this information in different contexts.

“This likely accounts for much of the flexibility that we see in human decision-making,” said Ralph Adolphs, Caltech’s Bren Professor of psychology, neuroscience and biology. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Analyzing The Impact Of Air Pollution In New Delhi

A unique experiment to gauge the hazardous levels of polluted air in Delhi and surrounding areas, where a woman wore a backpack with novel...

Improvements In Facebook AI To Aid Visually Impaired

Facebook has announced new improvements in its artificial intelligence (AI) technology to generate descriptions of photos posted on its platforms including Instagram for the...

Obesity: Major issue for mental health in teens

If you are obese, there are chances that it may lead to some mental health issues, as a new study suggests that half of...

Concerns grow over global disparities in vaccination

As an increasing number of countries started mass vaccination, gaps in access to Covid-19 vaccines, especially huge disparities between the developed world and developing...

Students Do Not Switch On Video Cameras During Online Zoom Classes Due To Privary Concerns

Ever thought about why some students do not turn on their video cameras during online classes on Zoom? Because they may be more concerned...

5G Networks To Be Halted Until The Safety Is Tested And Proven

The rollout of 5G networks should be halted until the safety of the technology has been tested and proven, an expert has urged. According...

List Of The 5 Best Lakes In Switzerland

Switzerland is known as the home of the mountains but did you know that Switzerland also has more than 1,500 lakes and water bodies!...

Know More About Hypothyroidism And Thyroid Glands

Do you constantly feel run down, exhausted, and cold when others are warm? This so happens when the thyroid gland isn't working as well...

Recent Comments