It asked subjects to recall the content of a television sit-com, which more accurately simulated real-life experiences because it required retrieving material that occurs in more complex settings than typically exist in a laboratory environment.
The study’s principal investigator was Lila Davachi of NYU’s Department of Psychology and its Center for Neural Science. Its co-investigators included Uri Hasson and Dav Clark, both of NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, and Orit Furman and Yadin Dudai of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.
Making sense of and recalling the complex, multi-sensory information encountered in everyday life--such as reading a newspaper while listening for a boarding announcement at the airport--is a fundamental task that the brain readily accomplishes. What is less clear is which regions of the brain are employed to encode these experiences. Previous research has examined neurological activity important for successful memory encoding, but the studies have not simulated the real-world settings in which long-term memories are typically formed. Instead, they often rely on recollection of single images or simple words.
By contrast, the NYU and Wiezmann Institute of Science researchers sought to replicate the every-day environment in which memories are typically created in order to offer a more realistic assessment of the relevant neurological activity. They did so by having subjects view an episode of a TV sitcom in its entirety (a 27-minute episode of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”).
As the study’s subjects watched the episode, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the subject’s brain function. Three weeks after the video was viewed, the study’s subjects returned to answer a series of questions about its content. The researchers then used the memory performance of subjects to analyze their brain activity during movie viewing. Using a novel inter-subject correlation analysis (ISC), they revealed brain regions for which this correlation is greater during successful, or accurate, as compared to unsuccessful memory formation.
This technique allowed the researchers to identify brain networks whose activation waxes and wanes in a similar way across participants during memory formation as well as other regions where activation was important for memory formation but which showed individual variability. These different patterns may explain why it is that after experiencing something together, we can share aspects of memory for that event, but those memories also have an individual flavor or personal tone.
Traditional experiments, which relied on simple words or still images, have consistently revealed that the brain’s medial temporal lobes (MTL) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) are active during memory formation and retrieval. These regions were also active in the NYU-Weizmann study. However, the researchers also found activity in new areas: the brain’s temporal pole, superior temporal gyrus (STG), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and temporal parietal junction (TPJ).
These regions have all been implicated in various aspects of social cognition: understanding the intentions of others, simulating experiences, language comprehension, and even person perception.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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15.11.2017 | Event News
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21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences