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!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy