Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Memories light up the corners of our minds

02.03.2004


fMRI shows certain brain areas "light up" as we learn

Memories do indeed light up the corners of our mind, just as the songwriter said.

Scientific evidence for this notion comes from studies using magnetic resonance imaging to examine the living human brain. These studies show that certain brain areas "light up" as an individual is learning information.



Scientists had previously established that people remember emotionally charged events and facts better than neutral ones. Now researchers at MIT have discovered that memories with an element of arousal or excitement are remembered by a different area of the brain--the amygdala--from memories of a calmer nature, which are remembered by the prefrontal cortex. These findings, published in the journal PNAS Online on Feb. 23, are an important step in understanding how the brain makes memories. Scientists hope this information will one day lead to a treatment for memory loss and learning impairments.

For the study, Elizabeth Kensinger, a researcher in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Suzanne Corkin, professor of behavioral neuroscience in the same department, asked 14 men and 14 women to "learn" 150 words related to events, while the participants brains were being scanned in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) procedure. Some of the words represented arousing events, such as "rape" or "slaughter." Others were nonarousing, such as "sorrow" and "mourning."

They then tested the participants to see which of the words they remembered having been shown. Kensinger and Corkin found that on average, people remembered more of the arousing words than the others. They also discovered that the hippocampus was active while all the words were learned, but the amygdala and prefrontal cortex were active only for learning the arousing and nonarousing words, respectively.

"This result suggests that stress hormones, which are released as part of the response to emotionally arousing events, are responsible for enhancing memories of those events," said the researchers. "We think that detailed cognitive processing may underlie the enhanced memory for the nonarousing events."

The next steps in this research will be a similar study using words denoting positive events, both arousing and nonarousing, and a study to examine the fate of emotional memory in aging.

The researchers used the brain scanning facilities at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, a collaborative research center founded by MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Aging funded the Kensinger and Corkin study.

Denise Brehm | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/www/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>