Human memory is selective and there are a lot of reasons. Recently neuroscientists have discovered an interesting aspect of how our memories work. When the brain to remember information specific to a particular location, individual neurons take aim at specific memories. “A key feature of memory is our ability to selectively remember certain events, even if they occurred in a setting where there are other events,” the scientists write in a paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
How the brain selects memories?
If you are asked to recommend a travel route for the city in which you were often, come to mind are selective excerpts from the memoirs about places from different trips. Researchers from several universities, including Columbia University in new York and Emory University in Atlanta (USA), has studied individual neurons — the so-called “cell memory” — 19 patients who underwent surgery on the brain for the treatment of epilepsy.
Patients performed a task designed to assess working spatial memory. During task performance subjects were placed on the road using points of virtual reality (VR) and asked to push the button when they have specific objects. In terms of the task, the researchers asked participants to walk on the track and mark the location of the remote object. Investigating the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and, in particular, the entorhinal cortex, the scientists found that the cells of the tracking memory, was “spatially tuned” to the location, and then can obtain the location information that a person had to remember.
The work of scientists shows that the neurons in the human brain keep track of events that we deliberately remember and can change their patterns of activity to differentiate between memories. They are like points on a map Google that shows where important events have taken place in your life. This discovery may serve as a potential mechanism for our ability to selectively use various experiences from the past and to help professionals to understand how these memories affect the spatial map of the human brain.
In the past scientists have tried to understand how it can be done. They found that the cells of the neural network is important for spatial memory, as it works similarly to the GPS system. Spatial tuning of neurons is the idea that individual neurons “are activated to represent the location in the environment during navigation”. In previous work it was assumed that the spatially tuned cells override their scheme is run in a different environment, so the events that occur in different places associated with different spatial maps”, the researchers explain.
Based on this work, scientists have suggested that individual neurons in the MTL, and particularly in the entorhinal cortex, will exhibit a kind of “spatial tuning of neurons” simulated past experience. It turns out that the human brain creates the real map of memories.