Earth Science News  





. Key To False Memories Uncovered

"Human memory is not like computer memory -- it isn't completely right all the time," said Roberto Cabeza, senior author of a paper appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience. "There are many occasions when people feel strongly about past events, even though they might not have occurred."
by Staff Writers
Durham NC (SPX) Nov 07, 2007
Duke University Medical Center neuroscientists say the places a memory is processed in the brain may determine how someone can be absolutely certain of a past event that never occurred. These findings could help physicians better appreciate the memory changes that accompany normal aging or even lead to tools for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, according to Duke neuroscientist Roberto Cabeza, Ph.D.

Information retrieved from memory is simultaneously processed in two specific regions of the brain, each of which focuses on a different aspect of a past event. The medial temporal lobe (MTL), located at the base of the brain, focuses on specific facts about the event. The frontal parietal network (FPN), located at the top of the brain, is more likely to process the global gist of the event.

The specific brain area accessed when one tries to remember something can ultimately determine whether or not we think the memory is true or false, the researchers found.

"Human memory is not like computer memory -- it isn't completely right all the time," said Cabeza, senior author of a paper appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience. "There are many occasions when people feel strongly about past events, even though they might not have occurred."

Cabeza wanted to understand why someone could have such strong feelings of confidence about false memories. In his experiments, he scanned the brains of healthy volunteers with functional MRI as they took well-established tests of memory and false memory. Functional MRI is an imaging technique that shows what areas of the brain are used during specific mental tasks.

During the brain scans, Cabeza found that volunteers who were highly confident in memories that were indeed true showed increased activity in the fact-oriented MTL region.

"This would make sense, because the MTL, with its wealth of specific details, would make the memory seem more vivid," Cabeza said. "For example, thinking about your breakfast this morning, you remember what you had, the taste of the food, the people you were with. The added richness of these details makes one more confident about the memory's truth."

On the other hand, volunteers who showed high confidence in memories that turned out to be false exhibited increased activity in the impressionistic FPN. The people drawing from this area of the brain recalled the gist or general idea of the event, and while they felt confident about their memories, they were often mistaken, since they could not recall the details of the memory.

These findings, coupled with the findings of other studies, can help explain what happens to the human brain as it ages, Cabeza said.

"Specific memories don't last forever, but what ends up lasting are not specific details, but more general or global impressions," Cabeza said. "Past studies have shown that as normal brains age, they tend to lose the ability to recollect specifics faster than they lose the ability recall impressions. However, patients with Alzheimer's disease tend to lose both types of memories equally, which may prove to be a tool for early diagnosis."

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Duke University Medical Center
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
One-child Chinese families prefer it that way
Beijing (AFP) Nov 6, 2007
More than half of Beijing's young adults born into one-child families want only one child of their own, or even none at all, even though national policy allows them two, state media reported Tuesday.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • China work, road accidents kill nearly 80,000 since January
  • Anger rises in flood-stricken southern Mexico
  • Hungry Mexico flood victims turn to looting
  • Triage Study Challenges Notions of Emergency Medical Response To Disaster

  • Climate controversy heats up Australian election
  • Drought in southeast US fuels battle over water resources
  • White House defends 'health benefits' of climate change
  • Like It Or Not, Uncertainty And Climate Change Go Hand-In-Hand

  • Vacation Photos Create 3D Models Of World Landmarks
  • NASA Data May Help Improve Estimates Of A Hurricane's Punch
  • DMCii Satellite Imaging Helps Dramatically Reduce Deforestation Of Amazon Basin
  • NASA Views Southern California Fires And Winds

  • EU debates common energy strategy
  • Progress Energy Carolinas Seeks Renewable Energy Proposals
  • Trina Solar Named Fastest-Growing Company In Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China 2007
  • ASU Launches Renewable Biofuel Research Initiative

  • NASA Technology Helps Predict And Prevent Future Pandemic Outbreaks
  • Deadly HIV-TB co-epidemic sweeps sub-Saharan Africa: report
  • Northwestern Exposing Most Deadly Infectious Diseases In 3D
  • Staph-Killing Properties Of Clay Investigated

  • For Migrating Sparrows, Kids Have A Compass, But Adults Have The Map
  • Scientists Find Risk Distribution Law For Evolution
  • Earliest Birds Acted More Like Turkeys Than Common Cuckoos
  • Divers Find New Species In Aleutians

  • Toxic smog threatens Indian capital after six-year break
  • Massive pollution in Yangtze river can be reversed: scientists
  • Cairo tries to escape life under a black cloud
  • US Faces Burning Emissions Issue

  • One-child Chinese families prefer it that way
  • Key To False Memories Uncovered
  • Computers Learn Art Appreciation
  • Research Project May Revolutionize Apparel Industry

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement