Brain Study Uncovers New Clues on How Cues May Affect Memory

Posted on December 4, 2014

Photo: flickr

In the study published online in NeuroImage, the researchers showed that receiving information about a pair of items before seeing them may affect how well they are remembered. Moreover, the researchers also found that the activity in different areas of the brain was unexpectedly related to how the information was remembered.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look for activity in different areas of the brain as a participant decided which of two words or pictures would fit inside the other — for example, a dog and a house. But moments before the task, participants were shown a cue — an "X" if the items would be presented as words or an "O" if they would be presented as pictures. About 20 minutes later, outside of the MRI scanner, the participants were tested on how well they remembered the pairs of items.

"What was really interesting was that brain activity wasn’t just predictive of whether they remembered the information later, but how they remembered it."Addante said.

"We were initially only expecting pre-stimulus memory activity in the hippocampus, as indicated in previous studies, which we did," Addante said. "But when we turned our analysis to the whole brain, we found an extensive pattern of activity that also predicted aspects of later behavior."

The results suggest that how the brain prepares to study an event can affect how well it is remembered.


Source material from The University of Texas at Dallas

Mental Health News