Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Research suggests your brain never forgets

From Wired Science comes this article describing an action by the brain that is poorly understood. Why does the brain"forget" and what happens to "forgotten memories"?

Well, according to neurobiologist Jeffrey Johnson of the University of California, Irvine - in a study he co-authored, which was published in the magazine Neuron - forgotten memories may be hidden from your conscious mind, however, they might not be "gone".

  • "Even though your brain still holds this information, you might not always have access to it,” says Johnson.

That a memory stimulates neurological patterns encoded when the memory was formed, is a well understood science. Less, however, is known about what happens to these patterns when memory fades.
  • It’s not known whether those details vanish from the mind altogether, or are subsumed by some larger pattern, or remain intact but inaccessible.

Johnson says that it is still unclear what happens to memory patterns.
  • “But even when people claim that there are no details attached to their memories, we could still pick some of those details out.”
read the rest of the Wired article that describes the experiment on retrieving forgotten memories


Daro said...

I have always hoped that someday they could tap into those memories so that I could live out my last days living in my past. Or jumping back and forth in time within my own memories. I loved the days of my youth and would be happily stuck there until my body gave way.

Beam Me Up said...

Thanks for the note Daro...Hey there is a science fiction story in there!

I always had trouble with the idea of just forgetting... Memories seemed so imprecise but to say that they could just fade away seem somehow wrong. and then to see savants that never forget seemed to fly in the face of those statements. But yeah to go back to those warm summer evenings running and playing. and to stay there forever when you can no longer do those things in life. hummmm