In the human brain have found an analogue of the cache memory.
Scientists from the University of Wisconsin in Madison have discovered a new type of memory.
The researchers were able to detect a buffer in which to store information in the transition from short-term into long-term memory. The results of the research were published in the journal Science.
Conventionally, the memory is divided into short-term, or working, and long-term. The first is responsible for storing information necessary to perform the current action. In the case that information is important, and the consolidation — transfer of memories into long term memory. Now, however, the researchers were able to trace the memories at the time when they are not encoded by neural activity, but hasn’t made it into long term memory.
To do this, the researchers conducted experiments with participation of volunteers. In the first phase, the volunteers were shown images of dots, words or persons. Then the two images shown simultaneously and asked to focus on one of them. The brain activity of subjects was measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).
During the demonstration, the two images of the neural activity that corresponded to an “extra” incentive, faded in fMRI, but remained on the EEG. The participants could easily recall the “forgotten” stimulus. To retrace his steps the next phase of the experiment, the researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) allows to non-invasively stimulate the cortex by a short magnetic pulse. Then, as in the second stage, subjects were again presented with pairs of images.
After neural activity “forgotten” stimulus was extinguished, the brain of volunteers stimulated by the TMS method. The result was the return of fMRI-label “forgotten” stimulus. The response was more pronounced when the authors aiming stimulated area of the brain corresponding to the “extra” incentive. According to scientists, this confirms the presence in the brain, in addition to the “classical” working memory, another type — “the priority of long-term memory”. Based on what her job is still unknown.
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