Remember those neuroscience courses in which we learned that we form short-term memories first, and later they convert to long-term memory? Perhaps we were wrong! New research published in Science last week suggests that our brain simultaneously makes TWO copies of our memories: one in the hippocampus and one in the cortex. Using a new research tool called optogenetics, researchers in Japan implanted a tiny fiber-optic cable in genetically engineered mice, which allowed them to turn specific neurons on and off. Therefore, they could better understand the function of those neurons.
Both the cortex and the hippocampus lit up simultaneously when new memories were recorded. The scientists found that for the first few days, the neurons in the hippocampus were the only ones that fired during retrieval of memories. The neurons in the cortex matured later, and at that point they lit up when a memory was recalled.
I’m always intrigued by neuroscience. This new research may help us understand how retrieval works in the brain. The more we understand, the more specific and efficient we can be in our language therapy.
Here’s the PBS article that cited the Science study: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/body/our-brains-instantly-make-two-copies-of-each-memory/