Brain rehearsal time ensures lasting memory performance

February 14, 2012

University of Alberta researchers have established that the ability of the brain to rehearse or repeat electrical impulses may be absolutely critical in order to make a newly acquired memory more permanent.

U of A psychology professor Clayton Dickson likened the process to someone trying to permanently memorize a phone number, "We repeat the number several times to ourselves, so hopefully we can automatically recall it when needed."

Dickson, the lead researcher on the project, says that neurons likely rehearse the process for recalling newly installed memories by using the brain's downtime to send and resend signals back and forth, establishing well practiced synaptic connections. "Those connections allow the brain to retrieve the memories and rehearsal ensures that they last for a long time," said Dickson. "It was previously thought that only biochemical processes like were important for solidifying memories"

Dickson says further investigation of this process could be used to improve an individual's memory and possibly as a tool to delete negative or post .

Explore further: Drug may help overwrite bad memories

More information: The paper by graduate student Arjun Sharma and U of A colleagues Dickson and Frank Nargang was published February 14, in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Related Stories

Drug may help overwrite bad memories

May 26, 2011

Recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain's ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them, according to University of Montreal researchers at the Centre ...

Recommended for you

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

No cable spaghetti in the brain

November 24, 2015

Our brain is a mysterious machine. Billions of nerve cells are connected such that they store information as efficiently as books are stored in a well-organized library. To this date, many details remain unclear, for instance ...

Neurons encoding hand shapes identified in human brain

November 23, 2015

Neural prosthetic devices, which include small electrode arrays implanted in the brain, can allow paralyzed patients to control the movement of a robotic limb, whether that limb is attached to the individual or not. In May ...

Wireless sensor enables study of traumatic brain injury

November 23, 2015

A new system that uses a wireless implant has been shown to record for the first time how brain tissue deforms when subjected to the kind of shock that causes blast-induced trauma commonly seen in combat veterans.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
This report is too brief! I mean the concept is very interesting, and I am surprised that this is the "first time" that concrete evidence of memory consolidation through rehearsals has been found.

And ... which areas of the brain are rehearsing the interaction patterns?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.