Your Brain Can Resurrect ‚Forgotten’ Short-Term Memories

Graphic courtesy of Vimeo, Human Brain Project
Graphic courtesy of Vimeo, Human Brain Project
Day-to-day living can be such a struggle for people with short-term memory loss. But scientists have now found that memories are rarely completely lost—instead they’re just moved to the subconscious.

By Grennan Milliken | MOTHERBOARD

A functioning working memory—a part of short-term memory that deals with immediate processing of information—is critical for decision making and behavior. Without the ability to retain information where it can be easily accessed, basic cognitive functions become extremely difficult. Remembering the way to a friends house, for example, could turn into a fresh hell.

For a working memory to be maintained, scientists have long believed that the neurons associated with a memory must be continuously buzzing. But new neuroscience research published in Science suggests that it’s actually possible for the brain to let a working memory go “dormant,” and then fire it back up when it needs it again. This illuminates a whole new mechanism of how the brain processes memories and could perhaps help in treating people with cognitive problems in the future.

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