There are specific groups of neurons in the brain involved in long-term memory. An animal study revealed that these neurons develop codes to store relevant information about the world that can be adapted and applied to new experiences.
Specific groups of neurons in the rat brain’s medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) – the region most involved in long-term memory – develop codes to help store aggregated, relevant information from many experiences. Research appears in journal eLife.
‘Have you ever wondered why it can be so difficult to recall the more interesting details of past experiences? Here is the answer. ‘
Senior author Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi from the University of Toronto said: “Memories of recent experiences are rich in random details, but over time the brain is expected to extract often important information. in different past experiences”. Takehara-Nishiuchi added: “We predicted that groups of neurons in the mPFC construct representations of this information around the time period during which long-term memory consolidation is thought to take place and the information takes place. This has a larger representation in the brain compared to smaller details. .
The researchers conducted a study of two different memories with overlapping association traits and how these codes changed over time in mice. The rats were then given two experiences with an interval between each: one involving light and tone stimuli and one involving physical stimuli. This gave them two memories that shared a stimulating relationship. The scientists then tracked neuronal activity in the animals’ brains from the first day of school to four weeks after their experience.
“This experiment reveals that groups of neurons in the mPFC originally encode both distinct and shared characteristics of stimuli in a similar manner,” said first study author Mark Morrissey. “Over the course of a month, however, encryption becomes more sensitive to shared features and less sensitive to unique features,” explains Morrissey. Further experiments also revealed that the brain can adapt general knowledge gained from many experiences immediately to a new situation.