Scientists discover the way in which memories are stored are in fact different to what was originally thought.
It has been believed for a number of years that two parts of our brain, the hippocampus and cortex were significantly involved in remembering our day to day memories and experiences.
This idea stemmed from the 1950’s idea that the hippocampus stored short term memories and the cortex stored long term memories. It was made famous after the case of Henry Molaison.
Molaison’s hippocampus was damaged during routine epilepsy surgery, resulting in him no longer being able to make new memories, but oddly enough his previous memories still remained. Thus thinking that memories were formed in the hippocampus and then moved to the cortex where they “blanked”.
Recent experiments by a team at the Riken-MIT Centre for Neural Circuit Genetics showed that this was actually not the case. Experiments were performed on mice but can theoretically be applied to human brains.
The experiments included watching precise memories form as a cluster of connected brain cells in response to a shock, and allowing researchers to be able to switch memories on or off with light beamed into the brain to control individual neurons.
Results from these experiments showed that memories are in fact formed simultaneously in both the hippocampus and cortex. Re-writing the theory behind memories.