How our brain balances and blends past experiences with current perceptions

Credit: Vodafone Foundation
Credit: Vodafone Foundation

Our ability to make sense of our surroundings, to learn, to act and to think all depend on constant, nimble interactions between perception and memory. 

But to accomplish this, the brain has to keep the two distinct; otherwise, incoming data streams could interfere with representations of previous stimuli and cause us to overwrite or misinterpret important contextual information.

Compounding that challenge, a body of research hints that the brain does not neatly partition short-term memory function exclusively into higher cognitive areas like the prefrontal cortex. Instead, the sensory regions and other lower cortical centers that detect and represent experiences may also encode and store memories of them. And yet those memories can’t be allowed to intrude on our perception of the present, or to be randomly rewritten by new experiences.

A paper published recently in Nature Neuroscience may finally explain how the brain’s protective buffer works. A pair of researchers showed that, to represent current and past stimuli simultaneously without mutual interference, the brain essentially “rotates” sensory information to encode it as a memory. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

[Researcher Alexandra] Libby is interested in the implications of their results for artificial intelligence research, particularly in the design of architectures useful for AI networks that have to multitask.

Read the original post

Related article:  How nature evolved blue tigers and other quirks of ‘neutral theory’
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend