Imagine never again forgetting where you parked your car, or that last item you had on your grocery list, or why you walked into this room anyway. Beyond helping those with impaired memories, the next step could conceivably be implantable brain chips that would improve the memories of the rest of us, ensuring that in the future we never forget anything. How brains remember Since the early neurological work on memory in the 1950s and 1960s, studies have demonstrated that memories are not stored in just one part of the brain.
Many neuroscientists share the dream of technology that could help damaged brains function. Many such devices are in various stages of experimentation. Beyond helping those with impaired memories, the next step could conceivably be implantable “brain chips” that would improve the memories of the rest of us, ensuring that in the future we never forget anything.
Contrary to the popular notion, our memories are not stored in our brains like books on shelves in specific categories. They’re actively reconstructed from elements scattered throughout various areas of the cortex by a process called encoding.
As we experience the world through our eyes, ears and so on, various groups of neurons in the cortex fire together to form a neural pathway from each of these senses and encode these patterns into memories. That’s why the aroma of cornbread may trigger a Thanksgiving dinner memory at grandmother’s house many years ago, or the sound of a car backfiring may trigger a panic attack in a war veteran. Read more…