The Mind Changes Memories to Fit Present Day Life

The Mind Changes Memories to Fit Present Day Life

Each time that a person pulls up one of his or hers memories, the mind changes it to fit the present day, suggest new research. If that individual is very happily married, he or she may remember the thought differently, then if the person is not involved in a good marriage and his or her life is considered as being unhappy.

Such a chance of memory, which was printed up in the Journal of Neuroscience, is what ends up making humans really crummy witnesses to crimes that occur. But this makes it extremely effective for aiding human beings to be able to adjust to the location around them, states the journal’s main author Joel Voss, who is a scientist at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine.

For instance, all humans have hunter and gatherer ancestors who found it was very important to remember the area of where they went hunting this year instead of remembering with precise detail just where the top spot was to hunt five or six years ago. This new study also shows that memory difficulties which show up in people who are suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s seem to be caused by a kind of freezing of memories, which is incapacity to adjust the memory to adapt it to the present time.

It seems that memories are almost less a portrait of what the past was, than an idea of a person’s current assessment on the past, stated Donna Addis, who is an associate professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, but was not associated with this particular research study.

By looking at the brain scans of 20 healthy volunteers as they were instructed about new information and then told to remember prior learned data, Voss and his team were able to show for the very first time exactly where and when improper data is set in already surviving memories. When a person makes a new memory, he or she gathers up tiny bits of data, like who is doing the talking, how the room appears, what people are wearing and put all these together to make a memory. When a person then recalls a thought, the tidbits of data are welded together with other information in present life, stated Voss.

A memory is not something that is remembered and it slowly gets moved around and becomes stuck somewhere inside a brain, he said.  Each time it is recalled, a person has the chance to change it. He and his group have been looking at what the role is of the part of the brain known as the hippocampus performs in such a modification process.

In people who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and also depression, where normal brain procedures can get disturbed, a person’s memories might become stuck in one place due to the disorders. Addis also stated that she believes the research shows effects in order to be able to understand having an imagination and also having any social interactions. So each time that a person pulls up one of his or hers memories, the mind changes it to fit the present day.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Discovery News

USA Today

Medical Xpress News 

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