Our memories work better when our brains are prepared to absorb new information, according to a new study.
The study authors showed that activity in a specific part of the brain, known as the parahippocampal cortex (PHC), predicts how well people will remember a visual scene. They found that when the PHC was very active before people were shown an image, they were less likely to remember it later.
The PHC, which has previously been linked to recollection of visual scenes, wraps around the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for memory formation. However, this study is the first to investigate how PHC activity before a scene was presented would affect how well the scene was remembered.
Subjects were shown 250 color photographs of indoor and outdoor scenes as they lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. They were later shown 500 scenes “including the 250 they had already seen” as a test of their recollection of the first batch of images. The fMRI scans revealed that images were remembered better when there was lower activity in the PHC before the scenes were presented.Read more at NeuroImage