March 11, 2010
Innovation in Using Brain Imaging to Assess Memories (Kolber)
In the study, Maguire and her colleagues Martin Chadwick, Demis Hassabis, and Nikolaus Weiskopf showed 10 people each three very short films before brain scanning. Each movie featured a different actress and a fairly similar everyday scenario.
The researchers scanned the participants' brains while the participants were asked to recall each of the films. The researchers then ran the imaging data through a computer algorithm designed to identify patterns in the brain activity associated with memories for each of the films.
Finally, they showed that those patterns could be identified to accurately predict which film a given person was thinking about when he or she was scanned.
The results imply that the traces of episodic memories are found in the brain, and are identifiable, even over many re-activations, the researchers said.
The results reinforce the findings of a 2008 US study that showed similar scans can determine what images people are seeing based on brain activity.
March 11, 2010 | Permalink