Scientists have for the first time recorded individual brain cells in the act of summoning a spontaneous memory, revealing not only where a remembered experience is registered but also, in part, how the brain is able to recreate it.
Studies conducted by implanting electrodes in the brains of patients, showed that when they remembered an event, the neurons that were fired were the same neurons that had been activated when they had experienced the event for the first time.
Experts concluded that “For the brain, remembering is a lot like doing”
“It’s a really central piece of the memory puzzle and an important step in helping us fill in the detail of what exactly is happening when the brain performs this mental time travel of summoning past experiences.”
In the new study, people were asked to remember short film clips they had just seen. The patients watched a series of 5- to 10-second film clips, some from popular television and others depicting animals or landmarks like the
. The researchers recorded the firing activity of about 100 neurons per person; the recorded neurons were concentrated in and around the hippocampus, a part of the brain known to be critical to forming memories. Eiffel Tower
In each person, the researchers identified single cells that became highly active during some videos and quiet during others.
After briefly distracting the patients, the researchers then asked them to think about the clips for a minute and to report “what comes to mind.” The patients remembered almost all of the clips. And when they recalled a specific one — say, a clip of Homer Simpson — the same cells that had been active during the Homer clip, reignited.
When we remember something, our body goes through processes similar to the ones it experienced when we lived the situation. Our body produces the same neurotransmitters that were produced in our brain at that moment and our organism can update not only the information but also the experience.
When we say "we remember or evoke memories" our body evokes, it is not just a language construction of something that happened to us but there is a biological process that happens to us when we recall something that happened.Our life experiences, our bonds, the significant moments of our existence are building our brain structure and it is in this brain structure where "remembering is like reliving"