Scientists at the University of Basel have discovered that certain brain signals are associated with differences in memory performance among individuals. The research team, led by Professor Dominique de Quervain and Professor Andreas Papassotiropoulos, found that specific brain regions, such as the hippocampus, exhibited distinct activities in individuals with better memory capacity.
In the study, which is the largest functional imaging study on memory to date, nearly 1,500 participants between the ages of 18 and 35 were asked to memorize a total of 72 images while their brain activity was recorded using MRI. Afterward, the participants were asked to recall as many of the images as possible. The researchers found significant differences in memory performance among the participants.
The results revealed a direct association between brain activity during the memorization process and subsequent memory performance in certain brain regions, particularly the hippocampus. Participants with better memory showed a stronger activation of these brain areas. However, no similar association was found for other memory-relevant brain areas in the occipital cortex.
Moreover, the researchers identified functional networks in the brain that were linked to memory performance. These networks consist of different brain regions that communicate with each other to facilitate complex processes like information storage. The findings provide valuable insights into the variations in memory performance between individuals.
Dr. Leeonie Geissmann, the study’s first author, highlighted that the brain signals of a single individual cannot be used to determine their memory performance. However, the results have significant implications for future research aiming to establish connections between genetic markers and brain signals.
The study is part of a larger research project conducted by the Research Cluster Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences (MCN) at the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine and the University Psychiatric Clinics (UPK) Basel. The project seeks to enhance our understanding of memory processes and translate the findings into clinical applications.
– University of Basel: [source]
– Nature Communications: [source]