In this article, we will discuss how the Human Brain makes Memories? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States recently published research claiming to have identified and observed the exact brain cells involved in making, storing, and retrieving human memories. The research, titled “Neurons detect cognitive borders to structure episodic memories in humans,” puts forth a paradigm in which the human brain’s “boundary” and “event” cells operate as markers between individual memories.
This suggests that our memories are separate objects, similar to chocolate chunks or filing cabinet folders.
We recorded the activity of single neurons in the human medial temporal lobe (MTL) during the formation and retrieval of memories with complex narratives. Here, we show that neurons responded to abstract cognitive boundaries between different episodes.
To do so, the researchers enlisted the help of 20 volunteers whose brain activity was being monitored via a surgical device for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Volunteers were asked to watch movies illustrating sequences of events before being asked to recollect the exact order in which they occurred later.
According to the National Institutes of Health
According to a news release from the National Institutes of Health: They looked at how the patients’ brain activity was affected when shown film clips containing different types of “cognitive boundaries”—transitions thought to trigger changes in how a memory is stored and that mark the beginning and end of memory “files” in the brain.
Soft Boundary Vs Hard Boundary of Human Brain
The first type referred to as a “soft boundary,” is a video containing a scene that then cuts to another scene that continues the same story. For example, a baseball game shows a pitch is thrown and, when the batter hits the ball, the camera cuts to a shot of the fielder making a play. In contrast, a “hard boundary” is a cut to a completely different story—imagine if the batted ball were immediately followed by a cut to a commercial.
Last year, MIT scientists conducted a similar experiment with lab rats. However, their job was to have the rats do laps around a track and reward them with a goodie after they completed a circle. The MIT researchers were able to identify the boundary and event cells that marked not just the start and conclusion of each lap, but also which lap the rats were on (first, second, third, and so on). In essence, the researchers observed the formation of discrete bits of memory.
Despite the fact that the two tests were carried out by different teams and that the human brain is significantly more complicated than a rat’s, their results appear to be in agreement. In the future, Dr. Rutishauser and his team plan to look at two possible avenues to develop therapies related to these findings. First, neurons that use the chemical dopamine, which is most known for its role in reward mechanisms, may be activated by boundary and event cells, suggesting a possible target to help strengthen the formation of memories.
Second, one of the brain’s normal internal rhythms, known as the theta rhythm, has been connected to learning and memory. If event cells fired in time with that rhythm, the participants had an easier time remembering the order of the images that they were shown. Because deep brain stimulation can affect theta rhythms, this could be another avenue for treating patients with certain memory disorders.
However, there may be ramifications outside the healthcare industry. Artificial intelligence in its current stage is best defined as a pale copy of human intelligence. Our ability to process and recover memories in connection to a very unchanging chronology is one feature that distinguishes us from machines. To put it another way, humans have the ability to experience the passage of time. It’s likely that machines will never completely reach self-awareness unless they learn to process discrete temporal chunks in a continuous chain, as humans and lab rats do.
Mental Time Travel
Time itself may be made up of distinct units, according to previous physics studies, implying that the passage of time isn’t subjective unless you’re standing in a black hole. When accessing memories, the human brain does not change the actual stream of time – it would be pretty disconcerting if the entire universe went into reverse every time one of us tried to remember where we left our car keys. Instead, we engage in what is known as “mental time travel.”
“Remembering is not like playing back a tape or looking at a picture; it is more like narrating a story,” Ulric Neisser wrote in Memory: An Anthology. Our fascinatingly sophisticated brains generate an individual, flexible model of space-time in our minds by observing events through the lens of observation.
NIH and MIT
According to NIH and MIT research, this model of time is just as effective as the real thing for memory creation, storage, and retrieval (again, assuming time itself is made up of discrete chunks). And, conceivably, that means we might be able to imitate it. If AI researchers can establish artificial boundary and event cells, they might be able to create a machine “brain” that can form and recall its own experiential memories. Remember that the next time you say something obnoxious to a virtual assistant.
The largest part of the human brain
The head area has consisted of multiple parts of the human brain and the functions of the human brain have been divided into its parts. The largest part of the human brain is the cerebrum, which controls temperature and initiates and directs movement. Speech, judgment, thinking and reasoning, problem-solving, emotions, and learning are all enabled by other parts of the cerebrum. Vision, hearing, touch, and other senses are covered by other functions.