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When individuals try to recall something, the wheels begin turning in the brain in what is turning out to be a highly complex process.
And now, new research has uncovered a new gear – a “neural coding mechanism” in the brain that allows information to be transferred between perception and memory regions, according to Interesting Engineering.
For their paper, researcher Adam Steel and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain activity of participants being assessed on perception and memory.
Their experiments showed a “push-pull coding mechanism” regulating the interaction between these two brain regions.
“We found that memory-related brain areas encode the world like a ‘photographic negative’ in space,” explained Steel. “And that ‘negative’ is part of the mechanics that move information in and out of memory, and between perceptual and memory systems.”
The findings conclude that our memory systems preserve a visual coding principle and that this code is displayed “upside down” – the latter suggesting a distinct brain processing property.
Moreover, this dynamic relationship between perceptual and memory systems flips during recall, illustrating the complexities at play, added the researchers.
They are now working to further explore how this push-pull dynamic between perception and memory can shed light on the cognitive processes in diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
The study also offers new insights into memory encoding mechanisms, potentially shaping future research directions in cognitive neuroscience.