Category: Memory

How curiosity boosts memory

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Photo: Pixabay/CC0 1.0

You’re sitting at your desk, desperately trying to learn a list of facts about a mind-numbingly boring subject for an exam the next day. You give up and decide to relax by watching a documentary about a fascinating subject. After all of the effort you put into trying to learn the facts for the exam, you find that you can’t remember a single one of them, although you can remember the tiniest details from the documentary.

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‘Inner GPS’ of a bird’s brain helps it find food

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Clark’s Nutcracker (Image: Wing-Chi Poon, CC BY-SA)

The 2014 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine was awarded to three neuroscientists for their pioneering work on the brain’s “inner GPS system”. Over the course of four decades, they revealed that a small part in the brain called the hippocampus stores a map of animals’ surroundings and helps them navigate.

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False memories, real implications

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False memories (Image Scout; CC BY; edited)

“When I was young, my dad and his best friend went fishing in a very remote part of the NZ bush. They got lost and somehow crashed into a tree. The story was often recollected and retold at gatherings of family and friends. I always thought I remembered the crash so clearly as I was in the car at the time, belted in the back seat.. It was a scary but exhilarating experience for a child. However, I was told as a young adult that [I was] never there.” Continue reading

Despite metamorphosis, moths hold on to memories from their caterpillar days

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drippyhippie, CC BY-NC-ND
Metamorphosis (Photo: drippyhippie/CC BY-NC-ND)

Metamorphosis has fascinated biologists for years.  A butterfly may look drastically different from its former worm-like caterpillar self, but we now know that its appearance and memories are tremendously influenced by caterpillar experiences. 

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