Remembering. Electricity. Not asking the right questions.

Direct electrical stimulation of the human amygdala, a region of the brain known to regulate memory and emotional behaviors, can enhance next-day recognition of images when applied immediately after the images are viewed, neuroscientists have found.

The results were published in PNAS.

The findings are the first example of electrical brain stimulation in humans giving a time-specific boost to memory lasting more than a few minutes, the scientists say. Patients’ recognition only increased for stimulated images, and not for control images presented in between the stimulated images. The experiments were conducted at Emory University Hospital in 14 epilepsy patients undergoing intracranial monitoring, an invasive procedure for the diagnosis of seizure origin, during which electrodes are introduced into the brain. (1)

We try to remember more.

And it seems that we will find a way to do it.

But why do we want to remember?

It seems that remembering is related to the brain. (surprise! surprise!) And it seems that it is also related to external stimuli, to the interaction with the environment via our senses. But who says that our senses work properly or that they provide any objective or “correct” view of the cosmos? Who says that what we want to keep remembering is something true – truer anyway than the things we imagine or think about?

Yes, you remember the image better now.

So? Do you feel wiser?

Try to forget everything.

What do you see?

Remembering… (for no reason at all)

Recalling the names of old classmates 50 years after graduation or of favorite childhood television series illustrates the amazing abilities of human memory. Emotion and repeated exposure are both known to play a role in long-term memorization, but why do we remember things that are not emotionally charged and have only been seen or experienced a few times in the past? To answer this question, scientists decided to challenge the memory of individuals they had tested in the laboratory a decade previously. They discovered that participants recognized images seen for only a few seconds ten years earlier.

Under these experimental conditions, it seems that three exposures are sufficient to memorize an image for 10 years. Although scientists have known for several years that memories can be retained implicitly – that is, without being able to consciously access them – this new study shows that they can directly influence participants’ choices and may sometimes even provoke a strong feeling of familiarity.

The researchers are now seeking to elucidate the biological basis for this memorization. They hypothesize that such memories rely on a small group of ultra-specialized neurons rather than a wide and diffuse neuronal network. (1)

Wandering how we can recall everything.

Searching how we can store memories.

And yet…

Who said that we forget?

Who said that we lose memories?

Nothing is lost. Even the slightest detail. The jasmine which you smelled in your parents’ house. The stars you saw when sleeping outdoors near the sea. The touch of your grandmother while putting you to bed. Those Christmas lights… These songs of Easter… The laughters… The…

You do not remember them.

Because they are part of you now…

The last time…

We all like to remember the first time we did something…

The first day in school.

Our first kiss.

Our first car.

The first day we went on a trip.

But life is not only about first times. Life is full of last times as well. And if the former include a promise and a window to the unknown, the latter contain the key to the door left closed behind you. And it is that key which you need to hold closely guarded while travelling in the dark forest of existence…

The last time you saw your friend.

The last day you slept in your old house.

The last kiss before a big separation.

The last time you sensed your grandmother’s touch.

These are the memories which define you. And if the promise held by the first times is what makes you touch God, the sadness held by those last moments is what makes you more human. Take a good care of these lasts moments. They are not just some memories. They are you.

Memories. Waves. Brain. Immortal souls…

Have you ever tried to recall something just before going to sleep and then wake up with the memory fresh in your mind? While we absorb so much information during the day consciously or unconsciously, it is during shut eye that a lot of facts are dispatched to be filed away or fall into oblivion.

The research team concentrated on a non-REM deep sleep phase (a.k.a. slow-wave sleep) that generally happens throughout the night, in alternation with the REM phase. During slow-wave sleep, groups of neurons firing at the same time generate brain waves with triple rhythms: slow oscillations, spindles, and ripples. Slow oscillations originate from neurons in the cerebral cortex. Spindles come from a structure of the brain called thalamic reticular nucleus and spike around 7-15 per second. Finally, ripples are sharp and quick bursts of electrical energy, produced within the hippocampus, a brain component with an important role in spatial memory.

Scientists believe that the correct timing of these three rhythms acts like a communication channel between different parts of the brains that facilitates memory consolidation.

Scientists at the Center for Cognition and Sociality, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), enhanced or reduced mouse memorization skills by modulating specific synchronized brain waves during deep sleep. The study showed that manipulating sleep spindle oscillations at the right timing affects memory. The full description of the mouse experiments, conducted in collaboration with the University of Tüebingen, is published in the journal Neuron. (1)

We want to help the storing of memories.

Because we believe memories are lost.

We want to create things.

Because we believe things are destroyed.

But nothing is ever lost.

And nothing is ever destroyed.

We must stop seeing death.

And we will enjoy eternal life…

Remembering. Verifying memories. Self-reference.

Research on eyewitness testimony has shown that false details put forth during an interrogation can lead some people to develop vivid memories of events that never happened. While this “false memory” phenomenon is alive and well, new research suggests that a bit of misinformation also has potential to improve our memories of past events — at least under certain circumstances.

“In situations where the original event was pretty well remembered, a later attempt to provide misinformation can actually boomerang and make details of the original scene even more memorable”, added Roediger, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences. (1)

Memory is a weird thing.

You can remember things that happened.

But you can also remember thing that didn’t.

The article claims that a seemingly irrelevant event can trigger a true sleeping memory. But on the other hand, how can you be certain that this is a memory of something that happened in the first place?

Every time we remember, we remember something we did not remember before we remember it. Every time something pops up into our thought about something in the past, we are always inclined to accept it and yet there is no way to know or prove that this is true – except by probing on our own… memory.

Self-decieving beings.

Verifying what we remember by… remembering.

Living in a world we know, based on… what we know.

Look the moon in the mirror.

Turn back to see.

It is not there.

It never was.

Do you remember?

Do you believe yourself?

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