World Mental Healthcare Association

Brain Stimulation Improves Mental Time Travel, Says New Study

Brain Stimulation Improves Mental Time Travel
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Brain News: Scientists at Northwestern University found that it is possible to measure and manipulate realistic types of memory by applying transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the brain network responsible for memory.

On a day-to-day basis, we experience several complex events, but forget many elements associated with them. For instance, we struggle to remember the location or specific object or people.

Researchers at Northwestern University used TMS to alter brain activity and memory for realistic events. Immediately following stimulation, participants watched videos of everyday activities such as someone folding laundry or taking out the garbage. After watching the video, subjects answered questions about the content of the video clips, such as presence of a tree in the background or color of a particular object, while having their brains scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The research team found that following stimulation, a person’s brain activity while watching a video was almost similar to their brain activity when remembering that same video. This is why remembering feels like ‘mental time travel.

The process of stimulation enhances this ‘mental time travel’ in the brain and improves memory accuracy. The study results give us hope for developing safe and effective ways to improve real-world memory.

To Know More, You May Refer To

Hebscher, M., Kragel, J. E., Kahnt, T., & Voss, J. L. (2021). Enhanced reinstatement of naturalistic event memories due to hippocampal-network-targeted stimulation. Current Biology, 31(7), 1428-1437.e5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.027

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