Brain Doesn't Remember Events—It Relives Them
Study records evidence supporting long-suspected memory pathway
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2008 9:19 AM CDT
The neurons recorded in the new study weren't acting on their own: as with all of the brain's processes, memory relies on a complex interconnected chain of nerve cells.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – Scientists for the first time have observed how brain cells drum up a memory, and the findings buttress the notion that our minds don't so much remember events as relive them. When recalling short film clips they had seen, patients' brains repeated the same pattern of neuron activity they experienced while first watching the film, the New York Times reports.

This study, to be published in Science, confirms the idea that recollection represents the brain re-activating the same pathway that lit up during an event. The results, deemed "a foundational finding" by one psychologist, could have implications on Alzheimer's research. “It’s astounding to see this in a single trial; the phenomenon is strong," says the study's lead author.