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Brain’s Practice Aids in Consolidating Memories

Brains Practice Aids in Consolidating MemoriesResearchers have found that the brain’s ability to rehearse or repeat electrical impulses may be absolutely critical to making a newly acquired memory more permanent.

The discovery may help to explain why memory improves after a short nap or a night’s sleep.

Dr. Clayton Dickson, a psychology professor at the University of Alberta, likened the process to someone trying to permanently memorize a phone number, “We repeat the number several times to ourselves, so hopefully we can automatically recall it when needed.”

Dickson, the lead researcher on the project, said that nerve cells or neurons likely rehearse the process for recalling newly installed memories by using the brain’s downtime to send and resend signals back and forth, establishing well-practiced synaptic connections.

“Those connections allow the brain to retrieve the memories and rehearsal ensures that they last for a long time,” said Dickson.

“It was previously thought that only biochemical processes like protein synthesis were important for solidifying memories.”

Dickson believes exploration of this process could be used to improve an individual’s memory and possibly as a tool to delete negative or post-traumatic memories.

Source: University of Alberta

Brain scans photo by shutterstock.

Brain’s Practice Aids in Consolidating Memories

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Brain’s Practice Aids in Consolidating Memories. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2012/02/16/brains-practice-aids-in-consolidating-memories/34911.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.