Researchers working in The N.1 Institute for Health at NUS, led by Assistant Professor Camilo Libedinsky from NUS Psychology, and Senior Lecturer Shih-Cheng Yen from the Innovation and Design Programme at NUS Engineering, have discovered that a population of neurons in the brain’s frontal lobe contain stable short-term memory information within dynamically-changing neural activity.
This discovery may have far-reaching consequences in understanding how organisms have the ability to perform multiple mental operations simultaneously, such as remembering, paying attention and making a decision, using a brain of limited size.
The results of this study were published in the journal Nature Communications on 1 November 2019.
Mapping short-term memory in the frontal lobe
In the human brain, the frontal lobe plays an important role in processing short-term memories. Short-term memory has a low capacity to retain information. “It can usually only hold six to eight items. Think for example about our ability to remember a phone number for a few seconds – that uses short-term memory,” Asst Prof Libendisky explained.
Here, the NUS researchers studied how the frontal lobe represents short-term memory information by measuring the activity of many neurons. Previous results from the researchers had shown that if a distraction was presented during the memory maintenance period, it changed the code used by frontal lobe neurons that encode the memory.
Source: “Using machine learning tools to reveal how memories are coded in the brain”, National University of Singapore