Study: Demanding Experiences Lead to Stronger Foundations
A team of scientists at NeuroElectronics Research Flanders (NERF) has found that highly demanding experiences result in stronger memories.
By studying navigation in rats, the researchers traced back the mechanism behind this selective memory enhancement to so-called replay processes in the hippocampus, the memory-processing center of the brain.
The findings provide new insights into one of the most enigmatic brain features: memory consolidation.
The importance of facing suffering through demanding experiences has recently been explored by Richard Joy, Founder of Recovering Man (see below).
Lead Author of the study Prof. Fabian Kloosterman said: “One of the ways in which our brains consolidate memories is by mentally reliving the experience.
“In biological terms, this boils down to the reactivation or replay of the neuronal activity patterns associated with a certain experience.
“This replay occurs in hippocampal-cortical brain networks during rest or sleep.”
To assess the contribution of replay brain activity after the actual experience, the researchers disrupted this particular signaling network, but only after the rats got a chance to discover the reward locations.
Kloosterman added: “A relatively simple experimental setting with rats and food pellets can teach us a lot about memory.
“Our results demonstrate that replay contributes to the finely tuned selective consolidation of memories.
“Such insights could open future opportunities for treatments that help to strengthen memories.”