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Brain and Mental Performance

'Where Are My Glasses?' -- Study Reveals Clues To The Mechanism Of Short-term Memory

14 years ago

1236  0
Posted on Feb 21, 2005, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Understanding the biology of memory is a major goal of contemporary neuroscientists. Short-term or "working" memory is an important process that enables us to interact in meaningful ways with others and to comprehend the world around us on a moment-to-moment basis. A study published this week in Science (February 18) presents a strikingly simple yet robust mathematical model of how short-term memory circuits in the brain are likely to store, process, and make rapid decisions about the information the brain receives from the world.
Understanding the biology of memory is a major goal of contemporary neuroscientists. Short-term or "working" memory is an important process that enables us to interact in meaningful ways with others and to comprehend the world around us on a moment-to-moment basis. A study published this week in Science (February 18) presents a strikingly simple yet robust mathematical model of how short-term memory circuits in the brain are likely to store, process, and make rapid decisions about the information the brain receives from the world.

A classic although purely practical example of working memory is our ability to look up a telephone number, remember it just long enough to dial it, and then promptly forget it. However, working memory is fundamental to many other cognitive processes including reading, writing, holding a conversation, playing or listening to music, decision-making, and thinking rationally in a general sense.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory computational neuroscientist Carlos Brody (brody@cshl.edu) explores how brain neurons interact with each other to form the circuits or "neural networks" that underlie working memory and other rapid and flexible cognitive processes.

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