Sunday, March 2, 2014

Few bits on MEMORY:

“If memory is set up to use the past to imagine the future, its flexibility creates a vulnerability — a risk of confusing imagination with reality.”

 "Our memories are also biased by our emotions."

"We remember the emotional moments, the fun or scary or sexy ones, and forget the daily drives to work and lunch-table conversations. This leads us to predict the future inaccurately, because we misremember a richer past."

"We remember by rebuilding the past from bits and pieces — and the same ability helps us imagine the future. The hippocampus, long considered the seat of memory in the brain, Schacter posits, is actually a “simulator” — the part of the brain responsible for creating movies in the mind, whether they are memories of yesterday, plans for tomorrow, or imaginings from a book or an article we read. In all cases, our minds draw from a store of memory details to build episodes."

Research in the Schacter memory lab is broadly concerned with understanding the nature and function of human memory, using cognitive, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging approaches. Current topics of interest, and examples of related projects, include:
Constructive memory and memory distortion: Memory is not always accurate, and understanding the nature of memory distortion can provide important insights into how memory works. Current projects include using fMRI to understand brain regions involved in retrieval processes related to accurate and inaccurate memories.
The role of memory in imagining the future: We have argued in recently that memory plays a critical role in allowing individuals to imagine or simulate events that might occur in their personal futures. We have further suggested that understanding memory’s role in future event simulation may be important for understanding the constructive nature of memory, because the former requires a system that allows flexible recombination of elements of past experience, which may also contribute to memory errors. Current projects include both behavioral and fMRI studies of future event simulation, autobiographical planning, and flexible recombination of stored information.
Counterfactual simulation and memory: Memory not only contributes to simulation of possible future events, but also allows us to generate counterfactual simulations of how past experience might have turned out differently. We have recently begun to investigate the relation between such counterfactual simulations and memory accuracy/distortion.
Priming and implicit memory: Priming is a nonconscious or implicit form of memory that can be dissociated from explicit, conscious remembering. We have had a longstanding interest in understanding the nature and neural basis of priming, and are currently using priming as a tool to examine the nature of future event simulations.
Aging and memory: Our lab has been investigating the nature of aging memory for the past two decades. We are currently interested especially in understanding the effects of aging on the nature of future event simulation, flexible recombination of past experiences, autobiographical planning, and counterfactual simulations, in both behavioral and fMRI experiments. We are also interested in exploring these issues in disorders of aging such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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