Memories are geotagged with spatial information, researchers find
Neurons that encode spatial information form “geotags” for specific memories and these geotags are activated immediately before those memories are recalled, a team of neuroscientists from the University of Pennsylvania and Freiburg University has discovered.
They used a video game in which people navigate through a virtual town delivering objects to specific locations.
“These findings provide the first direct neural evidence for the idea that the human memory system tags memories with information about where and when they were formed and that the act of recall involves the reinstatement of these tags,” said Michael Kahana, professor of psychology in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences.
Kahana and his colleagues have long conducted research with epilepsy patients who have electrodes implanted in their brains as part of their treatment. The electrodes directly capture electrical activity from throughout the brain while the patients participate in experiments from their hospital beds.