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An Experience Changes The Brain's Reaction To Memory And Recognition

Update Date: Feb 15, 2016 02:11 AM EST

Scientists from the University of Guelph are looking at brain areas responsible for identifying and remembering objects. They are also getting an insight into their internal mechanisms, understanding that past experiences can influence recognition and memory.

Hence, they can develop some remedies for schizophrenia as well as Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders that affect the memory.

"Our study suggests that past experience with an object alters the brain circuitry responsible for object recognition," Boyer Winters, who headed the research team, said in a press release."It has significant implications for our understanding of multisensory information processing."

"Multisensory information processing" is vital to memory. This is a process in which two unique types of memory get integrated to help recognise objects. For instance, holding an object blindfolded makes you recognise an object only with your touch, which is part of "multisensory object recognition."

It is believed that the brain "specializes in the mediation of information for sight and thought", and communicates its perceptions of objects. Other scientists say that information from the senses get collected and stored in a new region in order to help in recognition.

In an experiment, scientists exposed rats to an object's tactile and visual characteristics for a short period of time on the first day. The next day, the rats were again exposed to the objects and then compared with other rats who came across the objects for the first time.

The results showed that "rats that explored the objects for the first time used multiple, specialized brain regions in the recognition process, whereas the group of rats that were previously exposed to the objects utilized a separate part of their brain to perform the same memory task", according to HNGN.

"Knowing what an object looks like enables them to assimilate information in a way that doesn't happen when there is no pre-exposure," Winters said. "Our study suggests there is an assigned region of the brain for memory based on previous experience with objects."

Check out the study in Jan. 27,2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

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