Your Brain Has A Pretty Complex Strategy For Deciding What’s Worth Remembering

It's still probably not a valid excuse for forgetting your anniversary, though. Your Brain Has A Pretty Complex Strategy For Deciding What’s Worth Remembering Giphy

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

It’s a common human experience: You might be able to recall the tune of a commercial from 15 years ago, but when you get up from the couch to go into the kitchen, you forget why you’re there.

The way we remember some things and forget others might seem random, but scientists say there’s a lot of method to the apparent madness.

Introducing Gyorgy Buzsaki

When it comes to analyzing the inner workings of the brain, there’s a lot that is still shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, some experts have made major advancements in the ability to determine what’s actually going on inside our skulls.

One of the leaders in this pursuit is New York University neuroscientist Gyorgy Buzsaki, whose interest in the brain’s inner workings dates back decades. Most recently, he’s presented findings from studies that seek to identify not only how our brain creates and stores memories, but why it seems to prioritize certain pieces of data over others.

Get ready for the fireworks

July 4th might be over, but there are plenty of fireworks going on inside your brain right now. It’s an oversimplification of a very complex subject, but that’s essentially how Buszaki’s research characterizes the rapid-fire explosion of brain waves — known as sharp wave ripples — that take place during periods of rest.

These neural bursts are most common during sleep, but also occur during breaks in our daily routines.

Scientists have long known about this phenomenon, as well as its role in creating memories. Buszaki, however, showed that the process also seems to select certain experiences as worthy of becoming long-term records.

He believes his research could aid in the development of effective treatments for issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. For now, it serves as a reminder of how important rest is for our cognitive health.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee July 10th, 2024
Share this story: