Success at SfN

The Birmingham Learning and Memory Group has a strong presence at this year's SfN meeting, the biggest neuroscience meeting in the world (with >28.000 attendants). Overall, 8 posters and talks from the labs of Dr. Wimber and Dr Hanslmayr are being presented. The posters/talks cover our research in the dynamic processes of memory retrieval, synchronization and desynchronization processes during memory formation, alpha oscillatory processes during visual search, and modulating memory performance via oscillatory brain stimulation. Methods range from fMRI, EEG/MEG, intracranial EEG, tACS, and behavioral experiments.

€1.5 Mio ERC starting grant awarded to Maria Wimber

Congratulations to Maria who just got awarded a 5-year, €1.5 Mio research grant from the European Research Council. The project aims to uncover the neural processes and spatio-temporal dynamics of memory reconstruction. Most memory researchers would agree that our memories are not truthful recounts of past experiences, and that remembering is a reconstructive process that is heavily influenced by our expectations and prior knowledge. How exactly this reconstruction takes place, step-by-step, in the brain, however, is still unknown. Maria's team will use advanced brain imaging techniqes to track the re-emergence of different features of memories in real-time, based on distributed patterns of brain activity. These techniques make it possible to observe how the process of remembering unfolds in time, and how our memories change over time when we repeatedly bring them back to mind.

HOW DOES THE HUMAN BRAIN REPLAY MEMORIES FROM THE PAST

A new study by Michelmann et al. (Hanslmayr lab) published in PLoS Biology reveals the neural mechanisms that enable our brains to replay videos and sounds experienced in the past. In their study, Michelmann et al let subjects encode short video and sound clips and asked them to mentally replay these later. Using temporal pattern similarity analysis the authors show that the phase at 8 Hz carries a temporal signature of the replayed stimulus. This replay is linked to a decrease in power (i.e. desynchronization) in the same frequency range. This study is the first to reveal a domain general neural mechanism which underlies the replay of dynamic memories.