After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen




Thursday, 22 November 2012
Links on How Memory Works

This week, as I have before in this blog, I am posting a set of new links to other web sites that discuss a subject covered in The Brain from Top to Bottom. For each link, I also provide a brief description of the content on the site in question.

The subject this week is the sub-topic How Memory Works, under the topic Memory and the Brain. Research on human memory is such an important aspect of cognitive neuroscience today that the number of links on this topic on the Internet is enormous. I have therefore divided my selected links into two groups; I am posting 11 links here this week and will post another 11 next week.

Molecular Level

i_lien Why Sleep Is Needed To Form Memories

Biochemical changes in the brain that are associated with NMDA receptors and that occur only when you are asleep explain why sleep promotes the formation of memories.

a_lien The Biology of Memory: A Forty-Year Perspective

Eric R. Kandel, whose own research focuses on the cellular bases of learning, summarizes the highlights of the past 40 years of research on the biology of memory.

Cellular Level

d_lien The Brain that Changes Itself

A documentary about some spectacular cases of neuroplasticity, where people regained functions that they had lost as the result of brain injuries.

a_exp  Tool-use induces morphological updating of the body schema

Using a mechanical grabber that extended the reach of their arms by 40 cm caused experimental subjects to overestimate the length of their arms afterward. This finding implies that the plasticity of our body schema extends to its morphological properties.

Neurological Level

i_lien Training your working memory increases your cortical Dopamine D1 receptors

Improving your working memory by training it causes major changes in the density of D1 dopamine receptors in the frontal and parietal cortex of your brain.

i_lien Persistent Memories

An experiment suggests that difficulty in remembering things may be attributable not to problems of memory storage, but rather to problems of memory retrieval that increase as we age.

Psychological Level

i_lien Marathons and Memory

Runners who have just completed a marathon show a higher level of stress hormone (cortisol) and a decline in explicit memory, but an improvement in implicit memory. The comments that some marathon runners have made about this post are also interesting.

i_lien Video: Conscious of the Present; Conscious of the Past: Vision and Memory

Video of a course lecture by Professor Paul Bloom, of Yale University, on the different types of memory, their limitations, strategies for improving memory, memory disorders, and other related subjects.

i_lien Ten Thousand Hours

Steve Perrin’s thoughts on what motivates us to learn, inspired by Daniel J. Levitin’s report on widespread findings that it takes about 10 000 hours of practice to become an expert in anything.

a_lien Reworking Working Memory

Data support Unsworth and Engle’s theory that working memory consists of a primary memory system and a secondary memory system, which contrasts with more traditional models of working memory, such as the influential model proposed by Baddeley.

Social Level

a_lien Science 2.0

How some researchers are using collaborative on-line tools such as Facebook, YouTube, and blogs to make scientific communication more dynamic

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