How The Brain Performs ‘Mental Time Travel’

In one important way, we are capable of traveling back in time. Through memory, we can return to childhood, go back to the moment we first fell in love or recall our first professional triumph.

Vivid memories that call to mind an experience in deep sensory detail can seem to transport us back to another time and place. When we recall the particular bit of information we’re looking for, we also recall many other surrounding details — how we felt, what we were wearing, what came before and afterwards.

New research from neuroscientists at Vanderbilt University sheds light on how the brain performs this remarkable function.

The researchers analyzed brain activity of individuals performing a memory recollection task in order to show what’s going on when we come up with elaborate memories that feel so real that they take us back to a time in the past. They were able to use brain activity patterns to predict the order in which study participants recalled information that they had previously received.

“It’s extremely important that we understand what different brain regions are doing as we search through our memories,” psychologist Dr. Sean Polyn, the study’s lead author, —> Read More Here


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