How can we enhance working memory?

Even a seemingly simple behavior–like trying to remember if the name of the person you just met is “Elizabeth” or “Patricia”–can tax our memories. These short-term memory drains are part of what we neuroscientists call “working memory”.
When you think about it, it’s quite a remarkable neural feat that we can do this at all! Somehow our brains are able to take in information (like the sound waves that hit our ears in just the right way to make us perceive the sound that is the name “Patricia”), hold that information in some neural pattern/buffer/code, and then retrieve that information at will (if we’re lucky).
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Posted in About Neuroscience, by Bradley Voytek, Learning and Memory, Neuroethics, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
Posted by Bradley Voytek        1 Comment

Prefrontal brain areas track subjective confidence.

People act and decide with varying confidence levels.

As they explore novel environments, people try options before fully committing to them; testing if that wooden bridge is solid enough, inspecting the tires of a car or trying a limited version of a product before buying it. Tracking and improving the confidence that we have on what surrounds us allows us to explore and exploit features of the environment successfully. Confidence is likely a major determinant of the economical decisions that we make, but the brain mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Awareness and Attention, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Learning and Memory, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        Comment