Neuroscientists Identify Brain Activity That Predicts How Well You Will Remember Images

Our memories work better when our brains are prepared to absorb new information, according to a new study by MIT researchers. A team led by Professor John Gabrieli has shown that activity in a specific part of the brain, known as the parahippocampal cortex (PHC), predicts how well people will remember a visual scene.

The new study, published in the journal NeuroImage, found that when the PHC was very active before people were shown an image, they were less likely to remember it later. "When that area is busy, for some reason or another, it’s less ready to learn something new," says Gabrieli, the Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience and a principal investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

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MIT neuroscientists showed that activity in a part of the brain called the parahippocampal cortex correlates with the brain’s preparedness to learn new information. (Credit: Julie Yoo)

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