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July 19, 2019 Friday 10:01:59 AM IST

Electrical zap to retrieve memory

Parent Interventions

A certain region of the brain plays a critical role in memory recall, according to a study by psychologists at the University of California - Los Angeles, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.The indicated that an electrical current used to stimulate the left rostrolateral prefrontal cortex, an important area for integrating information processed in other areas of the brain - located behind the left side of the forehead, between the eyebrow and the hairline - improves people's ability to retrieve memories.

Participants were shown a series of 80 words. For each word, the participants were instructed to imagine either themselves or another person interacting with the word. (For example, the combination of ‘gold’ and ‘other’ might prompt them to imagine a friend with a gold necklace.)

The following day, each participant wore a device that sent a weak electrical current through an electrode on the scalp to decrease or increase the excitability of neurons. Excitability makes neurons more likely to fire, which enhances the connections between neurons, and in cases where a memory does form but is difficult to retrieve, the stimulation could help access it.