Monday, December 10, 2007

Brain 'irrelevance filter' found

this may explain a lot, especially for some people we all wonder about...

Scientists believe they have located a new brain area essential for good memory - the "irrelevance filter".

People who are good at remembering things, even with distractions, have more activity in the basal ganglia on brain scans, the Swedish team found.

The work in Nature Neuroscience could help explain why some people are better at remembering things than others.

Clinically, it could also aid the understanding of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The ability to hold information in the mind so that it is immediately accessible is known as working memory.

We use working memory all of the time - for example, when doing a simple maths calculation in our head or recalling a telephone number.

Working memory is important because it gives a mental workspace in which we can hold information whilst mentally engaged in other relevant tasks, which is crucial for learning.

Its capacity is limited and seems to vary from person to person.

These variations are not just due to having a larger or smaller memory store, but also due to differences in how effectively irrelevant items are kept out of memory, the Karolinksa Institute researchers believe.

link to full article

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