Memories have always been an intriguing topic for psychologists and neuroscientists. They are the basic elements of our present and future. Largely divided into three categories: short-term, long-term, and sensory, memories still offer some hard-to-disconnect nodes, and the most notorious nodes provide them with sensory memories.
Associative memories, which belong to the third category, have gotten many neuroscientists and psychologists to stick to them since the late 1800s. They are memories related to some unrelated things, such as places, smell, sound, or people. Going past a pastry shop reminds you of the cupcakes you had when you were eight; listening to a song reminds someone with whom you “associate” that song, are some of the examples.
After multiple studies, it was established that associative memories form in the medial temporal lobe (where other memories form), but the facts about what exactly controls the formation and gives direction to the cells behind the development were still in the darkness.
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have demystified the process of acquiring various things and linking them to a brain memory. And the answer is dopamine!
Dopamine is a hormone that provides the brain with a sense of pleasure or reward, and this chemical is found behind the wheels and leads cells to form associative memories. Ventilatory cells, the cells responsible for deriving pre-existing memories, play a crucial role in the formation of new associative memories when they bind to dopamine.
“We never expected dopamine to be involved in the memory circuit. But the study’s findings point to dopamine playing a role in memory formation, “Kei Igarashi, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, UCI School of Medicine, said in a statement. of press.
The study reveals that certain smells induce a feeling of achievement or reward, and therefore we associate fragrance with the feeling of obtaining a reward, which leads to the development of associative memories. The results offered by this study can also be used to understand various mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, in which the formation of associative memories falls to a minimum. Researchers may devise a method to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s in the brain’s memory center.
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