Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Memory Switch Could Enable Brain Hacks

What will they come up with next? Researchers believe that not only are they coming to understand the brain and its functions, but have finally began to open up the doors needed to be able to better some of its functions. They say that they have “found a telltale mental signature that predicts whether an experience will be remembered” (Wired). Emrah Duzel, one of the researchers, said that the signals found are located in the medical temporal lobe, and although they don’t completely understand how these functions work, they believe they have figure out when they will or won’t. The article goes on to explain that by deciphering this mental signal, a person can actually know when their brains will be retaining the information that they are processing, and when they will most likely not. They have found that at different times, the brain is sometimes in a good state for remembering, and at other times, it is not “primed” for such activity.

It is believed that the reason for the brain’s multiple memory states happen for a reason. At times, the brain prepares to learn new things, and at other times, it is ready to further understand information that it already has come into contact with. The research method used included a magneto encephalograph. 24 test subjects participated, and had their brain’s magnetic fluctuations recorded. When it was time to remember something, changes in theta waves occurred, and then at a later time, if the idea was remembered or not, the results were associated with the previous theta wave readings. In order to know when a brain is primed for such activity, an electronic application can be used, which can detect such signals. One possibility stated is for people to use one of the new technology all-in-one favorites, the iPhone.

In my opinion, this is the most interesting piece of technology information I have ever come into contact with. I believe it further links technology with the study of biology, and shows that human inventions will show us the way to understanding ourselves, as well as the functions we perform continuously. I would love to know when I was in different memory states, it would make studying for school much more efficient. I do see a negative impact that this could have, however. If this technology became available, students with more resources, such as money, would have a greater potential for higher grades. Also, a person might have great grades, due to knowing when to studying, but will that mean they are actually a smart person ready to work for a very complicated job when they will have to be able to process different types of information at any time of the day? We can only wait and see!


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