Brain News: From research, it has been revealed that new experiences make us navigate more strategies that promote learning.
A relatively new study on mice has reported that exposure to new experiences depresses the development of representations in the brain’s hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, thus enabling the mice to learn new navigation strategies. “The ability to flexibly learn in new situations makes it possible to adapt to an ever-changing world,” noted Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., a senior author on the study and director of the National Institute of Mental Health, part of NIH.
The researchers state that whenever we find any new information, that information gets incorporated into a stable, lasting memory for us to recall later. The primary mechanism in this memory consolidation process is long-term potentiation. This is a continuous strengthening process of neural connections based on recent patterns of activity. While the strengthening of neural connections may be persistent, it can’t be permanent as it will disable us to update memory representations to accommodate new information. In other words, our capacity to remember new experiences and learn from them depends on information encoding that is both enduring and flexible.
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Alan J. Park, Alexander Z. Harris, Kelly M. Martyniuk, Chia-Yuan Chang, Atheir I. Abbas, Daniel C. Lowes, Christoph Kellendonk, Joseph A. Gogos, Joshua A. Gordon. Reset of hippocampal–prefrontal circuitry facilitates learning. Nature, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03272-1