Sumary of Scientists pinpoint the uncertainty of our working memory:
- The human brain regions responsible for working memory content are also used to gauge the quality, or uncertainty, of memories, a team of scientists has found.
- “Access to the uncertainty in our working memory enables us to determine how much to ‘trust’ our memory in making decisions,” explains Hsin-Hung Li, a postdoctoral fellow in New York University’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and the lead author of the paper, which appears in the journal Neuron.
- “Our research is the first to reveal that the neural populations that encode the content of working memory also represent the uncertainty of memory.
- ” Working memory, which enables us to maintain information in our minds, is an essential cognitive system that is involved in almost every aspect of human behavior — notably decision-making and learning.
- For example, when reading, working memory allows us to store the content we just read a few seconds ago while our eyes keep scanning through the new sentences.
- “It is not only crucial for the brain to remember things, but also to weigh how good the memory is: How certain are we that a specific memory is accurate?
- “If we feel that our memory for the previously viewed online item is poor, or uncertain, we would scroll back and check that item again in order to ensure an accurate comparison.
- ” While studies on human behaviors have shown that people are able to evaluate the quality of their memory, less clear is how the brain achieves this.