While the broad architecture and organization of the human brain is universal, new research shows how the differences between how people reimagine common scenarios can be observed in brain activity and quantified. These unique neurological signatures could ultimately be used to understand, study, and even improve treatment of disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
When people imagine similar types of events, each person does it differently because they have different experiences. Our research demonstrates that we can decode the complex information in the human brain related to everyday life and identify neural ‘fingerprints’ that are unique to each individual’s remembered experience.”
Feng (Vankee) Lin, Ph.D., R.N.
Lin is an associate professor in the University of Rochester Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience and co-author of the study which appears in the journal Nature Communications.
In the study, researchers asked 26 participants to recall common scenarios, such as driving, attending a wedding, or eating out at a restaurant. The scenarios were broad enough so that each participant would reimagine them differently. For example, when researchers asked volunteers to vividly remember and describe an occasion involving dancing, one person might recall watching their daughter participating in a dance recital, while another may imaging themselves dancing at a Bar Mitzvah.
The participant’s verbal descriptions were mapped to a computational linguistic model that approximates the meaning of the words and creates numerical representation of the context of the description.…