Revealing how we replay past experiences

Temporal signatures of visual and auditory memory replay

A new study from Dr Simon Hanslmayr’s lab reveals the neural mechanisms that enable our brains to replay videos and sounds experienced in the past.

The study, published in PLoS Biology, let subjects encode short video and sound clips and asked them to mentally replay these later. Using a new technique to analyse EEG called temporal pattern similarity analysis, the authors show that the phase at 8 Hz carries a temporal signature of the replayed stimulus. This replay is linked to a decrease in power (i.e. desynchronization) in the same frequency range.

This study is the first to reveal a domain general neural mechanism which enables humans to revisit auditory and visual experiences from the past.

Michelmann, S., Bowman, H., & Hanslmayr, S. (2016). The Temporal Signature of Memories: Identification of a General Mechanism for Dynamic Memory Replay in Humans. Plos Biology, 14(8): e1002528. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002528