How Virtual Reality Provides Insight Into Memory Formation

Arecent study conducted a stimulation using virtual reality in order to explore the how the memory assembling process in our brains work.

Researchers in charge of the study took a close look at the activities occurring in the hippocampus area of the brain while study participants remembered memories from a virtual reality experience.

Researchers have decided to use virtual reality technology in order to explore deeper the process of how memories are assembled in our brains, and how we organize these memories within context.

Another study that was published in the Nature Communications Journal had placed volunteers into a virtual reality experience and observed what was occurring in their hippocampuses.  The researchers were able to conclude from their work that various types of memories are activated by different parts of the hippocampus.

Research conducted at the University of California looked specifically at how the brain organizes memories in relation to time context as well as space. This was done by putting study participants in a virtual reality experience.

Following this, they used fMRI with the aim of seeing what was happening in the hippocampus at the same time that the participants were experiencing memories of the specific experience.

The virtual reality experience ”took” subjects into different homes, each of which had various objects inside.  They attempted to memorize the objects in two different contexts. One, which was video (episodic memory), and the other, which was the house (spatial memory) and they saw what specifically activated specific regions of the hippocampus.

This study revealed to the researchers which area of the hippocampus is involved in recalling shared information in relation to contexts. For example, virtual objects that appeared in the video.

They were also able to identify which area specifically was responsible for recalling differences in context.

Their research even contradicted previous belief that the hippocampus is mostly in charge of spatial memories, and found that it is in fact more responsible for episodic memories which are related to space and time.

This study is a wonderful example of how virtual reality technologies can be helpful and applied to medical and physiological research.

There are already existing virtual reality systems and have been specially designed for medical students to study with more realistic materials.

The future of hospitals and operating rooms may very well be equipped with a virtual reality training room in the near future.

Virtual reality systems could additionally even allow surgeons to gain more access to the area they will be operating on prior to a complex procedure.

This innovative technology could be used as a very helpful tool for the betterment of mankind, where doctors have the ability to have a 3-dimensional look at patients bodies that would otherwise not have been seen.

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