Scientists in Canada have found that vivid memories activate similar parts of the brain as actual experiences. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test 20 adults while watching 12 videos. Then they scanned 9 of them while remembering what they saw, finding that there is a correspondence of up to 91% in the brain activation patterns.
‘When we mentally replay an episode we’ve experienced, it can feel like we are transported back in time and re-living that moment again,’ said Dr. Brad Buchsbaum, lead author of the research. ‘Our study has confirmed that complex, multi-featured memory involves a partial reinstatement of the whole pattern of brain activity that is evoked during initial perception of the experience. This helps to explain why vivid memory can feel so real.’
To assure that the memories were good, the participants were asked to pay close attention and compelled to watch the videos for 27 times. After that, 9 participants out of 20 were selected for the memory test.
Bradley R. Buchsbaum, Sabrina Lemire-Rodger, Candice Fang, & Hervé Abdi (2012). The Neural Basis of Vivid Memory Is Patterned on Perception Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_00253