Cog Néuro GO: Capturing and enhancing episodic memories made in the wild
Abstract: The ultimate goal of neuroscience is to understand and explain real-world behavior in terms of brain activity, and to use these insights to develop therapeutic approaches for neural disorders. By using mobile recording devices synchronized with intracranial EEG recordings in epilepsy patients with an implanted deep brain recording system, we can study the neural basis of human activities such as navigation and real-world memory encoding in a way that captures the complexity, scale, and functional characteristics of real-world experiences. We asked five participants to learn a 0.75-mile route around campus while hippocampal electrophysiology was recorded. Subjects walked the route 7-8 times across two days, with the 1st walk guided (encoding) and 6-7 of the walks navigated by the participants themselves (navigation retrieval; 28.5 total miles). Findings across all participants suggest that theta band power significantly increases when participants are navigating outdoors relative to indoor navigation. We also find evidence that temporal lobe theta band power changes immediately around spatial event boundaries. Taken together, these initial neural findings support our hypothesis that medial and lateral temporal lobe activity changes around real-world event boundaries. Future studies will investigate the potential of direct brain stimulation to enhance episodic memory for real-world experiences. Related to this future goal, Dr. Inman will also discuss his prior work demonstrating that direct amygdala stimulation can enhance declarative memory in humans.