Source: National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning
Editor: Shao Pengli
On February 14, 2019, PNAS online published the latest results of a collaborative study by Zhu Hao, Xue Gui, an associate professor at the National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, an expert on intelligence attraction programs, Professor Chen Chuansheng, University of California, Irvine, and Professor Elizabeth F. Loftus. It shows the neural mechanism of human false memory.
Although people want their memories to be accurate and lasting, false memories often occur. For example, after learning a series of words with similar semantics (such as: in Figure A, 'Dreaming', 'Waking', 'Bed', 'Snoring', etc.), people not only judge the words they have learnt (such as 'Dreaming') as "Real Memory", but also judge the bait words with similar semantics (such as 'Sleeping') as "Learning" (that is, learning). “Error memory"), but few words (such as "pen") that have not been learned and have nothing to do with semantics are judged to have been learned. More interestingly, as the saying goes, "seeing is true, hearing is false". If auditory presentation is used in learning and visual presentation is used in testing, people will produce more false memories in this situation (see B). In addition, in court questioning, this change in sensory pathways is also more likely to implant false memories for witnesses.
Experimental Procedure and Behavior Result of False Memory and Schematic Map of Neurological Mechanism
A: Experimental procedure. After learning a series of semantic similar words, in the memory test, the three types of words (already words, decoy words, irrelevant words) are judged whether they have learned. Including audiological visual inspection (AV), visual inspection (VV), audiometry (AA), and visual audiometry (VA) four groups.
B: The result of the behavior. Compared with the other three conditions (VV, AA, VA), the audiovisual (AV) has the lowest real memory and the highest false memory (the selection rate of irrelevant words has been controlled).
C: Neural mechanism. Compared with visual inspection (VV), the reason why audiovisual visual observation (AV) produces more false memories is: (1) the true memory signal of the visual cortex is weaker, and (2) the monitoring mechanism of the frontal lobe is weaker. (3) The coding is more dependent on the semantic coding of the bungee.
Memory is not only the coding extraction of the learning material itself, but also the complex interaction of multiple memory representations in the learning test, namely the “multi-characteristic interaction theory” of learning. For example, the memory effect of a learning material depends on its global match to other material representations in the memory space. Our previous gene-brain-behavior study of human error memory found that false memory is associated with audio-visual ability, sensory cortical brain structure, and neurotransmitter genes. However, it is unclear why the sensory channel difference in the learning test leads to more false memories and does not understand the role of the neural global model of the learning test.
Based on previous studies, this study used functional magnetic resonance brain imaging and model-based multi-voxel pattern analysis to calculate the similarity of neural global patterns in learning coding and test extraction, and the global semantic similarity of learning coding, and other indicators. It was first discovered that the auditory learning visual test (AV) caused more false memory than the visual learning visual test (VV) because: (1) the true memory signal of the visual cortex is weaker, and (2) the monitoring mechanism of the frontal lobe is weaker. (3) The coding is more dependent on the semantic coding of the bungee (C in the figure). The research system clarifies the neural mechanism of false memory, and further supports and expands the "multi-characteristic interaction theory" of learning and memory. It has important scientific significance for understanding the reconstructed nature of human memory. This study has important application value in educational practice, witness law and regulation.
The project has been supported by 973 projects of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and key & surface projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China.