Memories of Favourite Places # Improve Vocabulary
MEMORIES OF FAVOURITE PLACES
It could be that romantic restaurant, or your favourite park bench. A specific part of the brain seems to be responsible for learning and remembering the precise locations of places that are special to us, research in mice has shown for the first time.
Place cells are neurons that help us map our surroundings, and both mice and humans have such cells in the hippocampus – a brain region vital for learning, memory and navigation.
Nathan Danielson at Columbia University in New York and his colleagues focused on a part of the hippocampus that feeds signals to the rest of the brain, called CA1. They found that in mice, the CA1 layer where general environment maps are learned and stored is different to the one for locations that have an important meaning.
They discovered this by recording brain activity in the two distinct layers of CA1, using mice placed on a treadmill. The treadmill rotated between six distinctive surface materials – including silky ribbons, green pom-pom fabric and silver glitter masking tape. At all times, the mice were able to lick a sensor to try to trigger the release of drinking water.
Then the team activated the sensor only when the mice were on a specific surface, such as the one with silky strips. Mice learned to coordinate their licking with being on the “active” zone, and developed a map that was stored in the deeper layer of CA1.
The team’s conclusion, Danielson says, is that the superficial CA1 layer forms a stable baseline representation of the environment, while the deeper layer maps emotional significance.
“It’s like navigating to your favourite restaurant,” says Danielson. “You need to know the general area, and the wider environment, but the location of the restaurant is of special significance, and incorporates an emotional element,” he says.
|1||Romantic||Of, or relating to, or of the nature of romance; fanciful; impractical; unrealistic||Adventurous, amorous, charming, colorful, corny, dreamy, erotic, exciting, exotic, fanciful, fantastic, fascinating, glamorous, maudlin, mysterious, nostalgic, passionate, tender, utopian, whimsical|
|2||Restaurant||An establishment where meals are served to customers||Bar, cafeteria, coffee shop, diner, dining room, inn, joint, outlet, saloon, canteen, chophouse, dive, drive-in, eatery, grill, hideaway, lunchroom, pizzeria|
|3||Favorite||A person or thing regarded with special favor or preference||Beloved, cherished, favored, main, popular, prized, treasured, choice, darling, dear, dearest, intimate, personal, pet, sweetheart|
|4||Colleagues||An associate||Aide, ally, assistant, buddy, co-worker, companion, comrade, friend, partner, teammate, auxiliary, chum, coadjutor, cohort, collaborator, compatriot, compeer, confederate, confrere, crony, helper, pal, workmate|
|5||Discovered||To notice or realize||Detected, disclosed, exposed, identified, invented, ascertained, disinterred, espied, explored, learned, observed, opened, originated, perceived, presented, recognized, revealed, shown, sighted, spotted, unearthed, unlocked, unveiled|
|6||Distinct||Distinguished as not being same; not identical; separate||Definite, noticeable, recognizable, specific, unmistakable, audible, categorical, clean-cut, clear, clear-cut, enunciated, evident, explicit, express, incisive, lucid, manifest, marked, palatable, patent, perspicuous, plain, prescribed, sharp, transparent, trenchant, unambiguous|
|7||Treadmill||An exercise machine that allows the user to walk or run in place, usually on a continuous moving belt||Chore, drudgery, groove, labor, pace, rote, routine, rut, sweat, task, toil, travail, grub work, hard work, moil|
|8||Distinctive||Serving to distinguish; characteristic; distinguishing||Cool, extraordinary, idiosyncratic, offbeat, original, peculiar, singular, special, weird, characteristic, diacritic, diagnostic, discrete, distinguishing, excellent, far cry, gnarly, individual, like night and day, outstanding, perfect, poles apart, proper, separate|
|9||Trigger||To initiate or precipitate; to become active||Bring about, cause, generate, produce, prompt, provoke, set off, spark, start, activate, elicit, give rise to, set in motion|
|10||Superficial||Being at, on, or near the surface; apparent rather than real.||Cursory, frivolous, one-dimensional, perfunctory, silly, sketchy, slight, trivial, apparent, casual, cosmetic, depthless, desultory, empty, evident, exterior, external, flash, flimsy, general, glib, half-baked, hasty, hurried, ignorant, inattentive, warped, tip of the iceberg, ostensible,|
|11||Conclusion||The end or close; final part||Closure, completion, consequence, denouement, development, ending, outcome, result, cease, cessation, close, culmination, eventuality, finale, finish, issue, payoff, period, stop, termination, upshot, windup, wrap|
|12||Navigating||To walk or find ones way on, in, or across||Cross, cruise, handle, maneuver, operate, sail, steer, captain, direct, drive, helm, journey, pilot, plan, plot, skipper, voyage, head out for, lay the course, ride out|
|13||Incorporates||To put or introduce into a body or mass as an integral part or parts||Absorb, assimilate, blend, consolidate, cover, embody, fuse, integrate, merge, mix, organize, amalgamate, associate, charter, coalesce, dub, form, imbibe, join, link, pool, start ,subsume, unite, add to, gang up, hook in, put together, tie in|
|14||Emotional||Pertaining to or involving emotion; subject to or easily affected by emotions||Affecting, exciting, heated, hysterical, impassioned, moving, nervous, passionate, poignant, sensitive, sentimental, spontaneous, touching, ardent, disturbed, ecstatic, emotive, enthusiastic, excitable, falling apart, fanatical, feeling, fervent fervid, fickle, fiery, heartwarming, histrionic, hot-blooded, impetuous, impulsive, irrational, overwrought, pathetic, responsive, roused, sentient, stirred|