Brains Are Different in People with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory

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"UC Irvine scientists have discovered intriguing differences in the brains and mental processes of an extraordinary group of people who can effortlessly recall every moment of their lives since about age 10."

brain in head

Science Daily

UC Irvine scientists have discovered intriguing differences in the brains and mental processes of an extraordinary group of people who can effortlessly recall every moment of their lives since about age 10.

The phenomenon of highly superior autobiographical memory—first documented in 2006 by UCI neurobiologist James McGaugh and colleagues in a woman identified as "AJ"—has been profiled on CBS's "60 Minutes" and in hundreds of other media outlets. But a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Neurobiology of Learning & Memory's July issue offers the first scientific findings about nearly a dozen people with this uncanny ability.

All had variations in nine structures of their brains compared to those of control subjects, including more robust white matter linking the middle and front parts. Most of the differences were in areas known to be linked to autobiographical memory, "so we're getting a descriptive, coherent story of what's going on," said lead author Aurora LePort, a doctoral candidate at UCI's Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. . .View Full Article

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