The retention of memory and creation of knowledge


  • Prof Richard Morris

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

We automatically form memories of the events of the day as part of our daily life. A key job of the memory system is to filter out unnecessary information and keep the important or interesting parts. These memory traces are then either retained as they are, such as memories of special events (such as the birth of a child), while others are stripped of information about where and when they happened so that merely factual information is added to our knowledge base. There is a great deal of research investigating memory selectivity and the accumulation of knowledge in humans, but it is impossible to do mechanistic causal research in people.

We will investigate these issues by examining memory tasks in animals using molecular engineering tools in conjunction with new cognitive tasks for laboratory animals that mimic the typical events of daily life in humans.

We hope to secure definitive information about the neurotransmitters involved in enhanced memory retention and the networks of neurons that must communicate for new information to be assimilated with what we already know.