On February 10th, PBS aired “Memory Hackers”, a program that explored new ways scientists are learning how to edit, delete, and create memories. The hour long broadcast featured some of the world’s leading experts on memory, including UCI’s James L. McGaugh, Ph.D., emeritus professor in the department of Neurobiology and Behavior. Professor McGaugh is a pioneer in the study of individuals with a special type of memory known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) and has been studying these individuals for over 15 years. Individuals with HSAM are able to remember events on almost any given calendar date with incredible detail. One of Professor McGaugh’s findings is that individuals with HSAM have differences in the activity levels of their uncinate fasciculus, an area of the brain associated with memory. However, Professor McGaugh cautioned that more work was needed to truly understand HSAM vs. normal memory.
“There is potential there that we will learn something truly new and important about the functioning of the most complicated and interesting known structure in the universe, our brain. And the most important thing it does is learn and remember.”
To view the show in its entirety, visit the PBS website.