Why you recognise someone, but can’t name him

August 5th, 2011 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 5 (IANS) You recognise someone and greet him with a warm smile but since you have forgotten his name, you are unable to connect. It could be because brain regions have to work together and remember the context in which a face was seen.

Now Clea Warburton and Gareth Barker, neuroscientists at the University of Bristol, have figured out why we are unable to connect names and faces, the Journal of Neuroscience reports.

Warburton said: “We are very excited to discover this important brain circuit. We’re now studying how memory information is processed within it, in the hope we can then understand how our own ‘internal library’ system works.”

The study found that brain regions have to work together to remember a particular face and the context in which it was seen, according to a Bristol statement.

The perirhinal cortex is linked with our ability to recognise whether an individual object is novel or familiar, the hippocampus is important for recognising places and for navigation. The medial prefrontal cortex is associated with higher brain functions.

Of specific interest were two types of recognition memory: object-in-place recognition memory (remembering where we put our keys), and temporal order recognition memory (when we last had them).

Neither ‘object-in-place’ nor ‘temporal order recognition’ memories could be formed if links between the hippocampus and either the perirhinal cortex, or the medial prefrontal cortex, was sundered.

The findings have important implications for helping treat people with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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