A new study examined cognitive training designed to focus on what’s important while ignoring distractions can improve the brain’s information processing, enabling the ability to “learn to learn.” The research has been published in the ‘Nature Journal’.
“As any educator knows, just remembering the information we learn in school is hardly the point of an education,” said Andre Fenton, professor of neural sciences at New York University. and lead author of the study. “Rather than using our brains to just store information to recall later, with the right mental training, we can also ‘learn to learn’, which makes us more adaptive, attentive and intelligent,” he said. added.
Researchers have frequently studied the machinations of memory, particularly how neurons store information gained through experience so that the same information can be recalled later. However, less is known about the underlying neurobiology of how we “learn to learn” – the mechanisms our brains use to go beyond drawing from memory to use past experiences in meaningful and innovative ways. A better understanding of this process could indicate new methods to improve learning and design precision cognitive-behavioral therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety, schizophrenia and other forms of mental dysfunction.
To explore this, the researchers conducted a series of experiments using mice, which were evaluated for their ability to learn difficult cognitive tasks. Prior to the assessment, some mice received “cognitive control training” (CCT). They were placed on a slowly rotating arena and trained to avoid the stationary location of a slight shock using stationary visual cues while ignoring the locations of the shock on the rotating floor. CCT mice were compared to control mice. A control group also learned to avoid the same spot, but did not have to ignore irrelevant rotation locations. Using the rotating arena location avoidance methodology was vital to the experiment, the scientists noted, as it manipulated spatial information, breaking down the environment into stationary and rotating components. Previously, the lab had shown that learning to avoid impact on the rotating arena required using the hippocampus, the brain’s memory and navigation center, as well as the persistent activity of a molecule ( protein kinase M zeta) which is crucial for maintaining increases in the strength of neural connections and for storing long-term memory.
In short, there were molecular, physiological, and behavioral reasons for examining long-term place avoidance memory in the hippocampal circuit as well as a theory of how the circuit might improve in such a way. persistent, ”Fenton explained. Analysis of neuronal activity in the hippocampus during CCT confirmed that mice used relevant information to avoid shock and ignored rotating distractions near shock. Notably, this process of ignoring distractions was essential for mice to learn to learn because it enabled them to perform new cognitive tasks better than mice that had not received CCTs. Remarkably, the researchers were able to measure that CCT also improved the functioning of the neural circuits in the hippocampus of mice to process information. The hippocampus is a crucial part of the brain for forming lasting memories as well as for spatial navigation, and CCT has improved its functioning for months.
“The study shows that two hours of cognitive control training teach mice how to learn and that learning to learn is accompanied by better tuning of a key brain circuitry for memory. the brain becomes persistently more efficient at suppressing noisy inputs and more consistently efficient at improving inputs that matter, “observed Fenton. The other authors of the article were Ain Chung and Eliott Levy, doctoral students at NYU at the time of the presentation. research; Claudia Jou, PhD student at Hunter College and Graduate Center, City University of New York; Alejandro Grau-Perales and Dino Dvorak, NYU postdoctoral fellows at time of study; and Nida Hussain, College of the Arts student and NYU Sciences at the time of study. (ANI)
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