How Memories Crystallize Over Time

Alipasha Vaziri, PhD, with the light-beads microscopy (LBM) imaging technology he developed. LBM has already enabled several key discoveries that would have been impossible to make with previously existing imaging tools. (Matthew Septimus)

“Practice makes perfect” is no mere cliché, according to a new study from researchers at The Rockefeller University and UCLA. Instead, it’s the recipe for mastering a task, because repeating an activity over and over solidifies neural pathways in your brain. As they describe in Nature, the scientists used a cutting-edge technology developed by Rockefeller’s Alipasha Vaziri, PhD, to simultaneously observe 73,000 cortical neurons in mice as the animals learned and repeated a given task over two weeks. The study revealed that memory representations transform from unstable to solid in working memory circuits, giving insights into why performance becomes more accurate and automatic following repetitive practice. The open-access Nature article was published May 15, 2024, and is titled “Volatile Working Memory Representations Crystallize with Practice.”

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