The study was published in the journal Nature.
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Andre Fenton, a professor of neural science at New York University and senior author of the study, said, “As any educator knows, just remembering the information we learn in school is not a matter of learning.” “Instead of using our brains just to store information, through proper mental training, we can ‘learn to learn’, which makes us more adaptive, thoughtful and intelligent,” he added.
Researchers have often studied memory techniques – in particular, how neurons store information from experience so that the same information can be remembered later. However, little is known about the underlying neurobiology of how we “learn to learn” – the processes that our brains use to go beyond drawing from memory and apply past experiences in meaningful, innovative ways.
A broader understanding of this process could lead to new approaches to improving learning and designing appropriate cognitive behavioral therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and other forms of mental retardation.
To explore this, researchers conducted multiple experiments using rats, which were evaluated for their ability to learn cognitively challenging tasks. Prior to the evaluation, some rats received “Cognitive Control Training” (CCT). They were placed in a slowly rotating courtyard and were trained to avoid the fixed position of light shock using fixed visual cues while ignoring the position of the shock on the rolling floor. CCT rats were compared with control rats. A control group has learned to avoid the same space, but it does not have to ignore irrelevant rotation positions.
The use of the rotating field space avoidance method was vital to the experiment, scientists point out, because it changes spatial information, stabilizing the environment and isolating it into rotating elements. Previously, the lab showed that using the hippocampus, brain memory, and navigation center to learn to avoid shock in the rotating arena, as well as the continuous activity of a molecule (protein kinase M zeta) that is important for maintaining body growth. To preserve the power of neuronal connections and long-term memory.
“In short, there were molecular, physiological, and behavioral reasons for examining long-term space avoidance memory in the hippocampus circuit, as well as a theory of how the circuit could continue to improve,” Fenton explained.
Analysis of neural activity on the hippocampus during CCT confirmed that rats were using relevant data to avoid shock and to ignore the scattering around the shock. Significantly, this process of ignoring scattering was essential for learning in rats because it allows them to perform new cognitive tasks better than rats that have not received CCT. Notably, researchers can measure how CCT also improves how the hippocampal neural circuitry in rats works to process information. The hippocampus is an important part of the brain for spatial navigation as well as long-term memory formation, and CCT has improved how it works over the months.
“Studies show that two hours of cognitive control training is the cause of learning in rats and that learning is accompanied by improved tuning of a core brain circuit for memory. Effective in cases, “Fenton observed.
Other authors of the paper during the study were Ain Chung and Elliott Levy, NYU doctoral students; Claudia is a doctoral student at Hunter College and Graduate Center at Zoo City University of New York; Alejandro Grau-Perales and Dino Dvorak, NYU postdoctoral fellows during research; And Nida Hussain, a student at NYU College of Arts and Sciences while studying.
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