Have you ever passed by a place and instantly remembered something that happened there? And every time you go back there, it’s that one memory that always pops up? I have. I’ve always been curious as to what the science behind place association with memory; or if it was a thing that happened to other people.
An article by The Atlantic
states that some psychologists hypothesize that in order to lock in a memory, you have to associate that memory with a place. The act of this is called episodic memory formation. It’s taking ideas, occurrences, and so on to a place and time to remember it.
The scientists behind the study cited in the article have discovered this by using a process where they inject a virus into the brain that almost acts as a remote control for the brain. The article further goes on to show that researchers have discovered that the retrosplenial cortex, a section of the brain we know very little about, it a key component in the development of episodic memories.
Researchers have discovered this through the ‘remote control’ virus that they injected into the brains of rats for this study. As well, they discovered that they hippocampus, a part of the brain that is known for processing memories, is actually not all that important in creating episodic memories compared to the retrosplenial cortex.
So not only is associating a memory with a place very much an occurrence not only in humans but in rats, it’s an extremely complex process which science is very interested in.