The underlying brain networks of superior memory

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People can employ mnemonic techniques to achieve better memory skills. Memory athletes of the World Memory Championships train in these mnemonic techniques for years and have stated to use one mnemonic technique in particular called the method of loci. In a previous study by Dresler et al., 23 of the world’s memory athletes and 51 participants, of which as small part newly trained in the method of loci, were selected to perform a memory test [1]. It was shown that the athletes possess speci c functional brain networks to support their superior memory performances and that similar connectivity patterns were present in the trained group. However, it remains an open question which exact changes occurred in the functional connectivity patterns of the newly trained participants. In this paper, a new method is applied to the datasets used by Dresler et al. to verify the results previously published and to uncover the areas responsible for the increase in memory capabilities in the newly trained group. The algorithm is called Spatial Patterns for Discriminative Estimation (SPADE). SPADE produces linear  lters that can discriminate two groups optimally in terms of their covariance patterns, which are associated with functional connectivity networks. The results demonstrate that the SPADE  lters can be used to classify the athletes and their controls accurately. Moreover, the classi cation could be extended to the newly trained group in the method of loci, separating their pre-post-training stage. In this work, we present unique spatial patterns of brain activity connected with the athletes and controls during encoding. In conclusion, the results reinforce that memory athletes and controls di er in their functional connectivity networks and that they can be classi ed based on these di erences. Finally, it is con rmed that this classi cation can be extended to a newly trained group before and after training.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen