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Fundamental research

30 - 09 - 2016

Social memory

Social memory, the one that allows for the memory of people, is located in and around the hippocampus, a brain area dedicated to memorization. Researchers have just discovered that it lies roughly in the same location (ventral CA1 area of the hippocampus) in mice. Various tests among which optogenetic tests (a method that combines genetic modification and fibre optics) have shown in mice that social memory could be activated or inhibited by acting upon that area. The same group of neurons consistently respond in the presence of the one fellow mouse. No effects were visible in response to the recognition of objects, proving the specificity of this area to social memory. Researchers are now trying to discover in mice whether genetic modifications observed in some cases of autism can affect this memory area and therefore impact on social behaviour.