When storing memories, brain prioritizes most rewarding experiences

on 18 December 2018
the deeper we go, the more we discover

In life we are told to focus, to concentrate but rarely are we told how! It is, perhaps, this lack of how to do this, of knowing what it actually means, that leads us towards the difficulties and challenges that life often presents to us. Therefore, as a consequence, life moves us away from where we need to be, where we need to be in order to discover our life's purpose . . . . 

Pleasure, in part, leads to life's need for joy!

In part, this is because our purpose is predetermined by the needs of others, parents, teachers, governments, friends, people we meet by chance. The secret to finding our true self comes about as a consequence of taking that decision to open our mind and heart, a process we call therapy. Of all the therapies there are, hypnotherapy, is, perhaps, the one that allows us access to the deeper parts of our mind, the untapped virgin territories deep within us. For it is within our mind that we ultimately discover our true selves!

This research somewhat explains the progressive nature of how hypnosis works. Hypnosis works with, through and across the brain and that is simply because of the complicated networks and regions that are involved, they need time to assess, validate and store the new mode of neural expression. While it is sometimes possible for a client to feel an almost instantaneous response to a hypnotic intervention, a timed and progressive response is much more normal and more often, more durable. That in no way negates the value and potential of any instantaneous relief because they too get assessed, validated and stored. That said, very often clients expect instant validation, so it is important for them to know that whether you do or do not get an instant response to hypnosis, this is not necessarily indicative of a better or lesser outcome; hypnosis is, what hypnosis is!

This also confirms my belief that we Do Not remember everything and also, that Not Everything happens for a reason, some things just happen and other things happen just! So, in that context, life becomes a consequence of the things that we remember and the things that actually do happen for a reason. However, using hypnotherapy, as a means to improve one's life, it becomes essential that we get a better understanding of how your life panned out the way it did, for it is always the case that the story of our life, encompasses the issues within it. While the solution lays within the story and its resultant memories, it does not always occur in a logical or sequential way; sometimes it is the exact opposite! Therefore, it sometimes helps to think more literally and illogically when looking for the solution to an illogical and irrational problem. This is not so much "out of the box" thinking but rather, before the box thinking. It's about going to deeper parts of the mind, parts that existed from that very first breath, parts that lay uncorrupted within our deeper mind. It is within this part of the mind that we tap into that esoteric and nebulous self; in essence, to go beyond the mind!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little sleep and too little by way of clarity! So, to take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better,  then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

The brain's ability to preserve memories lies at the heart of our basic human experience. But how does the brain's mechanism for memory make sure we remember the most significant events and not clog our minds with superfluous details? According to a new study by Columbia University researchers, the brain plays back and prioritizes high-reward events for later retrieval and filters out the neutral, inconsequential events, retaining memories that will be useful to future decisions.

Published today in the journal Nature Communications, the findings offer new insights into the mechanisms of both memory and decision making.

"Our memory is not an accurate snapshot of our experiences. We can't remember everything," said Daphna Shohamy, senior study author and principal investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behaviour Institute and a professor in the Department of Psychology. "One way the brain solves this problem is by automatically filtering our experiences, preserving memories of important information and allowing the rest fade away."

The effect, however, takes time to kick in. "The prioritization of rewarding memories requires time for consolidation," said study co-author Erin Kendall Braun, a recent graduate student in the Shohamy lab at the Zuckerman Institute and psychology in Columbia's School of Arts and Sciences. "Our findings suggest that the window of time immediately following the receipt of the reward -- as well as a longer overnight window including sleep -- work jointly to modulate the sequence of events and shape memory."

To carry out their study, the researchers recruited participants to explore a series of computer-simulated mazes looking for a hidden gold coin, for which they were paid one dollar. The maze was made up of a grid of grey squares and as participants navigated different locations they were shown pictures of everyday objects, such as an umbrella or a mug. The researchers then surprised participants with a test of their memory for these objects.

When the surprise memory test was given 24 hours after exploration, participants remembered the objects closest to the reward (the discovery of the gold coin) but had forgotten the others. This meant that reward had a retroactive effect; the memory for objects that had no special significance when they were initially seen was later remembered only because they were close to the reward. To the researchers' surprise, this pattern of memories was not found when they tested memory immediately. The brain needed time to prioritize memory for the events that led to the reward.

The test was replicated six times in different variations with a total of 174 participants.

"We find the results exciting because they show that experiences considered mundane when they happen are changed in memory due to their association with something meaningful later," Shohamy said. "The experiment demonstrates that what gets remembered isn't random. The brain has mechanisms to automatically preserve memories important for future behaviour.

"For memories to be most useful for future decisions, we need them to be shaped by what matters, and it's important that this shaping of memory happen before choices are made."

Though the data provide insight into the structure of memory playback, how this happens in the human brain remains a mystery. The process probably involves dopamine, a chemical known to be important for rewards, and the hippocampus, the brain region that is important to long-term memory, but further research is needed to understand the mechanism by which this happens, Shohamy said.

Additionally, she said, an important follow-up question would be the effect of negative events on memory -- a study "that would be a lot less fun for the participants." But like the current study, she added, it would help us understand how motivation affects memory and decision making. This understanding would have important implications for education and also for mental health."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Columbia UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Erin Kendall Braun, G. Elliott Wimmer, Daphna Shohamy. Retroactive and graded prioritization of memory by rewardNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07280-0

Cite This Page:

Columbia University. "When storing memories, the brain prioritizes those experiences that are most rewarding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2018. <>.