New brain map surprises scientists with ‘mysterious connection’

(ORDO NEWS) — Australian scientists have created the most detailed map of the communication links between the hippocampus – the memory control center – and the rest of the brain. The discovery of specialists may change our understanding of human capabilities.

The hippocampus is a complex, seahorse-like structure located deep inside the brain. It plays an important role in memory consolidation, navigation, imagination, intuition, mental image creation, and even decision making.

Scientists at the University of Sydney have taken a closer look at the structure of the head and have compiled a detailed map of how the hippocampus connects to the cortical mantle, the outer layer of the brain.

“We were surprised to find fewer connections between the hippocampus and the frontal cortex, and more connections to early visual processing areas, than we expected,” says scientist Marshall Dalton.

This discrepancy, dubbed the “connection mystery,” may indicate that the human brain has evolved unique patterns of connection that are not found in primates.

It may well be that studying the connections between the hippocampus and other parts of the brain will explain why chimpanzees, for example, are better at certain memory tasks than humans.

Especially in cases where our “nearest relatives” rely on short-term memory, pattern recognition, and quick visual judgment.


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