Quick: commit this to memory. There will be a quiz.
Neuroscientists implanted artificial memories into slices of rat brain, they reported in Nature Neuroscience online. By jolting the rodent brain cells with electrical current, the researchers produced memory-like patterns of neuron activity that survived for around 10 seconds. This is the first time that researchers have created memory without a brain.
What’s the News: Humans are eerily good at sifting the visual wheat from the chaff—just think of our penchant for word searches, Easter egg hunts, and lushly animated first-person shooters.
But how good are we really? To test the limits of these abilities, in a recent study neuroscientists gave subjects extremely difficult, high-speed Where’s Waldo-type search tasks studded with red herrings. But again and again, subjects found what they were looking for, leading the team to report that humans operate at a near-optimal level when it comes to visual searches—a skill that likely came in handy in our evolutionary history.