Researchers have uncovered cells in the human brain that they believe are responsible for allowing people to recall the correct sequence of prior events when scanning their memories, Science Alert reports.
According to the media outlet, these so-called “time cells” thought to “represent temporal information” are neurons that reside in the hippocampus, an area in the centre of the brain mass that handles memory, among other duties.
A team of researchers led by Leila Reddy, a neuroscientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research’s Brain and Cognition Research Center (CerCo), has identified some of the neuronal circuits in human brains that are important for remembering and recalling time sequence.
Humans’ brain activity was closely observed by Reddy and her colleagues while they completed tasks that needed sequential memory.
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience on Monday, the findings “indicate a strong representation of time in the human hippocampus,” a deep brain structure.
“Creating episodic memories requires linking together distinct events of an experience with temporal fidelity,” the researchers explain in their study.
“Given the importance of the hippocampus in sequence order learning and temporal order judgments, we tested whether human hippocampal neurons represented temporal information while participants learned the order of a sequence of items.”