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Durable memories and efficient neural coding through mnemonic training using the method of loci

By Isabella C Wagner, Boris N. Konrad, Philipp Schuster, Sarah Weisig, Dimitris Repantis, Kathrin Ohla, Simone Kühn, Guillen Fernandez, Axel Steiger, Claus Lamm, Michael Czisch, Martin Dresler

Posted 30 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.29.067561

Mnemonic techniques, such as the method of loci, can powerfully boost memory. Here, we compared memory athletes ranked among the world's top 50 in memory sports to mnemonics-naive controls. In a second study, participants completed a six-weeks memory training, working memory training, or no intervention. Behaviorally, memory training enhanced durable, longer-lasting memories. fMRI during encoding and recognition revealed task-based activation decreases in lateral prefrontal, as well as in parahippocampal and retrosplenial cortices in both memory athletes and participants after memory training, partly associated with better performance after four months. This was complemented by hippocampal-neocortical coupling during consolidation, which was stronger the more durable memories participants formed. Our findings are the first to demonstrate that mnemonic training boosts durable memory formation via decreased task-based activation and increased consolidation thereafter. This is in line with conceptual accounts of neural efficiency and highlights a complex interplay of neural processes critical for extraordinary memory. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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