Episodic memory

Episodic memoryGenetic testing and episodic memory performance

Are you sometimes surprised at how forgetful you are? Our memory is affected by our genes as well as our environment. GenePlanet offers you insight into your genetic background for memory, for the effect of the KIBRA gene on long term memory (episodic memory) is well-established. If you very quickly forget what you had for breakfast in the morning or you have difficulty remembering dates, the reason may be in the KIBRA gene. Individuals with certain gene variants require more brain activity to recall certain information.

More details about episodic memory

We separate short term and long term memory, and of course a series of other divisions exist. At this point, there is enough data indicating that the gene KIBRA has an impact on long term episodic memory. Some people refer to episodic memory as autobiographical memory. This type of memory allows us to remember events from the past, which happened during a certain time and in a certain place. It enables us to recall information such as what we ate the day before, what is the name of a former school mate or the date of an important event. Not only do we remember the event itself but we know how to put it into a certain context. It is interesting that exactly this type of memory is affected by different types of amnesia.

It is interesting to observe brain activity between performing the tasks, where episodic memory plays a role. For individuals without the T allele variance of the gene, greater brain activity is typical in parts that are responsible for memory. The reason is simple: individuals without the T allele variance need more effort for completing the same tasks. They did not see any differences in activity or in performing different tasks. At the moment, the precise function of the gene in the brain is yet unknown, however additional tests confirmed that the current motivation, concentration or short term memory did not have an impact on the results.

Perfect memory

There are examples of people in the world who still have the smallest details preserved in their memory. Amongst them is Jill Price, 42 years old, from the USA. Her ability is really unbelievable; she can describe every day of her life from the age of 14 onwards. What did her mother order in a Chinese restaurant on 12 June 1975? What was the television programming schedule like in 2 August 1982? Jill can give the answer instantaneously. In this exceptional example we can also find the answer, why are people programmed to forget. Jill frequently has problems as she cannot seem to forget bad moments. She did not even excel in school, which some may think she would, and she has difficulty solving complex problems as she does not see them as a whole. She is caught up in details too much.