The Neural Basis of Watching “Memento”


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Memento (2000) is a fancy psychological thriller a few man unable to kind long-term recollections. The film is fashionable amongst neuroscientists for its correct depiction of amnesia. Now, in a splendidly “meta” paper, a bunch of neuroscientists report that they scanned the brains of individuals watching Memento to be able to research reminiscence processes.

The paper’s known as Mind mechanisms underlying cue-based memorizing throughout free viewing of film Memento, and it’s revealed in Neuroimage, from Finnish researchers Janne Kauttonen and colleagues.

Kauttonen et al. confirmed n=13 adults the total model of Memento throughout fMRI scanning. The members had by no means seen the film earlier than. The authors’ focus was on 15 “key-events”, distinctive scenes within the film that are every proven twice.

These key-events are key to understanding Memento as a result of the film is informed out of the traditional chronological order: when a key scene is proven for the second time, it helps the viewer to piece collectively the narrative. Particularly, Kauttonen et al. have been within the neural correlates of seeing the second, “key-frame” presentation, following the primary “cue-frame” viewing.

The authors hoped to discover a sample of neural exercise distinct to seeing the second, key-frame displaying of the repeated scenes.

We set forth to analyze the reminiscence capabilities notably associated to cued recalling of earlier occasions to be able to make sense of the plot… we studied if the key-frames could possibly be related to particular BOLD activation patterns (fingerprint patterns) on the moments they have been introduced.

Certainly, the fMRI outcomes confirmed a typical sample of key-frame response. Representational similarity evaluation (RSA) revealed that exercise within the precuneus, angular gyrus and proper frontal gyrus was related when seeing a key-frame, even supposing the 15 key-frames have been very totally different by way of low-level visible options (i.e. what occurs on display). The correct hemisphere was particularly concerned.


As a management situation, one other n=14 adults noticed an edited model of Memento by which all of the scenes have been positioned in chronological order. These members didn’t present the identical sample of exercise when viewing the key-scenes – though I be aware that the edited model solely contained one presentation of every scene, not two, so it doesn’t management for the truth that that within the authentic, some scenes have been repeated. The authors additionally acknowledge this.

Kauttonen et al. conclude that

A standard neural course of, or a set of simultaneous processes, is executed throughout key-frames… We have been capable of affiliate key-frames with a typical “neural fingerprint” exercise patterns. This community coated varied frontal, higher-order parietal and subcortical areas, primarily precuneus, angular gyrus, cingulate gyrus and frontal pole with proper hemispheric lateralization bias. We argue that the primary course of driving these areas was reminiscence processing, particularly cued recall, and adopted by fast reconstruction of narrative schema.

It is a pretty research utilizing a naturalistic stimulus. It may be laborious to increase this work to different stimuli, nonetheless, as a result of there usually are not many motion pictures that comply with the Memento narrative construction. Maybe somebody might want to win a grant to fee Christopher Nolan to make a sequel?

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