As we go about our lives, we experience a continuous stream of information. Yet when thinking about the past, we remember it as discrete events – ‘I attended a meeting’; ‘I went to see a movie’. How is our continuous experience transformed into these separate memories? Research has shown that people naturally segment experience into events, with relatively high agreement between them as to when transitions between events (event boundaries) occur. In a recent brain scanning study, Rik Henson and Aya Ben-Yakov from the MRC CBU, found that when watching films, the hippocampus – a region strongly identified with encoding of new memories – is particularly active at an event boundary. The authors suggest that event boundaries trigger the hippocampus to encode the preceding event to memory, “saving” it as a separate unit, and clearing the slate for the next event.
The full paper recently published in JNeurosci can be read here: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2018/10/08/JNEUROSCI.0524-18.2018