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Brain activity ‘barcodes’ may be linked to specific memories in birds


Black-capped chickadees remember the locations of stashed food

Peter Llewellyn RF/Alamy

Unique patterns of brain activity that are linked to specific memories have been discovered in songbirds. These “barcode” patterns may be related to memory recall in the birds and could also be present in other animals such as humans.

The black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) stores foods such as seeds in hiding places and retrieves them later when sustenance is scarce. This makes it a useful organism to study memory, says Selmaan Chettih at Columbia University in New York.

A pair of structures in …

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