News of the WeekNeuroscience

Video Game Images Persist Despite Amnesia

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Science  13 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5490, pp. 247-249
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5490.247a

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On page 350, researchers report the results of new work in which they used the computer game Tetris--which involves using spatial reasoning to slot falling blocks strategically into place--to study how the brain reviews what it has learned. The researchers found that people who have just learned to play Tetris have vivid images of the game pieces floating before their eyes as they fall asleep, a phenomenon the researchers say is critical for building memories. Much more surprisingly, the team also found that the images appear to people with amnesia who have played the game--even though they have no recollection of having done so.