Researchers at the American Association of Science have pinpointed a brain region monkeys use to evaluate their ability to recall memories. The metamemory process requires a high level of self-reflection through individual cognition which has previously been thought of as a trait unique to human kind. New research has suggested otherwise.
To recall memories, we have to access specific memory information through brain structures and neural mechanisms to evaluate past information. A metamemory test was devised where macaques judged their own confidence in recalling an experience. Those who were more certain on the memory they were uncovering prompted more successful results.
Whole brain searchers were conducted by functional neuroimaging and researchers were able to identify a specific region in the prefrontal brain that has been noted essential for metamemory decision making. The inactivation of this can be caused by selective impairment of metamemory but not by the memory itself.
Previously metamemory has been difficult to evaluate conclusively but the results have paved new ways to further explore the neuronal underpinnings of metacognition using animal subjects. Evaluating one’s own memory means accessing pathways within the brain that otherwise might go unused, whether are not these brain structures are distinct from standard memory recall remains unknown.