Math and Memory: Defining our Brains with Math

Every day we access our sequential memory. Simple tasks such as remembering a phone number use it. So does recalling how events unfolded one night fifteen years ago.

Understanding how our sequential memory works could help us understand a variety of mental illnesses. Illnesses such as ADD, bipolar and OCD. New research shows a difference in accessing our sequential memory in healthy and unhealthy brains. It goes from being orderly to dropping into a chaotic state:

stable sequential working memory.

math and memory in chaos
Rabinovich, M.I. et al. (2014)

Math and Memory: Applied Math Takes a Stand.

We often hear school kids complaining that they would never use the math they learn. They get upset that it has no real world applications. These researchers would certainly beg to differ.

These mathematicians proved a theorem showing that in a healthy brain small perturbations didn’t change the thinking process, but in unhealthy brains, small changes can lead to big valleys of lost and jumbled thought.


What do all those colored dots mean?

Think of them as brain modes. Better yet, think of them as different attributes of a figure skater.

Math and brain modes.

When we talk about the figure skater we might look at their name, who their coach is, or where they come from. Or, maybe we look at how well they can to a double lutz or triple toe. We cant forget about their facial expressions, costuming and music. These are all different modes we can use to describe figure skaters.

Similarly, there are different modes of neural activity. Thinking and perceiving are examples of two different brain modes.

Researchers hope that this new math theorem can help us understand neural disorders.