Is memory quantized? Does it come in distinct units with a minimum size? In this case, the measure would be duration. According to new research by a Norwegian team of neuroscientists, there may be a smallest unit of memory.
Their findings show that memory is divided into discrete individual packets, analogous to the way that light is divvied up into individual bits called quanta. Each memory is just 125 milliseconds long — which means the brain can swap between different memories as often as eight times in one second. [source]
Using an ingenious experiment on rats, the researchers were able to change the rats perceived physical environment nearly instantaneously (via lighting schemes). Having mapped the unique brain activity for each environment, the scientists were then able to see what happens in the brain when going from one scheme to the other. There was no “melding” or combining of memories, but rather a discrete switch between. The rats’ brains showed activation of “In place A” or “In place B” of durations as brief as one eighth of a second.
Is 125 milliseconds the speed of recognition? Interestingly, the rats’ brains didn’t take on a transitional state of “In place AB.” One can only imagine that the small rodents were for a moment in a state of “Where the #$*! am I?” Or something.
I just hope Deepok Chopra doesn’t use the above finding as support for his Quantum Mind bologna. For although memories may have a smallest duration, that doesn’t mean we are all linked by some unseen field of cosmic consciousness. To use the words of my favorite coach: “It is what it is.” At least until further study.