If you have a hard time remembering whether you’ve met someone before, a little-studied region of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in memory and learning, may be to blame. Using genetically altered mice in which activity in this region, called CA2, could be selectively turned down, scientists measured how the rodents responded to both familiar and unfamiliar mice. Inhibited mice showed an abnormal lack of curiosity about new mice, suggesting that they might not have been able to distinguish new mice from strangers, the team reported this week in Nature. The researchers believe the findings could shed light on disorders that involve similar deficits in social memory, such as autism and schizophrenia.
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