You know that situation when you run into someone from your past, but it takes a while to register how you know them? I had this experience a couple of weeks ago at the DECODE Summit, an ambitious event hosted by Inscopix that brought together stakeholders across the neuroscience community, from academia, government, non-profits, industry, and pharma to grapple with big questions on translating the circuit basis of disease (search #DECODESummit for live tweets from the event). With so many minds meeting from different sectors, a lot of us were seeing folks we hadn’t seen in quite some time, which meant in addition to thinking about the big questions in neuroscience, our brains were constantly discerning familiar faces during the event. According to exciting new research on social memory in mice, we can thank a very specific circuit in our hippocampus for holding the memory –or engram– of whether someone is familiar or a stranger.
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