The Atlantic

Recapping Sherlock Offers a Clue to How Memories Are Stored

When viewers recount an episode, their brains all appear to retrieve the shape of its plot from the same areas.
Source: Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

The first episode of BBC’s Sherlock opens with the roar of machine guns and a bursting bombshell. The screen goes black, then Dr. Watson wakes from the nightmare—a scene from his tour of duty in Afghanistan. When Watson later meets a potential roommate named Sherlock Holmes, Holmes deduces Watson’s troubled past from his haircut and an engraving on his cell phone. The pair move in together, and go on to solve a string of mysterious apparent suicides.

Janice Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, recently used this episode to investigate how the brain encodes memory. For

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