matadornetwork:


I never think, when I start itching to travel again, to just seek out the nearest national park. That’s Shenandoah for me, and it’s only about an hour and a half away from my home in DC. For people living out West, there are a ton more options: Less than 10 of the country’s 59 parks are east of the Mississippi, with huge numbers of them in California, Utah, Arizona, and Alaska.
And they’re all truly spectacular. While there are obviously the popular destinations of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, there are at the same time less visited ones, particularly in the more remote parts of Utah and Alaska, that are nonetheless mindblowingly awesome. Here are pictures from each of the 59 designated national parks, along with their locations. You know, in case you’re itching to travel a bit. 
This post was originally published on May 5, 2014.



1

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the oldest and probably most spectacular of the national parks in the United States (though that’s a tough competition). It sits in northwestern Wyoming, with edges spilling into southeastern Idaho and southwestern Montana.(via)




2

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is the oldest American park east of the Mississippi. It sits primarily on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine. (via)




3

Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park sits on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and covers temperate rainforests, mountains, and the Pacific Coast.(via)



See more like this: 18 natural wonders of the US that will inspire your next road trip

4

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming is only ten miles away from Yellowstone, the granddaddy of America’s park system.(via)




5

National Park of American Samoa
National Park of American Samoa is spread across three islands, and is the only park on this list south of the equator. (via)




6

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is in eastern California, and behind Yellowstone, is probably the best known of the 59. Its founding was in large part due to the efforts of John Muir and the Sierra Club.(via)




7

Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is in northern California, and is known for its massive trees, as well as for being the place where they shot the Endor scenes in Return of the Jedi.(via)




8

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on the Big Island of Hawaii and covers two volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kilauea (which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world).(via)




9

Canyonlands National Park
An excellent park near Moab, Utah, and the perhaps better-known Arches NP, Canyonlands is a popular park for backpackers and hikers. (via)




Intermission


 12  How to save America’s Parks: Pack ‘em with people? by David Page    9  Six Reasons You Should Watch the Ken Burns Series America’s Best Idea by David Page    1  15 awe-inspiring forests around the world by Joe Batruny  







10

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in southeastern Alaska near the panhandle, has one of the sharpest reliefs in the world: 10 miles from the coastline are the St. Elias Mountains, some of the tallest on the continent.(via)




11

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree is in southeastern California in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.(via)




12

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley is the only national park in Ohio, in the northeast between Cleveland and Akron. It is known for its hiking and birdwatching.(via)




13

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park straddles California and Nevada just east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It contains Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States, and is also known for being America’s hottest and driest spot.(via)




14

Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords sits on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula near the town of Seward. It has one of the largest ice fields in the United States.(via)




15

Great Basin National Park
The Great Basin is in Nevada along the Utah border, lying between the Sierra Nevada and Wasatch Mountains. It’s home to the oldest trees in the world, the Great Basin bristlecone pine.(via)




Intermission


 3  41 photos of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls by Rory Moulton      11 pristine photos of Whitehaven Beach, Australia by Joe Batruny      21 insanely colorful photos of Texas wildflower season by Hal Amen  







16

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in the badlands of western North Dakota.(via)




17

Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado, is probably best known for its ancient Pueblo cliff-dwellings.(via)




18

Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier, located in southwest Washington in the Cascade Range, is best known for the peak it’s named after, its incredible trails, and its huge glaciers.(via)




19

Katmai National Park and Preserve
Katmai National Park is on mainland Alaska just opposite Kodiak Island. It’s known for its brown bear population, particularly this famous spot where they converge to fish.(via)




20

Zion National Park
Zion National Park is in southwest Utah situated between the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.(via)




21

Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands are just off the coast of Southern California, across from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. It is known for its seals, whales, and underwater kelp forests.(via)




22

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave in central Kentucky is the longest known cave system in the world, with 400 miles of surveyed passageways.(via)




23

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes lies in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, and it contains the tallest sand dunes in North America.(via)




24

Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is in southern Texas, and runs 118 miles along the Rio Grande, thus making it an international border. It’s named after the big bend you can see in the river on a Texas-Mexico map. (via)




25

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake is in southern Oregon. It fills in the crater of the collapsed volcano Mount Mazama, and is the deepest lake in the United States, at 1,943 feet, making it the ninth deepest in the world.(via)




26

Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is located in eastern California, and is best known for its giant sequoia trees, including General Sherman, the largest tree on Earth.(via)




27

Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave is near Theodore Roosevelt NP in western South Dakota, and consists of the cave, which was the first cave in the world to be declared a national park, and the prairie on top of it. (via)




28

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smokies covers part of the Appalachian Mountains and part of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. The Appalachian Trail passes through it, and it is the most visited national park in the United States.(via)




29

Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is in southern Arizona, and is named after the huge cactuses native to the area.(via)




30

Denali National Park
Named after Denali (also known as Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in the United States, Denali National Park is in south-central Alaska, about a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Anchorage.(via)




31

Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park protects Biscayne Bay (just south of Miami) and its incredible barrier reefs: only 5% of the park is on land, and that 5% is largely a mangrove forest. (via)




32

Arches National Park
Arches National Park, in eastern Utah near Moab, is (obviously) best known for its over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, though the number is decreasing over time due to erosion. (via)




33

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is in the north of Colorado, and straddles the Continental Divide.(via)




34

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park in northern Virginia sits along the Shenandoah River and Valley, and is known for its beautiful autumn leaves.(via)




35

Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles is in Salinas Valley, California, and is home to these strangely shaped peaks caused by the erosion of an extinct volcano.(via)




36

Congaree National Park
Congaree is located in South Carolina, and is known for its swamps and its old-growth bottomland hardwood forests. It’s a great park to canoe or kayak through and was founded as a result of a conservation campaign led by the Sierra Club.(via)




37

Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon, near Fresno, California, is connected to Sequoia National Park. It contains the third largest tree in the world, the famous “General Grant.”(via)




38

Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park is in southwestern South Dakota, and consists of buttes and prairie. It is co-administered by the Oglala Lakota tribe. (via)




39

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is in northeastern California, and is known for Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world.(via)




40

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is in southwestern Utah, and is not actually a canyon but rather a natural amphitheatre with geological structures called “hoodoos.” It was originally settled by Mormon pioneers.(via)




41

Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is on the Alaska panhandle near Juneau. It’s a popular stop on Alaska cruises, and is known for its kayaking and hiking.(via)




42

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is in western Colorado and runs along the Gunnison River. The park is known for its excellent rock climbing.(via)




43

Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is in northeastern Arizona. It protects the fossils of trees that lived 225 million years ago.(via)




44

Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas National Park is situated at the westernmost end of the Florida Keys, and includes Fort Jefferson, the largest piece of masonry work in the Western Hemisphere, as well as seven other islands. It is only accessible by seaplane or boat.(via)




45

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
The northernmost national park, Gates of the Arctic is entirely in the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range in Alaska. It is larger than Belgium, and is not accessible by road: you either have to hike or fly in.(via)




46

North Cascades National Park
The North Cascades are in northwest Washington, and they border Canada’s British Columbia.(via)




47

Everglades National Park
The Everglades in southern Florida is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states, after Death Valley and Yellowstone, and it protects the Everglades wetlands and the huge number of endangered species that live there.(via)




48

Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park covers a large portion of southeast Maui in Hawaii, and includes the summit and crater of the dormant Haleakala volcano. It’s known for its incredible sunrises.(via)




49

Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park is in northern Michigan on Lake Superior, near the Canadian border, with great hiking and kayaking.(via)




50

Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park, in northern Montana, sits right along the border with Canada. Scientists predict its glaciers will have fully vanished in another few years.(via)




51

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns is in southeastern New Mexico, and consists of over 118 total caves.(via)




52

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, and is known for its coastal rainforests and sockeye salmon.(via)




53

Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs, in northern Minnesota, consists of four major lakes, and is known for its awesome water sports.(via)




54

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef is in southern Utah, and is so named because of a number of domes of sandstone that bear a resemblance to the US Capitol Building. (via)




55

Kobuk Valley National Park
Kobuk Valley is yet another Alaskan national park, in northwest Alaska just north of the Arctic Circle.(via)




56

Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park in central Arkansas is the smallest National Park, and includes parts of the town Hot Springs. The springs are not in their original natural condition, but have been changed to work as therapeutic baths.(via)




57

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The Guadalupe Mountains in western Texas comprised the highest points in the state, topping out at 8,749ft. There’s good hiking in the park.(via)




58

Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park covers most of St. John Island and Hassel Island in the US Virgin Islands. Check out its scuba diving and rainforest hikes.(via)




 From: America’s 59 national parks [pics] // http://ift.tt/1qwp0vB

matadornetwork:

I never think, when I start itching to travel again, to just seek out the nearest national park. That’s Shenandoah for me, and it’s only about an hour and a half away from my home in DC. For people living out West, there are a ton more options: Less than 10 of the country’s 59 parks are east of the Mississippi, with huge numbers of them in California, Utah, Arizona, and Alaska.

And they’re all truly spectacular. While there are obviously the popular destinations of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, there are at the same time less visited ones, particularly in the more remote parts of Utah and Alaska, that are nonetheless mindblowingly awesome. Here are pictures from each of the 59 designated national parks, along with their locations. You know, in case you’re itching to travel a bit. image

This post was originally published on May 5, 2014.

1

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is the oldest and probably most spectacular of the national parks in the United States (though that’s a tough competition). It sits in northwestern Wyoming, with edges spilling into southeastern Idaho and southwestern Montana.
(via)

2

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is the oldest American park east of the Mississippi. It sits primarily on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine.
(via)

3

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park sits on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and covers temperate rainforests, mountains, and the Pacific Coast.
(via)

4

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming is only ten miles away from Yellowstone, the granddaddy of America’s park system.
(via)

5

National Park of American Samoa

National Park of American Samoa is spread across three islands, and is the only park on this list south of the equator.
(via)

6

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is in eastern California, and behind Yellowstone, is probably the best known of the 59. Its founding was in large part due to the efforts of John Muir and the Sierra Club.
(via)

7

Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is in northern California, and is known for its massive trees, as well as for being the place where they shot the Endor scenes in Return of the Jedi.
(via)

8

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on the Big Island of Hawaii and covers two volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kilauea (which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world).
(via)

9

Canyonlands National Park

An excellent park near Moab, Utah, and the perhaps better-known Arches NP, Canyonlands is a popular park for backpackers and hikers.
(via)

Intermission
12 How to save America’s Parks: Pack ‘em with people? by David Page 9 Six Reasons You Should Watch the Ken Burns Series America’s Best Idea by David Page 1 15 awe-inspiring forests around the world by Joe Batruny
10

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in southeastern Alaska near the panhandle, has one of the sharpest reliefs in the world: 10 miles from the coastline are the St. Elias Mountains, some of the tallest on the continent.
(via)

11

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is in southeastern California in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.
(via)

12

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley is the only national park in Ohio, in the northeast between Cleveland and Akron. It is known for its hiking and birdwatching.
(via)

13

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park straddles California and Nevada just east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It contains Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States, and is also known for being America’s hottest and driest spot.
(via)

14

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords sits on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula near the town of Seward. It has one of the largest ice fields in the United States.
(via)

15

Great Basin National Park

The Great Basin is in Nevada along the Utah border, lying between the Sierra Nevada and Wasatch Mountains. It’s home to the oldest trees in the world, the Great Basin bristlecone pine.
(via)

Intermission
3 41 photos of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls by Rory Moulton 11 pristine photos of Whitehaven Beach, Australia by Joe Batruny 21 insanely colorful photos of Texas wildflower season by Hal Amen
16

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in the badlands of western North Dakota.
(via)

17

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado, is probably best known for its ancient Pueblo cliff-dwellings.
(via)

18

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier, located in southwest Washington in the Cascade Range, is best known for the peak it’s named after, its incredible trails, and its huge glaciers.
(via)

19

Katmai National Park and Preserve

Katmai National Park is on mainland Alaska just opposite Kodiak Island. It’s known for its brown bear population, particularly this famous spot where they converge to fish.
(via)

20

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is in southwest Utah situated between the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.
(via)

21

Channel Islands National Park

The Channel Islands are just off the coast of Southern California, across from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. It is known for its seals, whales, and underwater kelp forests.
(via)

22

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave in central Kentucky is the longest known cave system in the world, with 400 miles of surveyed passageways.
(via)

23

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes lies in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, and it contains the tallest sand dunes in North America.
(via)

24

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is in southern Texas, and runs 118 miles along the Rio Grande, thus making it an international border. It’s named after the big bend you can see in the river on a Texas-Mexico map.
(via)

25

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is in southern Oregon. It fills in the crater of the collapsed volcano Mount Mazama, and is the deepest lake in the United States, at 1,943 feet, making it the ninth deepest in the world.
(via)

26

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is located in eastern California, and is best known for its giant sequoia trees, including General Sherman, the largest tree on Earth.
(via)

27

Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave is near Theodore Roosevelt NP in western South Dakota, and consists of the cave, which was the first cave in the world to be declared a national park, and the prairie on top of it.
(via)

28

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smokies covers part of the Appalachian Mountains and part of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. The Appalachian Trail passes through it, and it is the most visited national park in the United States.
(via)

29

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is in southern Arizona, and is named after the huge cactuses native to the area.
(via)

30

Denali National Park

Named after Denali (also known as Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in the United States, Denali National Park is in south-central Alaska, about a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Anchorage.
(via)

31

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park protects Biscayne Bay (just south of Miami) and its incredible barrier reefs: only 5% of the park is on land, and that 5% is largely a mangrove forest.
(via)

32

Arches National Park

Arches National Park, in eastern Utah near Moab, is (obviously) best known for its over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, though the number is decreasing over time due to erosion.
(via)

33

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is in the north of Colorado, and straddles the Continental Divide.
(via)

34

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park in northern Virginia sits along the Shenandoah River and Valley, and is known for its beautiful autumn leaves.
(via)

35

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles is in Salinas Valley, California, and is home to these strangely shaped peaks caused by the erosion of an extinct volcano.
(via)

36

Congaree National Park

Congaree is located in South Carolina, and is known for its swamps and its old-growth bottomland hardwood forests. It’s a great park to canoe or kayak through and was founded as a result of a conservation campaign led by the Sierra Club.
(via)

37

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon, near Fresno, California, is connected to Sequoia National Park. It contains the third largest tree in the world, the famous “General Grant.”
(via)

38

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is in southwestern South Dakota, and consists of buttes and prairie. It is co-administered by the Oglala Lakota tribe.
(via)

39

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is in northeastern California, and is known for Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world.
(via)

40

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is in southwestern Utah, and is not actually a canyon but rather a natural amphitheatre with geological structures called “hoodoos.” It was originally settled by Mormon pioneers.
(via)

41

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park is on the Alaska panhandle near Juneau. It’s a popular stop on Alaska cruises, and is known for its kayaking and hiking.
(via)

42

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is in western Colorado and runs along the Gunnison River. The park is known for its excellent rock climbing.
(via)

43

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park is in northeastern Arizona. It protects the fossils of trees that lived 225 million years ago.
(via)

44

Dry Tortugas National Park

The Dry Tortugas National Park is situated at the westernmost end of the Florida Keys, and includes Fort Jefferson, the largest piece of masonry work in the Western Hemisphere, as well as seven other islands. It is only accessible by seaplane or boat.
(via)

45

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

The northernmost national park, Gates of the Arctic is entirely in the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range in Alaska. It is larger than Belgium, and is not accessible by road: you either have to hike or fly in.
(via)

46

North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades are in northwest Washington, and they border Canada’s British Columbia.
(via)

47

Everglades National Park

The Everglades in southern Florida is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states, after Death Valley and Yellowstone, and it protects the Everglades wetlands and the huge number of endangered species that live there.
(via)

48

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park covers a large portion of southeast Maui in Hawaii, and includes the summit and crater of the dormant Haleakala volcano. It’s known for its incredible sunrises.
(via)

49

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is in northern Michigan on Lake Superior, near the Canadian border, with great hiking and kayaking.
(via)

50

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, in northern Montana, sits right along the border with Canada. Scientists predict its glaciers will have fully vanished in another few years.
(via)

51

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns is in southeastern New Mexico, and consists of over 118 total caves.
(via)

52

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, and is known for its coastal rainforests and sockeye salmon.
(via)

53

Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs, in northern Minnesota, consists of four major lakes, and is known for its awesome water sports.
(via)

54

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef is in southern Utah, and is so named because of a number of domes of sandstone that bear a resemblance to the US Capitol Building.
(via)

55

Kobuk Valley National Park

Kobuk Valley is yet another Alaskan national park, in northwest Alaska just north of the Arctic Circle.
(via)

56

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park in central Arkansas is the smallest National Park, and includes parts of the town Hot Springs. The springs are not in their original natural condition, but have been changed to work as therapeutic baths.
(via)

57

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The Guadalupe Mountains in western Texas comprised the highest points in the state, topping out at 8,749ft. There’s good hiking in the park.
(via)

58

Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands National Park covers most of St. John Island and Hassel Island in the US Virgin Islands. Check out its scuba diving and rainforest hikes.
(via)

image From: America’s 59 national parks [pics] // http://ift.tt/1qwp0vB

nationalparks USA nature beautiful Imthankfulformyparentsdraggingmeandmyolderbrothertomanyoftheseplaces

Early Feminists: Oh hey, we see that you can vote. We would like to vote also. I mean, since most of those laws effect us too and all.

Men: YOU JUST WANT SUPERIORITY OVER MEN!

Mid-century Feminists: Hey, that whole thing about how you can have careers and earn a living wage outside the home? Yes that sounds nice, we'd like the option to do that as well.

Men: YOU WANT A MATRIARCHY, THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT!

Late 20th century Feminists: Hey we would like to make our own choices about our reproductive health, just like you've always had.

Men: YOU ARE TRYING TO TAKE MEN'S RIGHTS AWAY!

Modern-day feminists: Hey, if you could you stop sexually assaulting/harassing us and them blaming us for it, that'd be pretty great.

Men: THIS IS MISANDRY, MISANDRY I SAY! FEMINISTS HAVE GONE TOO FAR!

Feminists: Um...

Men: THE END OF MEN IS NIGH! MALE OPPRESSION IS REAL! THE MATRIARCHAL AGE IS UPON US!

funny butnotfunny truth genderequality everyonesequal isitsohardtolistenandunderstand

neuromorphogenesis:

Brain Encodes Time And Place Of Taste Memory

Have you ever eaten something totally new and it made you sick? Don’t give up; if you try the same food in a different place, your brain will be more “forgiving” of the new attempt. In a new study conducted by the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at the University of Haifa, researchers found for the first time that there is a link between the areas of the brain responsible for taste memory in a negative context and those areas in the brain responsible for processing the memory of the time and location of the sensory experience. When we experience a new taste without a negative context, this link doesn’t exist.

The area of the brain responsible for storing memories of new tastes is the taste cortex, found in a relatively insulated area of the human brain known as the insular cortex. The area responsible for formulating a memory of the place and time of the experience (the episode) is the hippocampus. Until now, researchers assumed that there was no direct connection between these areas – i.e., the processing of information about a taste is not related to the time or the place one experiences the taste. The accepted thinking was that a negative experience – for example, being exposed to a bad taste – would be negative in the same way anywhere, and the brain would create a memory of the taste itself, divorced from the time or place.

But in this new study, conducted by doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan in the laboratory of Prof. Kobi Rosenblum of the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at the University of Haifa, in cooperation with the Riken Institute, the leading brain research institute in Tokyo, the researchers demonstrate for the first time that there is a functional link between the two brain regions.

In the study the researchers sought to examine the relationship between the taste cortex (which is responsible for taste memory), and three different areas in the hippocampus: CA1, which is responsible for encoding the concept of space (where we are located); DG, the area responsible for encoding the time relationship between events; and CA3, responsible for filling in missing information. To do this the researchers took ordinary mice and mice that were genetically engineered by their Japanese colleagues such that these three areas of the brain functioned normally but were lacking plasticity, which did not allow new memories reliant on them to be created.

“In brain research, the manipulation we do must be very delicate and precise, otherwise the changes can make the entire experiment irrelevant to proving or refuting the research hypothesis,” said Prof. Rosenblum.

The mice were exposed to two new tastes, one that caused stomach pains (to mimic exposure to toxic food) and another that didn’t cause that feeling. By comparing the two groups it emerged that when the new taste was not accompanied by an association with toxic food, there was no difference between the normal mice and those whose various functional areas in the hippocampus didn’t allow plasticity. But when the taste caused a negative feeling, there was clear involvement of the CA1 area, which is responsible for encoding the space.

“The significance of this is that the moment we go back to the same place at which we experienced the taste associated with a bad feeling, subconsciously the negative memory will be much stronger than if we come to taste the same taste in a totally different place,” explained Prof. Rosenblum. Similarly, the DG area, which is responsible for encoding the time between incidents, was involved the more time that passed between the new taste and the stomach discomfort. “This means that even during a simple associative taste, the brain operates the hippocampus to produce an integrated experience that includes general information about the time between events and their location,” he said.

The findings, which were recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience, expose the complexity and richness of the simple sensory experiences that are engraved in our brains and that in most cases we aren’t even aware of. Moreover, the study can help explain behavioral results and the difficulty in producing memories when certain areas of the brain become dysfunctional following and illness or accident. The better we understand the encoding of simple sensory experiences in the brain and the link between the feeling, time and place of the experiences; we will better understand the complex process of creating memories and storing them in our brains.

taste memory psychology neuroscience science