Neuroscientists have identified two brain regions that are involved in creating panoramic memories and help us to merge fleeting views of our surroundings into a seamless, 360-degree panorama. As we look at a scene, visual information flows from our retinas into the brain, which has regions that are responsible for processing different elements of what we see, such as faces or objects. “Our understanding of our environment is largely shaped by our memory for what’s currently out of sight,” said lead author Caroline Robertson, post doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. The study found the hubs in the brain where your memories for the panoramic environment are integrated with your current field of view.The researchers suspected that areas involved in processing scenes — the occipital place area (OPA), the retrosplenial complex (RSC), and parahippocampal place area (PPA) — might also be involved in generating panoramic memories of a place such as a street corner. Brain scans conducted on study participants revealed that when participants saw two images that they knew were linked, the response patterns in the RSC and OPA regions were similar.  However, this was not the case for image pairs that the participants had not seen as linked.

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