Experiment Boosts Visual Memory

by Nancy Garduño, age 15

   I sometimes lose my train of thought— as do many others. And what can we blame for this maddening behavior? According to science, the culprit is the anterior temporal lobe (ATL).

   Important for memory processing, the ATL consists of a left and right side. The left ATL controls verbal memory, like conversation, while the right ATL controls visual memory, like art.

   Curious as to how this works, Richard Chi, a Ph.D student at the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney in Australia, did a study on the ATL.

   In the study, 36 volunteers examined a series of slides containing shapes that varied in number, size and color. They were then shown a series of “test slides” that included only some of the original images. After asking the volunteers what they could remember, the researchers put on an electrode cap that transmitted a weak signal on the brains of the volunteers. This method is called transcranial direct current stimulation.

   The volunteers were split into three groups. Group one received signals that boosted their right ATL’s, and suppressed activity on their left. Group two got the opposite treatment and group three was a placebo group— which received no effect, simply mere satisfaction. The first group had shape-recognition scores (visual memory scores) that improved by 110 percent.

   The study is a follow-up to previous research. Although all the research so far has focused on those with autism, everything done to this point is evidence that certain types of brain stimulation can enhance memory issues for everyone.

[Source: Popular Science]



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