Study suggests, moving your eyes improves memory

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I recently looked at a article on the livescience website which said that moving your eyes improves your memory. I was a little skeptical of this article but decided to read on. Researchers say that if your looking for a quick memory fix, move your eyes from side-to-side for 30 seconds. Research has shown that horizontal eye movements are thought to cause the two hemispheres of the brain to interact with one another, and communication between the brain is important for retrieving certain types of memory. In the article it was stated that previous studies has shown that horizontal eye movement improve how well people recall words they have just seen. The research that Andrew Parker and colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University in England were looking at focusing on whether such eye movements also help people recognize words they have just seen. Recognition memory differs from recall memory in that people trying to recognize words tend to make false memory errors called source monitoring errors. This happens because they recognize words but attribute it to the wrong source.

Parker and colleagues performed a lure study; they presented 102 college students with recordings of a male voice reading aloud 20 lists of 15 words. The concept of a "lure" study was that in some of the lists converged around a "lure" word that wasn't presented. For example they could have heard words that were associated with a needle such as thread, sharp, eye, and sewing but the word needle was never said. After the subjects went through the lists, a third of them followed a computer prompt that initiated 30 second side-to-side eye movements. Another third did the same with up-to-down eye movements and the third did neither. The subjects were then handed a list of words and asked to pick out the ones that they had just heard. The ones who picked the "lure" words were making source monitoring errors.

Researchers found that those who performed the horizontal eye movements correctly remembered more than 10% more words, and falsely recognized about 15% fewer "lure" words than the people who performed the vertical eye test and those who performed no test at all.

So, leftward eye movement activates the right brain hemisphere and rightward movement activates the left hemisphere. Therefore, horizontal eye movements might improve memory recall by helping the hemispheres interact. However, the mechanism for linking eye movement to memory is still very speculative and more research needs to be performed.

So, should we all start wiggling our eyes from left to right to help us remember where we left those darn keys? Might look a little crazy but its worth a shot.

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This page contains a single entry by chunk002 published on September 25, 2011 7:36 PM.

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