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Scientists Unlock Extremely Efficient Memory Gaining Method -- How Does it Work?

Mar 29, 2017 11:50 AM EDT

What if you can have super memory? A new scientific technique says it could entirely be possible.

A lot of memory athletes credit their success to hours and hours of "practicing" memorization. However, some scientists theorize that super memory is not a result of practice alone but also from a certain "gift."

According to BBC, the "gift" may be applied to other people as well, as there are some memorization techniques that can be learned and, at the same, trigger a lot of changes in the brain.

A new piece from Scientific American says a technique used by memory athletes can naturally lead to "changes" on how brains work, resulting in improved memory.

Martion Dresler from Radboud University in the Netherlands led a study that used a mix of behavioral tests and brain scans to compare memory champions with "the general" population. Results show that memory athletes consistently had different brain patterns than their normal counterparts.

However, learning a common memorization technique can gradually improve memory skills and exhibit brain connection patterns that are similar to these elite memory athletes.

Dresler first matched the activity of 23 elite memory champions with control subjects based on a variety of factors. All of them went under a series of brain scans and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a resting state and a memory task.

Researchers found out that memory champions did not have anything "different" in their brain regions. In fact, they simply had different patterns of "connectivity" in the two brain states they were tested in.

The next step of the research had experimental subjects undergo six weeks of intense memory training for half an hour each day, using the classic "loci strategy." The said strategy involves mapping new information onto familiar spatial locations in the participants' homes.

The active control group trained for a working memory task, called the n-back, that does not train long-term memory, while the other didn't receive such training at all.

The participants that received training improved significantly in memory tasks but did not have any brain changes. Their brain connection patterns however became similar to memory champions.

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