Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Turns out, as with most things, he was right on the mark, especially where memory is concerned.
A new study by Charan Ranganath and Matthias Gruber provides further evidence that we are better at remembering something when it stirs our curiosity. Ranganath and Matthias asked a group of graduate students to rate their interest in 12 trivia questions. They then measured the students’ brain activity in order to quantify how well they retained the information in correlation with their interest level in it.
As explained in Today.com:
While their brain activity was measured in an fMRI machine, students learned the answer to a question, but only after an anticipatory period. During the wait, participants briefly saw an image of a neutral face. About 20 minutes later, the students recalled the answers to the trivia questions and guessed whether randomly presented faces were the same ones shown during the wait.”
What Ranganath and Gruber found was that activity in the midbrain and the nucleus accumbens areas (which have been linked to the body’s reward system) lit up only when students were curious about the subject.
So stay curious Wellness Warriors: this may very well be just the thing to keep your memory sharp and on-point.
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