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Brain and Mental Performance

Breaks at Work or School Enhance Learning and Memory

12 years, 4 months ago

12086  0
Posted on Feb 04, 2010, 6 a.m.

New York University (US) researchers find that wakeful rest periods, such as coffee breaks or meditation, may help improve learning and memory.

Taking a coffee break at work or school may be a simple approach to provide the brain with an opportunity to process new information and optimize memory.  Lila Davachi, from New York University (New York, USA), and colleagues conducted a study of 16 adults, showing each subject assorted pairs of images and permitting a wakeful restful break immediately following. Utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity before, during, and after the test, the team found that there was an increase in brain activity between the hippocampus and neocortex, ,two key brain areas involved in memory and processing, both while the participants were shown the images as well as during the break.  Additionally, the subjects who had greater increases in activity between these two areas while resting and seeing the images performed better on associative memory tests than those who had weaker responses. The team concludes that: “These results demonstrate the importance of postexperience resting brain correlations for memory for recent experiences.”

Arielle Tambini, Nicholas Ketz, Lila Davachi.  “Enhanced Brain Correlations during Rest Are Related to Memory for Recent Experiences.” Neuron, Volume 65, Issue 2, 280-290, 28 January 2010; doi 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.001.

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