ISU RESEARCH: Study On Altered Memories

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A new study by Iowa State University has shown that it is possible to alter your recall of memories.

The study was done using control groups. It was found that after recalling a memory, new information can be introduced and that could change a memory.

The study finds that can be helpful in assisting those who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

When it comes to memory, Iowa State University assistant professor of psychology Jason Chan says our memory may not be as reliable as we think.

“And when we recall the experience…we take these bits and pieces of information that we remember…and we recombine them into a coherent story.  Sometimes that coherent story is correct, but sometimes that coherent story is completely wrong. People can misremember things that are very salient to them,” says Chan.

Frank Healy of New Jersey is often studied for his amazing memory. He can recall days and dates of the week back to the 1700’s as well as weather or news events from that day.

While his memory is unusual, ISU’s Jason Chan says most of us struggle with remembering names and numbers. He says we often can do better with spatial information such as where things are or finding our way on a map.

If you want to improve your memory, Chan says the best improvement tool starts with the body.  Chan says exercise 30 minutes or more has been shown to grow new brain cells.

His study focused on long-term memory and not short-term.