A new study suggests that a brief — even just a few minutes — bit of rest after learning something new can greatly improve your ability to remember it.The new study was published in the journal Psychological Science.
“Our findings support the view that the formation of new memories is not completed within seconds,” researcher Michaela Dewar said in a statement from the journal. “Indeed our work demonstrates that activities that we are engaged in for the first few minutes after learning new information really affect how well we remember this information after a week.”
The study used a pretty small sample of older adults, so the results might not be applicable to everyone. The researchers studied the ability of these participants to remember a story a week after being told it. There was a significant difference between the adults that rested after hearing the story and those that directly moved on to another task: playing a nonverbal memory game.
This indicates that this “writing” of memories — a process called consolidation — takes a bit of time to process after the actual event happens. We could be negatively impacting this memory ability by rushing from one task to the next without taking time to process new information in peace and quiet, the researchers suggest.
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