18:03 10 March 2017
Researchers from the University Medical Center in Nijmegen in the Netherlands found that with proper and adequate training, anybody can develop the ability to remember lists of several dozen words. They also found that memory training alters brain function and improves connectivity patterns in the brain.
For their study, they recruited 51 individuals similarly matched to memory athletes but with typical memory skills and no previous memory training. After scanning their brains, the participants were split into three groups: two training groups and one group that did not train. Two training methods were used – short-term memory training and strategic memory training.
After training, the participants, who can previously recall an average of 26 to 30 words, were able to recall 35 more words on average. Those who trained short-term memory could recall 11 more words.
First author Martin Dresler, assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience, said: 'After training we see massively increased performance on memory tests,'
'Not only can you induce a behavioral change, the training also induces similar brain connectivity patterns as those seen in memory athletes.'