This result suggests that college students should sit and watch parts of slasher movies interleaved with reading textbooks and class notes:
Nielson asked 32 people to memorize a list of words, such as fire, queen and butterfly. Half of them then watched a film of a full dental extraction, complete with blood and screeching drill. "It was nasty - it made you crawl," she says.
24 hours later, the traumatized subjects' word memory was around 10% better than that of those who'd sat through a dull video on tooth brushing. Emotion helps us remember, concludes Nielson, "but it doesn't have to be [personally] meaningful".
The next obvious round of experiments would be to use hormones such as adrenaline to try to see if the same mental state caused by watching the dental extraction can be invoked pharmacologically. The explanation for this might be that excitement increases the release of some hormones or neurotransmitters than, in turn, stimulate the division of neural stem cells in the hippocampus.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2002 November 10 12:35 PM Brain Memory|