A new study conducted by researchers at University of Exter has found that social drinking could help boost your memory!
As a part of the study, researchers admitted 88 participants who identified themselves as being social drinkers. They were randomly divided into two groups for the experiment. Both were given the task of memorizing a set of words. Post this, one group was encouraged to drink as much as they like, while the other was asked to refrain from drinking.
The next day, members of each group were asked to recollect those words. Surprisingly, members of the group who drank to their heart’s content showed a higher recall rate of those words than the ones who didn’t drink at all!
“Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more,” -Professor Celia Morgan of the University of Exeter.
However, Professor Morgan went on to explain that the cause of the same is not fully known yet and a part of the team of researchers believes that continuous alcohol consumption may in fact damage brain cells, affecting a person’s memory. This could also lead to dementia and other problems related to brain cells degradation. She said, “The causes of this effect are not fully understood, but the leading explanation is that alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory. The theory is that the hippocampus—the brain area really important in memory—switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory.”
The study conducted at the University of Exter also went on to observe if alcohol consumption affected a person’s ability to perform certain tasks – but the results were inconclusive.
Further, a second round of the study was conducted to see if Alcohol consumption before the learning process could help boost memory. A similar test was conducted – but this time used images instead of words.
Researchers found that consumption of alcohol prior to the exercise had no effect on the participant’s memory retention. This outcome can be supported by Professor Morgan’s explanation which suggests that the hippocampus had already switched its function to storing previously learned information – after alcohol consumption.
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