Train Brain Change

Hands touching 3D printed brain

How well do you remember? Answer’s more complex than you think.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

How might memory training affect your brain?

Helene Gudi-Minderman and colleagues from the University of Hamburg wondered. They gave fifty young adults, who were either sighted or blind, some memory training.

First, everyone heard several male and female voices speak the same word consecutively. They had to decide whether the CURRENT voice matched the voice heard TWO rounds before.

During training, the number of voices BETWEEN those to be matched increased the better they did – to three, four, and so on. Before and after training, electrodes measured which parts of their brains communicated with the others.

Everyone improved after training, but each group’s brains communicated differently. In sighted participants, ONLY brain areas that REMEMBER talked before and after training. However, in blind individuals, brain areas related to MEMORY talked to areas related to SEEING more after training than before!

Since the blind can’t use visuals, that brain region may help them with remembering.

So, forget those phone caller IDs. See if you REMEMBER who’s calling!

Reference: Gudi-Mindermann, H., Rimmele, J. M., Nolte, G., Bruns, P., Engel, A. K., & Röder, B. (2018). Working memory training in congenitally blind individuals results in an integration of occipital cortex in functional networks. Behavioural Brain Research, 348, 31–41.