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Stimulating the mind may help memory and other mental capacitiesWEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2011 15:24 PM

Stimulating the mind may help memory and other mental capacities Research from Concordia University found that older individuals have reduced learning and memory because their minds are cluttered with irrelevant information when performing certain tasks.

The results, which were published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, show that poor inhibition predicted a decline in the recollection component of the working memory region of the brain. Researchers added that older adults are less able to keep irrelevant information out of their consciousness, which could impact other mental abilities.

"The first step of our study was to test the working memory of a younger and older population and compare the results," says Mervin Blair, first author and a PhD student in Concordia's Department of Psychology and a member at the Centre for Research in Human Development. "In our study, working memory refers to the ability of both retaining and processing information."

The team of researchers added that keeping a mind clutter-free may be difficult as people age. This could be even more difficult for those who are under prolonged stress. However, relaxation exercises may help these individuals as well as stimulating the mind such as learning a new language or playing an instrument.


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