Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ten Minutes Of Talking Improves Memory And Test Performance

Date:
November 1, 2007
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Spending just 10 minutes talking to another person can help improve your memory and your performance on tests, according to a new study. The higher the level of participants' social interaction, researchers found, the better their cognitive functioning. This relationship was reliable for all age groups, from the youngest through the oldest.

The higher the level of participants' social interaction, researchers found, the better their cognitive functioning. This relationship was reliable for all age groups, from the youngest through the oldest.
Credit: iStockphoto/Chris Schmidt

Spending just 10 minutes talking to another person can help improve your memory and your performance on tests, according to a University of Michigan study to be published in the February 2008 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Related Articles


"In our study, socializing was just as effective as more traditional kinds of mental exercise in boosting memory and intellectual performance," said Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and a lead author of the study with ISR psychologist Eugene Burnstein and psychologist Piotr Winkielman from the University of California, San Diego.

In the article, Ybarra, Burnstein and colleagues report on findings from two types of studies they conducted on the relationship between social interactions and mental functioning.

In one study, they examined ISR survey data to see whether there was a relationship between mental functioning and specific measures of social interaction. The survey data included information on a national, stratified area probability sample of 3,610 people between the ages of 24 and 96. Their mental function was assessed through the mini-mental exam, a widely used test that measures knowledge of personal information and current events and that also includes a simple test of working memory.

Participants' level of social interactions was assessed by asking how often each week they talked on the phone with friends, neighbors and relatives, and how often they got together.

After controlling for a wide range of demographic variables, including age, education, race/ethnicity, gender, marital status and income, as well as for physical health and depression, the researchers looked at the connection between frequency of social contact and level of mental function on the mini-mental exam.

The higher the level of participants' social interaction, researchers found, the better their cognitive functioning. This relationship was reliable for all age groups, from the youngest through the oldest.

In a second experiment, the researchers conducted a laboratory test to assess how social interactions and intellectual exercises affected memory and mental performance. Participants were 76 college students, ages 18 to 21. Each student was assigned to one of three groups. Those in the social interaction group engaged in a discussion of a social issue for 10 minutes before taking the tests. Those in the intellectual activities group completed three tasks before taking the tests. These tasks included a reading comprehension exercise and a crossword puzzle. Participants in a control group watched a 10-minute clip of "Seinfeld."

Then all participants completed two different tests of intellectual performance that measured their mental processing speed and working memory.

"We found that short-term social interaction lasting for just 10 minutes boosted participants' intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called 'intellectual' activities for the same amount of time," Ybarra said.

"To our knowledge, this experiment represents the only causal evidence showing that social interaction directly affects memory and mental performance in a positive way."

According to Ybarra, the findings suggest that visiting with a friend or neighbor may be just as helpful in staying sharp as doing a daily crossword puzzle.

The findings also suggest that social isolation may have a negative effect on intellectual abilities as well as emotional well-being. And for a society characterized by increasing levels of social isolation—a trend sociologist Robert Putnam calls "Bowling Alone"—the effects could be far-reaching.

This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Ten Minutes Of Talking Improves Memory And Test Performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029172856.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2007, November 1). Ten Minutes Of Talking Improves Memory And Test Performance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029172856.htm
University of Michigan. "Ten Minutes Of Talking Improves Memory And Test Performance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029172856.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins