Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Psychologist finds 'shocking' impact on name recall

Date:
October 6, 2010
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
Psychologists have found a way to improve the recall of proper names. In a recent study, she found that electric stimulation of the right anterior temporal lobe of the brain improved the recall of proper names in young adults by 11 percent.

It's an experience shared by everyone: You run into someone you know, but his or her name escapes you. Now, Temple psychologist Ingrid Olson has found a way to improve the recall of proper names.

Related Articles


Olson dedicates her research to understanding human memory. In a recent study, she found that electric stimulation of the right anterior temporal lobe of the brain improved the recall of proper names in young adults by 11 percent. Her study appears this month in the journal Neuropsychologia.

"We know a lot about how to make people's memory worse, but we don't know very much about how to make people's memory better," said Olson. "These findings hold promise because they point to possible therapeutic treatments for memory rehabilitation following a stroke or other neurological insult."

Olson is currently conducting a follow-up study in older adults, in collaboration with David Wolk at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Memory Center. Because memory decline is part of normal aging, the difficulty in remembering proper names is exacerbated as we get older. Olson predicts that the memory gain will be even more significant among the older research subjects because they start with a lower baseline recall level.

For the study, subjects received electric stimulation to their anterior temporal lobes while looking at photos of faces of known or semi-famous people and landmarks. Her findings support previous research suggesting that the anterior temporal lobes are critically involved in the retrieval of people's names. She did not find any improvement in the recall of the names of the landmarks.

The electrical stimulation was delivered using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a technique by which small electric currents (e.g., 1-2 milliamps) are applied to the scalp via electrodes. Depending on the desired effect, the small currents can either temporarily disrupt or enhance brain functions in a localized brain region.

In recent years, tDCS has been rediscovered as a rehabilitation and research tool. In her work, Olson collaborates with at the University of Pennsylvania's Laboratory of Cognition and Neural Stimulation. Led by Branch Coslett, the group is one of just a few in the country studying the technique.

According to Olson, it is important to distinguish tDCS from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), made famous in movies such as One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. ECT is used to treat serious mental illnesses by passing pulses of approximately 1 ampere of electricity into the brain in order to provoke a seizure. By contrast, tDCS uses a much smaller current (e.g. 1-2 milliamps) with effects that typically last just one hour. The technique is painless, and there are no known adverse effects.

"As we age, the connections between the neurons in our brains weaken," said Olson. "In our study, tDCS works by increasing the likelihood that the right neurons will fire at the moment when the research subject is trying to retrieve a particular name," she said.

"One question for further research is whether or not repeating tDCS may lead to longer lasting effects," she said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Lars A. Ross, David McCoy, David A. Wolk, H. Branch Coslett and Ingrid R. Olson. Improved proper name recall by electrical stimulation of the anterior temporal lobes. Neuropsychologia, Volume 48, Issue 12, October 2010, Pages 3671-3674 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.07.024

Cite This Page:

Temple University. "Psychologist finds 'shocking' impact on name recall." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006104009.htm>.
Temple University. (2010, October 6). Psychologist finds 'shocking' impact on name recall. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006104009.htm
Temple University. "Psychologist finds 'shocking' impact on name recall." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006104009.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alzheimer’s Hope

Alzheimer’s Hope

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) A new drug, BCI-838 offers new hope to halt and possibly reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s disease. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. 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