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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Larger Role of Memory Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Wall Street Journal'S Health and Wellness page highlights "The new power of memory" today,concentrating on episodic memory, the ability to remember past events and studying how recall may be related to imagination and creativity.
"The ability to imagine or anticipate what may come is important to our ability to plan and problem- solve and helps us make better decisions in social situations."

Most work on memory training, word games and puzzles, focusses on working memory, the information we hold in our head at any given time.There are no studies which show that increased skill in these tasks transfers to any other kind of memory skill.

But this work on targeted episodic memory, remembering past events and specific details about people may help people plan better for the future.This episodic memory decreases with age and older people will often veer off subject when asked for details of an event, shifting to why the event was important for them.
The authors think that this decrease in planning ability, the difficulty in seeing what's ahead, may contribute to older folks making risky investments or to their ability to get conned or scammed.
The testing requested that folks study pictures of people and then predict how they would handle different situations.
Since people with dementia often begin their decline with judgment and decision-making difficulty, this training in recognizing facial expressions and predicting how they would handle future events may improve a set of skills that have the potential for helping older folks make better decisions for themselves and for their loved ones.

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