Go Back to Childhood Days, Climb a Tree to Improve Your Memory: New Study

We all have those moments in childhood when we play hide and seek with our siblings, cousins or friends by climbing a tree. That small region between the branches of the trees stays our spot where we enjoy the breath of fresh air, have our own imaginative moments or just get lost in those dreams we can’t share with anyone.

Now a new research by American scientists has shown that this childhood memory, accompanied by yoga can drastically enhance one’s cognitive skills.


Photo Credit: Marjolein

A research team, jointly led by Ross Alloway and Tracy Alloway, a research associate and associate professor, respectively of University of North Florida’s Department of Psychology, discovered for the first time that proprioceptively self-motivated actions that involve climbing a tree, performed over a short duration of time can have drastic advantages on working memory. The effective administering of information also known as “working memory,” is associated with the proper execution on several fields starting from grades to sports.

The goal of this study was to check if proprioceptive actions finished over a short duration of time can augment the functioning of the working memory. Proprioception that indicates the consciousness of the positions of body and coordination is connected with working memory. The research team wanted to check as well if a rigorous and very demanding duration of physical training would benefit working memory.

For the study, the researchers hired adults aged from 18 to 59 to examine their working memory. After this, they embarked on Movnat – a company, prepared proprioceptively dynamic actions. The actions needed proprioception and no less than one component like route designing or locomotion.

The proprioceptively dynamic activities, which were involved in the study consisted not just of climbing trees, but walking and crawling on a beam nearly 3 inches wide, making movement while not focusing on posture, running without shoes, steering over, under and around hurdles, and picking up and holding awkwardly weighted items. Two hours later when the contestants were examined again, the researchers discovered that the capability of their working memory had elevated by 50 percent that was a drastic enhancement.

The team examined two control groups too. The first group was a college class, learning novel information in a lecture atmosphere to check if this action enhanced working memory. The second group was a yoga class to check if steady proprioceptive actions were cognitively advantageous. Nevertheless, none of the groups encountered advantages of working memory.

The report informed that proprioceptively dynamic actions have a greater possibility to make an enhancement on working memory as compared to either of the controlled situations (the study conducted) due to the terrain and environmental alterations making a person hire working memory to bring up-to-date information for acclimatizing aptly. Albeit the yoga controlled group involved themselves in proprioceptive actions, which needed consciousness of the positions of body, it was moderately steady as they executed the yoga postures in a tiny area, thwarting their chances of locomotion or navigation.

Ross Alloway said that this study has indicated that by carrying out actions that make one think, both the brain and bodies can be made to perform exercises.

He added that this study has a broad-spectrum of inferences for all – kids to adults, and “by taking a break to do activities,” which are random and needs for one to mindfully acclimatize one’s body movements, the working memory can be bumped up to make executions in the classroom as well as the boardroom better.

Tracy Alloway said that working towards the betterment of working memory has a “beneficial effect” on several areas of one’s life, and it’s interesting to realize that proprioceptive actions can augment working memory “in such a short period of time.”

The study has been published in the journal “Perceptual and Motor Skills”.

In an earlier report by ExaminedExistence, it was explained how working memory is significant for majority of the daily actions in an individual’s life, specifically when associated to learning. It permits a person to grasp his/her intelligences, by allowing him space to preserving valid information, staying involved in other deeds all the while.

For instance, working memory lets a student to preserve instructions given by his/her teacher while he/she is writing down their name of the answer sheet. Not only this, as the Alloways’ study reflected working memory also helps one to confine their attention on a particular action, brushing aside disturbances and keeping themselves up-to-date with the occurrences around them.

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