A faster and more reliable way to learn?

Posted on November 17, 2017

Photo: Pexels

Research from the Duncan Lab at the University of Toronto has suggested that a novelty can be used as a learning strategy - a more workday version of flashbulb memories (detailed and vivid memories that are stored on one occasion and retained for a lifetime).

Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the human subjects, how the brain triggers memory states was identified by looking at the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in the recording of new memories and retrieving of existing memories. It was found that if Novelty is detected by the hippocampus, the brain is primed to learn distinctly new information and not be distracted by the recall of existing memories. Contrastingly, familiarity as a learning strategy does not work as well as recent exposure to a familiar setting helps the hippocampus retrieve existing memories unrelated to the new information.

The research also brings to light some interesting ideas for memory enhancement strategies. It is found that being able to trigger a "state of novelty" in the brain can speed up the learning curve when learning new material. Findings from the research can also offer potential new methods for recovery from stroke, concussions and other brain injuries.

Some findings from the research can be accessed here.


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Source material from My Brain Test


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