Sleep to forget teacher, or sleep to remember grandmother?

It seems that a lack of sleep may prevent the brain from forgetting unimportant information. A lack of sleep may also prevent the brain from remembering important information. How can scientists make sense of this seemingly-nonsensical seeming-contradiction? Imagine you just met your child’s teacher, who is named Gwen. The name Gwen, however, is firmly associated […]

“Overtaken by curiosity” Users Really Do Plug in USB Drives (which) They Find

“We investigate the anecdotal belief that end users will pick up and plug in USB flash drives they find by completing a controlled experiment in which we drop 297 flash drives on a large university campus. We find that the attack is effective with an estimated success rate of 45–98% and expeditious with the first […]

Specificity: The effects of these on those

“What, specifically, do you want to know?” is a question no one needs ask about this study. The answer is in the title: “Aggregated Effects of Combining Daily Milk Consumption And Aerobic Exercise on Short-Term Memory and Sustained Attention Among Female Students,” In-Tyng Leong, Sedigheh Moghadam and Hairul A. Hashim [pictured here], Perceptual and Motor Skills, […]

They Remember Memorable Music

Who remembers memorable music? This study examines one aspect of that question: “A Song to Remember: Emerging Adults Recall Memorable Music,” Julia R. Lippman and Dara N. Greenwood [pictured here], Journal of Adolescent Research, vol. 27, no. 6 (2012): 751-774. BONUS: Professor Greenwood’s “Joking in the face of death: A terror management approach to humor production”

A Moving, Perhaps Incomplete Explanation of Remembering

Comes now (or came in 2010, anyway), an only partial explanation of a phenomenon: “Why do we move our eyes while trying to remember? The relationship between non-visual gaze patterns and memory,” Dragana Micic, Howard Ehrlichman and Rebecca Chen, Brain and Cognition, 2010 Dec;74(3):210-24. The authors, at  City University of New York (CUNY), report: “reasons […]

Unmemorably attractive finger food

Finger foods need not be memorable to be chosen by people whose memories no longer work well, suggests this study: “Attractiveness and consumption of finger foods in elderly Alzheimer’s disease patients,” Virginie Pouyet, Agnès Giboreau, Linda Benattar, Gérard Cuvelier, Food Quality and Preference, epub January 3, 2014. The authors, at Centre de Recherche de l’Institut […]

Another small effect of drinking coffee on some people who don’t regularly drink coffee

Yet another tiny research tentative discovery about possible small biomedical effects of coffee and/or tea: “Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans,” Daniel Borota, Elizabeth Murray, Gizem Keceli, Allen Chang, Joseph M Watabe, Maria Ly, John P Toscano and Michael A Yassa [pictured here], Nature Neuroscience, epub 2014. The authors, at Johns Hopkins University […]

He multiplied two 10-digit numbers in his head, in just 7 hours

Computer access to a stack of photos can be used to boost one’s mental calculating ability, suggests this paper. Do pay attention to the thought in parentheses, at the very end of this quotation: “Multiplying 10-digit numbers using Flickr: The power of recognition memory,” Andrew Drucker [pictured here], 2011. The author, at MIT, explains: In […]

Working Memory Across Nostrils

This week’s memorable cross-nostrils study of the week is: “Working Memory Across Nostrils,” Yaara Yeshurun, Yadin Dudai, and Noam Sobel, Behavioral Neuroscience, vol.122, 2008, pp.1031-1037. BONUS: Sobel did the blindfolded-humans-follow-a-chocolate-small-trail experiment pictured here]. He is also the inventor of the nose-controlled electric wheelchair. BONUS: Yudai performed the snakes-in-an-MRI experiment.