Want to Hold On to a Memory? Make a Fist

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Getting a grip — literally — by clenching your right fist before remembering information and your left when you want to remember it can boost your recall, according to the latest study.

This strange trick may work because clenching your hands activates the side of the brain that handles the function — in right-handed people, for instance, the left side of the brain is primarily responsible for encoding information and the right for recalling memory. (If you are left-handed, the opposite applies.)

To test this idea, researchers led by Ruth Propper of Montclair State University in New Jersey studied 50 right-handed college students, mainly women. They were given a list of 36 words to remember and a small pink ball to clench.

One group clenched the ball twice for 45 seconds, each with their right hands before memorizing the words, then did the same with their left hands before writing down as many words as they could recall; another group performed the same task but reversed the order of the fists they made. Two other groups used the same hand each time, one group using the left and the other the right. A final group didn’t clench the ball at all but held it gently in both hands each time.

The group that started with the right hand — and activated the left side of their brains, which helps encode memory, and then clenched their left hand, activating the right side of the brain during recall — performed the best on the memory test.

“The findings suggest that some simple body movements — by temporarily changing the way the brain functions — can improve memory,” Propper said in a statement describing the results, which were published in the journal PLoS One.

Participants recalled an average of 10 words if they clenched their right hand for encoding and left for recall, which was four more than those who used the opposite clenching pattern.

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And as odd as it seems, there is precedent for the role of fist making in cognitive functions; earlier studies found that hand clenching has emotional effects as well. Clenching the right hand was linked to increased anger and happiness, which are both typically processed on the left side of the brain, while clenching the left hand tends to increase sadness or anxiety, since the right side of the brain tends to process these emotions.

But if you’re preparing to make fists while studying for an exam or practicing a speech, the researchers say more work is needed to determine whether this technique would actually be useful. In the meantime, however, it probably couldn’t hurt, although you would have to remember which hand to use for which process.

4 comments
klondikemusic
klondikemusic

"Getting a grip — literally — by clenching your right fist before remembering information and your left when you want to remember it can boost your recall, according to the latest study."

What?  Do you mean remembering, or memorizing?  Is this for right handed or left handed people?  The study at the end seems to say the opposite fists.

Kind of a crucial detail, no?

mkb
mkb

What is intelligence? Are Humans more intelligent than other living beings?

Can you catch a fish with bare hand, That is virtually impossible simply because we are not tuned for our daily routine. But many other creatures do that task very smoothly. That's the way they live and they are wired. 

Memory depends on the  physical needs of an individual Human body is made of muscles and bone which forms 55% of the body tissues. any mental thinking needs to be shown to the physical world by the activities of the muscles and bones, hence More muscles and bones provides more nerves to the muscle and bones and may increase the memory area.

Use all of your muscles and bones not just to increase your memory but to activate all organs of your body and live a healthy life.

Reinvent walking and live longer.

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sergezayoud
sergezayoud

Just after reading the title of the this article, i clenched my left hand in order to recall a friends phone number, so i guess it makes sense and is instinctive! (I'm right handed)