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June 18, 2020 Thursday 11:42:54 AM IST

Involve Children in Activities with Reward Play for Better Memory Retention

By Mike Renpening

A new study done by neuroscientists at University of Geneva (UNIGE) has shown that memory retention is higher if there is an associated with it but which is neither too small or too large.By ensuring an effective neural dialogue between the reward circuit and the memory circuit, this delicate balance allows the proper encoding of memories of our brain. An experiement done by Sophie Schwartz, full professor in the Department tof find out how long the effect of memory lasts and the role of reward play. 
Thirty healthy subjects were chosen and they were asked to remember associations between objects and people, each correct answer was associated with points gained and each incorrect answer with points lost. These points could be converted to money. Their real time brain movements were monitored with magnetic resonance imaging. It was found that rewards are required to motivate the brain but too high or too low a reward did not bring the best results. 
Imagine picking berries in the forest: if they are everywhere, you do not have to remember where to find them. If there are only a few, the effort required to pick them is too great in relation to the possible gain - a few berries will not feed us. Now, if clusters of berries are scattered throughout the forest, remembering their exact location will allow us to pick more in a short time.” 
In the brain, memory is primarily managed by the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for encoding and storing memories. When a reward is involved, however, another region is activated, the ventral tegmental area, which is involved in the reward system and responsible for the release of dopamine related to the satisfaction of obtaining a reward. “It is the dialogue between these two brain areas that helps maintain motivation, improve learning, and consolidate memories, even over time,” explains Kristoffer Aberg. This experiment shows the importance of motivation in memory and learning, but also the subtle, and probably individual-specific, balance that should be instituted. These lessons are particularly useful in the school environment, with the idea of creating learning contexts that would foster this motivation according to the needs of children.


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