Research has shown that exercise and body training improves your body and overall health. It also enhances memory performance by increasing the blood flow and oxygen to all parts of the body, including the brain. Now research shows working memory training releases the neurotransmitter dopamine to specific brain regions to do the same thing.
Our working memory is the part of our brain that actively holds information, and is needed for complex tasks such as comprehension, reasoning and learning. According to Wikipedia, the working memory is “the cognitive processes that includes the executive and attention control of short-term memory, which provides for the interim integration, processing, disposal, and retrieval of information. Working memory is a theoretical concept central both to cognitive psychology and neuroscience.”
Research released in the journal Science affirms other studies associating working memory training with the release of dopamine to particular areas of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is essential in the control of the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.
It helps to regulate our emotional responses and physical movements.
Studies indicate the caudate region of the brain, located below the neocortex, is the recipient of particularly large amounts of dopamine during workingmemory training.
Ten young men were involved in the five-week study of using a letter-memory task, versus a control group receiving no training. Three times a week, on a screen, the participants were presented with 7 to 15 letters for 45 minutes. Their assignment was to remember the last four letters in the sequence in correct order. When compared to the control group, a gradual improvement of working-memory performance was shown in the trained group.
PET scans, given immediately after training indicated an increased release of dopamine in the caudate area of the brain. In addition, after the training, dopamine release significantly increased — in addition to the release during the letter-memory testing. Improvements after training were also demonstrated in an untrained task required working memory performance, which strongly suggests that the training generally improved working memory.
This study suggests that working memory training should be considered for those in need of improved working memory functioning such as those persons with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Further studies are indicated to determine which types of working memory training are most effective.
I am Ron White, and I am a memory-training expert
Memoryzine.com – Dopamine Released After Brain Training Improves Working Memory Performance: http://memoryzine.com/2011/09/11/dopamine-released-after-brain-training-improves-working-memory-performance/
Psychology Today — Dopamine: http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/dopamine
Wikipedia — Working Memory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_memory