According to a new study, having a drink after learning something new may actually help the user better memorize the recently-acquired data. It could do so by boosting the brain’s abilities to store the information.
University of Exeter scientists led by Celia Morgan are behind this new study. A study paper is available in Nature’s journal Scientific Reports.
Having a Drink to Improve Learning Skills, But Not Too Many
The study involved the help of 88 social drinkers. They were divided into two groups, one of them being asked to refrain from drinking any alcohol, the other told to consume as much as they want. All of them were asked, before this, to participate in a word-learning task. By doing so, the research team looked to determine if, and how much, alcohol can influence the memory.
The following day, all the participants were once again put to carry out the word-learning task. Results show that those to drink alcohol actually performed better. They appeared to be capable of remembering more of what they had learned the day before.
Scientists are still unsure what might have led to this result. They point out that alcohol can block the process of learning new information. In turn, the brain could have more available resources of transforming the recently acquired data from short-term to long-term memory.
“The theory is that the hippocampus — the brain area really important in memory — switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory,” stated Celia Morgan, the lead.
The study also found evidence which seems to suggest that the memory recall could also be tied to the amount of alcohol consumed. In a rather surprising turn of events, drinking more alcohol appeared to increase the task’s performance. This result had already been hinted at by previous research, according to reports.
However, the study team underlines the negative effects caused by drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. Its consequences have been well established and tied to mental and physical health problems, as well as mental ones.
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