Published: Fri, July 28, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

In fact, those who drank more actually performed better during the University of Exeter's study.

The study's participants were 31 males and 57 females, aged 18-53. They then repeated the task the following day, as they had in the initial trials. The next day, both groups would return to do another word learning task.

The researchers don't think that alcohol improves memory - in fact, just the opposite: because alcohol makes it hard to retain new information, your memory focuses its efforts on retaining what it has already learned. The researchers believe that alcohol blocks the brain's ability to process and learn new information, leaving more brain functionality to continue rehearsing and laying the foundation of the previously learned material.

Professor Celia Morgan said: "Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more", the Telegraph reported.

While drinking, the brain switches to a "consolidation" state, where new info moves to long-term memory.

Following the task's completion, participants were randomly split into one of two groups- one group was told to stay sober, and the other to drink to their heart's content.

It's nearly as if they're saying getting drunk is good as, better still, those who drunk the most also remembered the most. Researchers stressed this is a limited positive effect of alcohol in the study, and mentioned the visible and damaging consequences of excessive alcohol consumption on your memory, mental and physical health. "By replicating retrograde facilitation in people drinking in their own homes, this finding extends past laboratory findings", the study concluded.

The researchers also conducted a second task in which the participants of the study were asked to recall images on a screen. The results of this trial did not reveal any significant differences in memory performance after drinking alcohol.

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