How many times has your spouse told you to stop thinking too much? Do your parents nag you for worrying too much? Do you perform poorly in an exam because you get “psyched out”?
Well, here’s News for you: Conscious efforts to improve performance can actually make the result worse!
A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience by a group of collaborators in University of California in Santa Barbara have found that there is evidence that parts of the brain involved in attention interfere with those parts of the brain required for forming a kind of memory called IMPLICIT MEMORY.
Read on to know more about this study….
Types of Memory
Memory can be EXPLICIT – which is about knowing facts and events, stored and retrieved in a different manner. Explicit memory is helped by conscious awareness and effort; this is also called DECLARATIVE MEMORY.
IMPLICIT MEMORY is the unconscious memory of skills and how to do things, particularly the use of objects or movements of the body, such as playing a guitar or riding a bike; this is more properly called PROCEDURAL MEMORY, and is referred to as implicit because conscious effort is not required.
The researchers used Transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt the functioning of specific parts of the brain involved in attention while participants were shown a series of kaleidoscopic images for about a minute, then had a one-minute break before being given memory tests containing two different kaleidoscopic images.They were then asked to distinguish images they had seen previously from the new ones.
The methods and the instrument used in the study:
The performance was poor in the baseline situation when there was no TMS, but when TMS was used (to disrupt the functioning of specific parts of the frontal lobe, the performance improved!
The study’s lead author, Taraz Lee, a postdoctoral scholar working in UCSB’s Action Lab, was always fascinated by the way professional golfers who were doing very well till a certain point, then under-performed and failed easy shots during crunch time, because of excessive thinking, attention, and trying too hard to enhance their performance.
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