【科学发现:购物有助于提高记忆力!】

【科学发现:购物有助于提高记忆力!】杜克大学的研究人员称,购物多的老年人记忆力相对更好。研究人员利用功能性核磁共振技术监测大脑图像时,发现人们寻找商品或讨价还价时,会使用大脑的一个区域进行思考,这个区域恰好是负责记忆力的。而且研究还发现,年轻人与老年人在购物时做出决定的速度是一样的。

Shopping can boost the brainpower of the elderly, researchers have found. 

Duke University scientists found older adults seem to need extra brainpower to make shopping decisions - especially ones that rely on memory.

To do this, they discovered they use an additional brain area to remember competing consumer products and choose the better one - meaning they don"t miss a bargain.

Older shoppers use an additional brain area to remember competing consumer products and choose the better one - meaning they don

"The study gives a bright picture, actually," Nichole Lighthall, who led the research, appearing Nov. 19 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"It suggests that for healthy older adults, even though their memory might not be as good, they can naturally recruit other brain regions that are not typically involved in the task. 

"It seems that it allows them to perform at a higher level."

The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) -- a noninvasive technique that indirectly measures changes in brain activity -- to scan the brains of 20 younger adults (25 years old, on average), and 22 older adults (around 70 years old) while the participants viewed pictures of consumer products with star ratings indicating their value, similar to online shopping sites like Amazon.com.

Participants were asked to "keep shopping" by navigating from one screen to the next while trying to remember the value for each consumer product they encountered. 

They then had to select the better of two competing products, such as two different sweaters, based on which was a better value.

Some versions of the task were easy. 

For example, participants saw the first product, then the second product, and were asked to select the better one.

In the more challenging trials, participants were shown the first product, and then had to learn about or "buy" several unrelated items before being shown the second, competing product and making a decision.

Young and old adults made decisions with similar speed and accuracy. 

In addition to the normal patterns of brain activity, however, older adults used a part of their brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) as memory demand increased.

The vmPFC is known to be involved in processing risk calculations and it has been shown help people assign values to rewards and emotions.

In this study, the more active the vmPFC was, the better participants performed at the task. 

The study could point to potential strategies to rehabilitate decision-making deficits in older adults, said Roberto Cabeza, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, and a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

"For example, future studies could identify the conditions that lead to vmPFC recruitment during decision-making and explore ways of promoting these conditions when older adults make decisions in real life," Cabeza said. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2844905/Want-boost-brainpower-Head-shops-Researchers-bargain-hunting-improve-memories-older-shoppers.html


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