Our episodic memory is responsible for recalling specific past events or experiences, for example the first time you rode a bike, or your wedding day. Attached to each of these memories is usually a specific time, place and person, as well as any other detailed information which is relevant. However as we age, our brains ability to create these episodic memories declines.
In a recent study, researchers from the University Of Glasgow have discovered how episodic memory could be improved using magnetic stimulation. Before conducting their study, they first analysed past data from 40 college students who had been asked to memorize a list of words. In this study half of the students received slow rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex while trying to memorize the words, and the other half received rTMS over a control region of the brain.
Following this analysis the researchers then went on to replicate their own new study. They took 24 college students, who preformed a similar memory task under both rTMS conditions.
Initial findings showed encouraging results. After analysis of both studies researchers discovered that memory performance was better for words that were memorized while the left prefrontal cortex was being stimulated, the area of the brain which is responsible for supporting the recognition of meaningful patterns in ambiguous stimuli. The researchers therefore theorized that these stimulations can lead to improved memory performance.