'Memory Impacts on Every Aspect of How Our Brain Works from Securing Survival, to Making Business Decisions' Pupils See a Dramatic Improvement

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Byline: Neil McKay

PIONEERING "jungle memory training" dramatically improved the performance of a group of "slow learning" pupils from a Durham school, it was clamed yesterday.

A programme devised by psychologist Dr Tracy Alloway had a marked effect on the memory of a group of 11 to 14 year olds.

But it found the "instant" nature of texting, Twitter and YouTube was not healthy for working memory.

Dr Alloway, from the University of Stirling in Scotland, has extensively studied working memory and believes it to be far more important to success and happiness than IQ. Her team has developed a working memory training programme and the pupils from Durham were used as her "guinea pigs".

Some youngsters benefited so much from brain training they shot from the bottom to the top of the class, the British Science Festival was told yesterday.

Dr Alloway believes it could also give adults a workout for their grey matter, and help stave off memory loss and dementia in old age.

Examples of working memory in action range from following a teacher's instructions to drawing on past experience to answer questions at job interviews.

Dr Alloway said: "Working memory impacts on every aspect of how our brain works and, as a consequence, every aspect of our lives: from securing our survival, to making savvy business decisions and controlling our emotions.

"Understanding what we can do to train our working memory can have a tremendous impact on preventing memory loss and delay the signs of dementia."

To evaluate the workout, Dr Alloway asked the group of Durham 11 to 14-year-old boys and girls to use it for around 20 minutes three times a week for eight weeks. …