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Memory Roundup

February 5, 2010

Your ability to remember faces may be in your genes.


Spotting a face in the crowd. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Some people can see a face once and pick it out of a crowd a year later; others have trouble remembering faces they’ve seen a hundred times. Scientists at MIT and colleagues in Beijing have found that this ability is passed on genetically. They also found that while general intelligence, or IQ, also has a strong genetic component, the two abilities aren’t related at all.

In other news, mice that ran on treadmills were better than sedentary mice at a task that required telling the difference between very similar images on a computer screen. The work was done at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore. While other studies have shown that exercise can boost brain power, this research is beginning to look at very specific mental activities. The goal is to figure out more precisely where and how exercise affects the brain. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.