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Learning & Memory Roundup

April 22, 2011

Children’s brains grow very rapidly, and now scientists are finding that adult brains can grow quickly, too.



Getting a bigger brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Learning new things can make your brain grow—even after studying just two hours spread out over three days. In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers taught volunteers made-up names for two shades of green and of blue. Brain scans conducted later showed growth in the parts of the brain associated with color vision and perception. The study shows how responsive the brain is to new learning, even in adults.

In other brain news, University of Missouri researchers report that being in a good mood can impair your memory. They showed some volunteers funny videos and others boring ones. Predictably, the ones who had seen the funny videos reported being in better moods. Then they were given memory tests. The happy volunteers did significantly worse than the others. Why mood affects memory, is so far still a mystery. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.