New Study: The Link Between Closing Your Eyes And Memory

Can closing your eyes boost your memory recall? Yes, says a new study published in the journal Legal and Criminology Psychology. Researchers from the University of Surrey have found further evidence that eyewitnesses to crimes remember more accurate details when they close their eyes. They also noticed that building a rapport with witnesses also helped them to remember more.

"It is clear from our research that closing the eyes and building rapport help with witness recall," said lead author Dr. Robert Nash from the University of Surrey. "Although closing your eyes to remember seems to work whether or not rapport has been built beforehand, our results show that building rapport makes witnesses more at ease with closing their eyes. That in itself is vital if we are to encourage witnesses to use this helpful technique during interviews."

For the study, the researchers took a look at 178 people that participated in two studies. For the first experiment, they watched a film that showed an electrician entering a property, performing several tasks and then stealing items. Each participant was randomly assigned one of four conditions:

  • Recall with eyes closed

  • Recall with eyes open

  • Building a rapport with the interviewer

  • Not building a rapport with the interviewer

Next they were asked a series of questions about the film such as What was written on the van? The team discovered that the participants that closed their eyes answered 23 percent more of the questions correctly. They also discovered that building rapport increased the number of correct answers. Interestingly they learned that closing the eyes was effective regardless of whether rapport had been built or not.

For the second experiment, the researchers took the memory task one step further by asking witnesses about things they had heard and seen. This time the participants watched a clip from Crimewatch that showed a reconstruction of a burglary involving an elderly man attacked in his home.

This time the results revealed that those that closed their eyes helped recall both audio and visual details whether they had built a rapport or not. In both experiments, the participants that did not build a rapport with the interviewer said they felt less comfortable when they closed their eyes as compared to when they kept their eyes open. And the participants who built rapport felt more comfortable when they closed their eyes.

Boost Your Memory With Turmeric

Researchers recently completed a study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found that adding just one gram of turmeric to your breakfast could help improve the memory of people at risk for cognitive impairment and in the very early stages of diabetes. Turmeric is widely used in cooking, particularly in Asia. Its characteristic yellow color is due to curcumin, which accounts for three to six percent of turmeric and has been shown by experimental studies to reduce the risk of dementia.

"Working memory is widely thought to be one of the most important mental faculties, critical for cognitive abilities such as planning, problem solving and reasoning," says Emeritus Professor Mark Wahlqvist from the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University. "Assessment of working memory is simple and convenient, but it is also very useful in the appraisal of cognition and in predicting future impairment and dementia. We found that this modest addition to breakfast improved working memory over six hours in older people with pre-diabetes. Our findings with turmeric are consistent with these observations, insofar as they appear to influence cognitive function where there is disordered energy metabolism and insulin resistance.

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