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10 Minutes of Talk Boosts Memory and Intellect

Nov 01, 2007

Talking just 10 minutes with another person may be even more helpful for your intellect and memory than mental exercises, researchers say.

The University of Michigan study showed that socializing proved to be an
effective way to improve mental skills.

Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) and a lead author of the research, as well as with psychologist Eugene Burnstein and psychologist Piotr Winkielman from the University of California, San Diego analyzed the ISR survey data on 3,610 people aged between 24 to 96 to see if there is a connection between one's mental functions and level of social interaction.

Participants were to take the mini-mental exam, a commonly used test that measures mental functions. They also took part in a survey to test their level of social interaction where they were asked on the frequency of talking on the phone with their neighbors, relatives and friends.

The findings revealed a link between high level of social interaction and better mental functioning for all age groups.

In another trial, scientists performed an experiment where participants were to test their mental skills through social interaction and mental exercises. All participants were divided into three groups: social interaction group, intellectual activities group and control group.

The first social interaction group took part in a discussion for 10 minutes, the second group engaged in some intellectual activity like puzzle solving or reading comprehension exercises, and control group was watching a 10 minute clip sitcom.
After the experiment, all volunteers had to take two tests to find out the changes in their mental abilities and memory improvement.

Researchers found that 10 minutes of talk was just as effective in improving intellectual abilities as mental activities.

Oscar Ybarra said that it might imply that social isolation can negatively affect not only person's emotional health but intellectual performance as well.

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