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Words in the News
Monday 22 October 2001
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

Left-handedness linked to a better memory
Summary: A new study suggests that being left-handed or related to lots of left handed people can give you a better memory. The study, which looked at handedness and brain function, also goes some way to explaining why people don't remember events which happened in their very early childhood. This report from Julian Siddle:
The News Listen  
  The researchers conducted experiments into two different types of memory function: remembering events and remembering facts. Overall, they found that people who were left-handed or had left-handed members in their immediate families could remember events more easily. In remembering facts, there was little difference.

The experiments also involved measuring brain activity during the memory tasks. Results from these brain scans backed up earlier studies which suggest that both halves of the brain are involved in remembering events, whereas only one half seems to be used when remembering facts.

The researchers say this shows that remembering events at least has little to do with brain dominance. They say the key to how we remember events is likely to be the corpus callosum. In left-handed people and those with left-handed relatives it is generally larger. This part of the brain doesn't develop fully until about the age of four, which could explain why memories of early childhood are difficult to recall.


The Words Listen
  conducted experiments
carried out scientific tests

  in their immediate families
among their closest relatives

  brain scans
medical tests that involve using special technology to measure and record brain activity

  backed up
confirmed the results of

  brain dominance
the widely held, but scientifically unproven belief that one half of the brain is more active than the other, making it either right- or left-handed

  corpus callosum
the part of the brain through which information between the two halves passes

  difficult to recall
not easy to remember

  Also read: Could right- or left-handedness be linked to learning ability?  

Other Words in the News archives


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