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Memory in Elementary School Children Is Improved by an Unrelated Novel Experience.

Ballarini F, Martínez MC, Díaz Perez M, Moncada D, Viola H - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Interestingly, when the lesson was familiar, it failed to enhance the memory of the other task.Our results show that educationally relevant novel events experienced during normal school hours can improve LTM for tasks/activities learned during regular school lessons.This effect is restricted to a critical time window around learning and is particularly dependent on the novel nature of the associated experience.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencias Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

ABSTRACT
Education is the most traditional means with formative effect on the human mind, learning and memory being its fundamental support. For this reason, it is essential to find different strategies to improve the studentś performance. Based on previous work, we hypothesized that a novel experience could exert an enhancing effect on learning and memory within the school environment. Here we show that novel experience improved the memory of literary or graphical activities when it is close to these learning sessions. We found memory improvements in groups of students who had experienced a novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the reading of a story, but not when these events were 4 hours apart. Such promoting effect on long-term memory (LTM) was also reproduced with another type of novelty (a music lesson) and also after another type of learning task (a visual memory). Interestingly, when the lesson was familiar, it failed to enhance the memory of the other task. Our results show that educationally relevant novel events experienced during normal school hours can improve LTM for tasks/activities learned during regular school lessons. This effect is restricted to a critical time window around learning and is particularly dependent on the novel nature of the associated experience. These findings provide a tool that could be easily transferred to the classroom by the incorporation of educationally novel events in the school schedule as an extrinsic adjuvant of other information acquired some time before or after it. This approach could be a helpful tool for the consolidation of certain types of topics that generally demand a great effort from the children.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Memory of a story is enhanced by a novel science lesson around the time of the reading.A) Novelty was experienced before or after the reading (−4 h, n = 57; −1 h, n = 56; +1 h, n = 119; +4 h, n = 98). Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top left of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM of the ratio between control (dotted line, n = 89) and novelty groups. *** p<0.001 vs. Control, −4 h and +4 h, Newman-Keuls after one-way ANOVA. B) Mean ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to the hard level of difficulty questions. Novel groups (−4 h, n = 6; −1 h, n = 9; +1 h, n = 9; +4 h, n = 9, calculated from students analyzed in A) vs. their controls for each time point. ** p<0.01, ***p<0.001 vs. Control, Student's t test. C) A story A was read and 3 hours later story B was read. Novelty was experienced one hour after story B. Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top right of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM for the novelty groups at different times. Half of the students were tested on story A (n = 20) and the others on story B (n = 28). *** p<0.001 vs +4 h, Student's t test. D) Means ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to hard level of difficulty questions are shown corresponding to groups of students analyzed in C (+4 h, n = 6; +1 h, n = 6). ** p<0.01 +1 h vs. +4 h, Student's t test.
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pone-0066875-g001: Memory of a story is enhanced by a novel science lesson around the time of the reading.A) Novelty was experienced before or after the reading (−4 h, n = 57; −1 h, n = 56; +1 h, n = 119; +4 h, n = 98). Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top left of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM of the ratio between control (dotted line, n = 89) and novelty groups. *** p<0.001 vs. Control, −4 h and +4 h, Newman-Keuls after one-way ANOVA. B) Mean ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to the hard level of difficulty questions. Novel groups (−4 h, n = 6; −1 h, n = 9; +1 h, n = 9; +4 h, n = 9, calculated from students analyzed in A) vs. their controls for each time point. ** p<0.01, ***p<0.001 vs. Control, Student's t test. C) A story A was read and 3 hours later story B was read. Novelty was experienced one hour after story B. Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top right of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM for the novelty groups at different times. Half of the students were tested on story A (n = 20) and the others on story B (n = 28). *** p<0.001 vs +4 h, Student's t test. D) Means ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to hard level of difficulty questions are shown corresponding to groups of students analyzed in C (+4 h, n = 6; +1 h, n = 6). ** p<0.01 +1 h vs. +4 h, Student's t test.

Mentions: Using cognitive memory tests we evaluated the consequences of undergoing a novel experience in the school environment, before or after a standard learning session. In our first experiment, this session consisted of a short story that was read to elementary school students, between ages 7 and 9 (Table S1). Twenty-four hours later we evaluated how much they remembered about it with a questionnaire. The novel experience was science lesson with contents completely unknown by the students (See Text S1). Memory improvements were observed in those groups of students who had experienced the novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the story telling, but not 4 hours before or after it (Fig. 1A). The test list included questions of different levels of difficulty –easy, intermediate and hard- (See Text S1). The percentage of correct answers to hard questions was increased in those groups of students who had a novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the reading of the story, but not 4 hours before or after it (Fig. 1B). A similar outcome was observed in the case of intermediate difficulty answers, without any significant changes in the easy ones (Fig. S1).


Memory in Elementary School Children Is Improved by an Unrelated Novel Experience.

Ballarini F, Martínez MC, Díaz Perez M, Moncada D, Viola H - PLoS ONE (2013)

Memory of a story is enhanced by a novel science lesson around the time of the reading.A) Novelty was experienced before or after the reading (−4 h, n = 57; −1 h, n = 56; +1 h, n = 119; +4 h, n = 98). Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top left of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM of the ratio between control (dotted line, n = 89) and novelty groups. *** p<0.001 vs. Control, −4 h and +4 h, Newman-Keuls after one-way ANOVA. B) Mean ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to the hard level of difficulty questions. Novel groups (−4 h, n = 6; −1 h, n = 9; +1 h, n = 9; +4 h, n = 9, calculated from students analyzed in A) vs. their controls for each time point. ** p<0.01, ***p<0.001 vs. Control, Student's t test. C) A story A was read and 3 hours later story B was read. Novelty was experienced one hour after story B. Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top right of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM for the novelty groups at different times. Half of the students were tested on story A (n = 20) and the others on story B (n = 28). *** p<0.001 vs +4 h, Student's t test. D) Means ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to hard level of difficulty questions are shown corresponding to groups of students analyzed in C (+4 h, n = 6; +1 h, n = 6). ** p<0.01 +1 h vs. +4 h, Student's t test.
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3686730&req=5

pone-0066875-g001: Memory of a story is enhanced by a novel science lesson around the time of the reading.A) Novelty was experienced before or after the reading (−4 h, n = 57; −1 h, n = 56; +1 h, n = 119; +4 h, n = 98). Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top left of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM of the ratio between control (dotted line, n = 89) and novelty groups. *** p<0.001 vs. Control, −4 h and +4 h, Newman-Keuls after one-way ANOVA. B) Mean ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to the hard level of difficulty questions. Novel groups (−4 h, n = 6; −1 h, n = 9; +1 h, n = 9; +4 h, n = 9, calculated from students analyzed in A) vs. their controls for each time point. ** p<0.01, ***p<0.001 vs. Control, Student's t test. C) A story A was read and 3 hours later story B was read. Novelty was experienced one hour after story B. Schematic representation of the experimental protocol is presented on the top right of the panels. Memory index is shown as mean ± SEM for the novelty groups at different times. Half of the students were tested on story A (n = 20) and the others on story B (n = 28). *** p<0.001 vs +4 h, Student's t test. D) Means ± SEM of the percentage of correct answers to hard level of difficulty questions are shown corresponding to groups of students analyzed in C (+4 h, n = 6; +1 h, n = 6). ** p<0.01 +1 h vs. +4 h, Student's t test.
Mentions: Using cognitive memory tests we evaluated the consequences of undergoing a novel experience in the school environment, before or after a standard learning session. In our first experiment, this session consisted of a short story that was read to elementary school students, between ages 7 and 9 (Table S1). Twenty-four hours later we evaluated how much they remembered about it with a questionnaire. The novel experience was science lesson with contents completely unknown by the students (See Text S1). Memory improvements were observed in those groups of students who had experienced the novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the story telling, but not 4 hours before or after it (Fig. 1A). The test list included questions of different levels of difficulty –easy, intermediate and hard- (See Text S1). The percentage of correct answers to hard questions was increased in those groups of students who had a novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the reading of the story, but not 4 hours before or after it (Fig. 1B). A similar outcome was observed in the case of intermediate difficulty answers, without any significant changes in the easy ones (Fig. S1).

Bottom Line: Interestingly, when the lesson was familiar, it failed to enhance the memory of the other task.Our results show that educationally relevant novel events experienced during normal school hours can improve LTM for tasks/activities learned during regular school lessons.This effect is restricted to a critical time window around learning and is particularly dependent on the novel nature of the associated experience.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencias Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

ABSTRACT
Education is the most traditional means with formative effect on the human mind, learning and memory being its fundamental support. For this reason, it is essential to find different strategies to improve the studentś performance. Based on previous work, we hypothesized that a novel experience could exert an enhancing effect on learning and memory within the school environment. Here we show that novel experience improved the memory of literary or graphical activities when it is close to these learning sessions. We found memory improvements in groups of students who had experienced a novel science lesson 1 hour before or after the reading of a story, but not when these events were 4 hours apart. Such promoting effect on long-term memory (LTM) was also reproduced with another type of novelty (a music lesson) and also after another type of learning task (a visual memory). Interestingly, when the lesson was familiar, it failed to enhance the memory of the other task. Our results show that educationally relevant novel events experienced during normal school hours can improve LTM for tasks/activities learned during regular school lessons. This effect is restricted to a critical time window around learning and is particularly dependent on the novel nature of the associated experience. These findings provide a tool that could be easily transferred to the classroom by the incorporation of educationally novel events in the school schedule as an extrinsic adjuvant of other information acquired some time before or after it. This approach could be a helpful tool for the consolidation of certain types of topics that generally demand a great effort from the children.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus