Exhibition To Gather Memory Research

The latest in a series of laboratory events has opened at The Science Gallery at Trinity College.

The Memory Lab offers the opportunity for visitors to become part of the show and take part in real experiments that will be used in formal scientific research.

Spokeswoman for Trinity College Dublin’s Institute of Neuroscience, Dr Joanne Feeney, commented: "The idea is two-pronged, to have members of the public come in and learn about memory and how research works, and from our point of view it will generate a big data set."

There are eight experiments, five of them run on computers and resemble very simple brain-training exercises.

One task, "Do you know who I am?" measures the ability to attach a name to a face. Another, "Slow Memory", uses a simple number game to test working memory.

Other tasks such as "Total Recall", "Two Second Memory" and "Head Like a Sieve" all test the different forms of memory skills we use every day.

There are also a number of special events including tips on how to make yourself memorable and experiments that show, conclusively, that goldfish have good short-term working memory skills.

The idea was developed jointly by the Science Gallery and the institute’s Prof Shane O'Mara, who curated the exhibition.

Prof O'Mara hopes that up to 2,000 people will complete all the experiments, something that would deliver an "unprecedented" level of data. Data will only be collected after people provide their written consent.

Dr Feeney also added: "None of the tests are clinically diagnostic. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything if you are not good at the tasks."

The exhibition coincides with National Brain Awareness Week and opened just a day before the NAI, the umbrella body for more than 30 neurological charities, called on the incoming Government to prioritise neurological care, (see: Neurological Charities Face Crisis).

The NAI has blamed decades of under-investment in the area for the limited access to services that are routinely available in other European countries.

Memory Lab continues until Monday April 4th. See sciencegallery.ie


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