Two Time USA Memory Champion, Ron White, would like to share information on the importance socialization and interaction with others has on memory.

According to a University of Michigan study published in the February 2008 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, just 10 minutes a day talking to another person can improve your memory and mental performance.

“In our study, socializing was just as effective as more traditional kinds of mental exercise in improving memory and intellectual performance,” said Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and a lead author of the study with ISR psychologist Eugene Burnstein and psychologist Piotr Winkielman from the University of California, San Diego.

In the article, Ybarra, Burnstein and their colleagues conducted two types of studies on the relationship between social interactions and mental functioning.

In one study, data was compiled on 3,610 people between 24-96 years of age. They took mini-mental exams to determine their mental functions. The test measured the knowledge of personal information and current events, as well as a simple test of working memory. Levels of social interactions were assessed by asking how often each week they spoke on the phone with friends, neighbors and relatives, and how often they got together. Researchers found the higher the level of social interaction, the better their cognitive functioning. All age groups came out with the same results.

In a second experiment, researchers accessed how participants’ memory and mental performance was affected through social interactions and intellectual exercises. In this study 76 college students, between the ages of 18 to 21, were assigned to one of three groups. The social interaction group engaged in a discussion on a social issue for 10 minutes before taking the tests. The intellectual activities group completed three tasks before taking the tests, including a reading comprehension exercise and a crossword puzzle. In the control group, participants watched a 10-minute clip of “Seinfeld.”

All participants took two different tests that measured their mental processing speed and working memory.

“We found that short-term social interaction lasting for just 10 minutes boosted participants’ intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called ‘intellectual’ activities for the same amount of time,” Ybarra said. “To our knowledge, this experiment represents the only causal evidence showing that social interaction directly affects memory and mental performance in a positive way.”

According to Ybarra and his colleagues, social interaction can be just as beneficial to boost your memory and mental functions than doing a crossword puzzle or playing brain games. Social isolation not only causes depression, but also has a negative effect on all types of mental abilities – such as studying.

In other words, if you want to improve grades or boost your memory to help at work or home, get out and start talking to people. It’s one of the simplest memory techniques I can give you, and it will do wonders for you in all areas of your life.




Psych Central – Stress Effects from Social Isolation Explained, by Rick Nauert PhD:

Medical News Today – Social Isolation May Have A Negative Effect On Intellectual Abilities: