Novelty Aids Learning
The Human Brain and Learning
Exposure to new experiences improves memory, according to research by UCL (University College London) psychologists and medical doctors that could hold major implications for the treatment of memory problems. The study, published in 'Neuron' on 3 August, concludes that introducing completely new facts when learning, significantly improves memory performance.
Researchers have long suspected that the human brain is particularly attracted to new information and that this might be important for learning. They are now a step closer to understanding why.
A region in the midbrain (substantia nigra/ventral tegmental), which is responsible for regulating our motivation and reward-processing, responds better to novelty than to the familiar. This system also regulates levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, and could aid learning. This link between memory, novelty, motivation and reward could help patients with memory problems.
Dr Emrah D