The Neurocritic has a fascinating summary of a recent paper investigating different types of memory in marathon runners. Why marathoners? Because completing a 26.2 mile race is an insanely arduous exercise, and leads to the massive release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Here are the scientists:
Indeed, cortisol levels recorded 30 min after completion of a marathon rival those reported in military training and interrogation (Taylor et al., 2007), rape victims being treated acutely (Resnick, Yehuda, Pitman, & Foy, 1995), severe burn injury patients (Norbury, Herndon, Branski, Chinkes, & Jeschke, 2008), and first-time parachute jumpers (Aloe et al., 1994).
But before we get back to the marathoners, a quick discussion of human memory. There are two distinct types of memory, which rely on different pathways in the brain. Explicit memory involves the recollection of discrete facts, events, names, faces, etc. It's a conscious process and is largely modulated by the hippocampus. (This was first discovered by studying patients with hippocampal lesions who turned into amnesiacs.) The second type of memory is implicit, largely unconscious and allows us to act based on previous experiences without taking the time to recall discrete memories. Think, for instance, of riding a bicycle. You have an implicit, procedural memory of the motor movements required to balance on two skinny wheels. As a result, you don't have to relearn the movements, or even consciously consider them, every time you go for a ride.
It has long been known that stress disrupts explicit memory, which is why it's not good to be too stressed when taking a test. The scientists hypothesized that finishing a marathon would wreak havoc on our explicit memory system, while leaving implicit memory largely intact. (There are probably good evolutionary reasons for this. It's not useful to forget how to throw a Pleistocene spear when being chased by a bear; if stress disrupted our procedural memory, we'd all be dead by now.)
The experiment itself was straightforward: 261 marathoners running in either the New York City Marathon or the Boston Marathon were given two different verbal memory tests, targeting the different memory pathways. 141 of the runners were tested within 30 min of finishing the race (when their cortex was still flush with cortisol) while the other 120 were tested 1-3 days before the race (this was the control group).
The end result? The group that had just finished the marathon showed a significant decline in explicit memory. They were less able to consciously recall a series of words that they had been shown only a few minutes earlier. However, after running 26.2 miles the marathoners actually showed a large improvement in implicit memory. In other words, the extreme stress and utter physical exhaustion sharpened their ability to act on information stored in their unconscious.
In my experience the conscious mind's involvement totally messes up intuitive judgments so it would be interesting to know whether implicit memory improved because explicit was impaired or independently of it.
As a marathon runner, I was really interested in this experiment. Perhaps I could add my 2 cents worth...
While running I feel like I can reach a meditative state a lot easier than any other form of meditation practice I've tried. This I only experience on the longer races (anything over a half marathon).
I think a study should be done on the relationship between someone who is able to meditate, or is in a meditative state for a long period of time and the results from this experiment, because I think they are related.
Meditation helps you to connect with your intuition and in layman's terms helps you to control the thoughts zooming around your head. Perhaps it is because of this meditative state that your explicit memory is improved.
As for the stress levels being on par with rape victims and first time parachuter s, all I have to say to that is that a marathon is a long way to force your body to run - there will be stress involved but depending on how well you are able to deal with it (perhaps this is where the meditative state comes into play) I guess depends on how your body reacts stress-wise.
Perhaps a similar effect happens when people are drunk. Explaining why a drunk can forget how many drinks they've had, but still strongly believe they can drive a car/balance walk along a wall/jump into the sea...a strengthening in the belief in things we can do alongside a loss of remembering the 'facts'..?
I'm probably not up on my memory research, but it seems as if you're equating implicit memory with motor memory.
What was the test of implicit memory that marathon runners were given?
It's highly possible to lose parts of what used to be called "semantic" memory - stored abstract knowledge - while retaining motor memory, and other parts of semantic memory. For an example where specialized systems are known to be involved, it's highly possible to have a brain lesion that more or less selectively destroys ability to write, and nothing else. Etc.
This post and the one yesterday about TV friends interest me especially in terms of how these situations reveal the inner workings of the brain. I think you got it exactly right when you described the brain as an attachment machine (TV friends) and when you mention the necessity to remember how to spear animals when being pursued by a hungry one. More and more the brain is turning out to be an evolutionary marvel. One recent study showed the brain keeps itself constantly busy to be at its peak when needed, thus we doodle when bored.
Sorry to be off topic, but...
omg! I'm so glad I found you! I read about you on the "Edge" website... I also worked in Eric's lab (for 2 years- 2001-2003). You said:
"the secret to being a great scientist is to love the manual labor of it."
I couldn't agree more! I hated it! So now I'm applying to PhD programs that are interdisciplinary for neuroscience, philosophy of mind/science, psychology, and cultural studies. I'll be very interested to follow your blog.
Would have been informative to test the runners explicit memory after 3 days. How quickly the body deals with the stress overload may mitigate significant effect. My guess is that extreme sports such as marathons are counterproductive to health and memory. In the short term it may seem we are improving health and stamina, but the release of free radicals will eventual cause an earlier decline.
Consistent, more moderate exercise punctuated by bouts of 100% effort (even in 90 second intervals, which is enough to aid diabetics in regulating glucose levels) would seem optimal. A recent study looking at injuries compared compulsive cyclists who trained in freezing conditions no matter and serious cyclists who, in the same conditions, trained indoors--the latter fair much better.
BTW: would like the list of Ph.D. programs LRA is applying for: precisely my interests.
is this why some people with high stress live hard burning the candle at both ends to a point of exhaustion to hold a sense of clarity?
Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.
Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.
As a marathon runner, I am very doubtful of the legitimacy of these tests. I am sure that a lot of people do not feel 100% fully capable of a lot of things after running a marathon. If this test were to prove anything, it should test the runners over a long period of time, before and after the race, days after, etc. Testing right after running 26 miles.... results might be a little skewed. But in any case, it would be interesting to see if there are any long term effects of running and the memory. In addition to that, they might have some variables in different groups of those that just run, those that do other things to stimulate the brain, etc. (which is what I hear helps prevent memory loss- things like crosswords and other brain challenges)
Although this study is facinating and worth looking into, the accuracy of the results is a bit questionable. Who is to say that runners are stressed while running. In fact, most runners (especially marathon runners) are trained and learn to get into their "zone" and almost meditative state in order not to get stressed or worn down. It is possible that the loss of explicit memory is not due to stress but perhaps when asked to repeat the list of words, they were still in their meditative state or were just coming out of their meditation. It can be assumed also, that after a 26 mile run, remembering a list of words is not on the runner's top priority list. As for the increase in implicit memory, this could be due to a runners practice of no being in a fully concious state when running. Being a runner myself, I have found that once I get into my mode, there is no stopping me and I am not fully concious of my body or the things going on around me. Therefore, this mode runners put themselves in could explain the increase of implicit memory.
Interesting and informative. But will you write about this one more?
Being a runner myself I found this study very interesting, but I would need a little more research to actually believe it. Although I only run cross country (5k races) which is no where close to a marathon I feel that the run actually does the opposite of what the study suggests. After a race I usually feel less stressed out from when I started, but perhaps running 26 miles instead of just 3 (or around 6 in practices) would be a completely different story.
I agree with jksB120's theory, that maybe the runners meditated state may have something to do with the results, but I think you also have to take into account the kind of marathon runners they interviewed. If the runners were running the marathon for personal achievement or if they were running it to get first place. If someone was in it to take first place perhaps they were stressed out just the same as someone who is losing at anything they really want, like a chess or basketball game for instance. Where as someone in the race for personal achievement would not stress over what place they were in, but be feeling a sense of relief that they are actually able to do it.
I really liked reading your post!. Quallity content. With such a valuable blog i believe you deserve to be ranking even higher in the search engines :)
Brooke and Julian have a wedding. Weak. No its worse then weak. Its total B.S. to even think shed fall in love and marry this douche. Brooke was so brokenhearted she could never forget her love for Lucas and she is going to settle for some sloppy seconds off of Peyton? Really? Youre kidding me right? The girl who could have any guy on the planet and she settles. Let me repeat that. Brooke settles. She settles for her true love? Yall Brulian fans, seriously now, truly believe Julian is Brookes True Love Always, her Always and Forever? Please I am not buying it. I might be forced to accept it but I sure aint buying it on my own.
there are many different operating systems but of course i would still prefer to use linux for stability..
hoho your post reminds me of hilarious thing my friend got involved in, he stepped in to soaked hanckerchief, yelled "craaaaaaa*" and fell... + tray flew to plouse of nearby stander, this happened at our wedding hehe...
Well story short, you have written quite good article, makes me crack a smile.
So, I go to this website because I consider it accurate.In the past there have been - and maybe there still are - many things that you have had to do without. You have now decided to set your sights on a position or situation that could give you greater prestige and which will afford you considerable self esteem.You don't like authority and you rebel against all forms of limitation. You are your own person and you intend to stay that way and to get on in the world simply by your hard work and determination.
I would love to learn more about this issue. I just think that this stuff is interesting.
My conclusion here is basic. Check Provillus and read much more if my write-up didn't convinced you to attempt it. You will not be disappointed, this is for certain. You may have your hair back in less than 6 months in most circumstances and you'll almost certainly forget this article. No tough feeling if i could support.
I'm on my iphone and I can't seem to see any images. Is that my fault or is the site maybe not optimzied for iphone? Thanks for your reply.
This is one of the best programs that i have seen that explains the trail of money. I would have like dif he had ended it in a better way I felt like he rushed it in the end and did not explain the consequence if the Chiamerica relationship goes soar
Hi, super Beitrag. Ich liebe dieses Thema und warte auf weitere BeitrÃ¤ge zu dem Thema.
I've to concur with Guy McLaren tho:I know folks who have been victims recently. Can I say the country is corrupt and crime ridden. I do not feel so.
I agree with your Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex, wonderful post.
toolzie54 Benjamin Godfrey
you are really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you're doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a excellent job on this topic!
Thanks i love your article about Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex
Ganz toller Artikel! Ich freue mich auf mehr Artikel dieser Art.
^^ Pre-Raph exactly! Beautiful. Photo 6 is my favorite. I would have liked a hint more expression from the model, but other than that, truly lovely.
Hey, thanks for the great post. Honestly, about six months ago I started using the internet and there is so much nonsense out there. I appreciate that you put excellent content out that is clear and well-written. Good luck and thank you for the great tips.
This is exactly what I had been trying to find. I love it.
it's great to hear about celebs that don't forget where they come from. Very kewl.
excellente a vonamo si mernano trioliria con ssumoso. entes ilintred se inhalda son encias mi mecotorva afapodo y halefo ssesc madamur.
I fully agree with author opinion.
Substantially, this post is really the sweetest on this notable topic. I harmonise with your conclusions and will thirstily seem ahead to your incoming updates. Stating thanks won't just be adequate, for the phenomenal clarity inside your writing. I will straight grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Admirable perform and a lot good results within your enterprise dealings! Please excuse my poor English as it truly is not my very first tongue.
I am thinking about building a local news website that will, for the most part, be a collection of local news stories published by newspapers and other sources. Is it legal to do this? I would, of course, give all credit to the authors. I'm just wondering what the legality of this would be? Thanks for the help!.
:clap: This rules! Seriously this is a great piece of art. Nice Job!! :D :D :)
Dominican isnt a race. There are white Dominicans, Asian Dominicans, Amerindian Dominicans, mixed Dominicans, and black Dominicans. Saying youre Dominican is the same as saying youre American.
great stuff on out here
Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There's a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks
It is superb article ! I just love'd it !
As you grow mature, your to locate health problems will likely alter. Can any beer stomach bring on illnesses? Is masculine the menopause a delusion or perhaps a true gents health problem? May possibly the male growth hormone treatment enable you to come to feel youthful again? Obtain strategies these kind of along with other to locate wellbeing questions.
What youre saying is entirely accurate. I realize that everyone ought to say the same thing, but I just feel that you place it within a way that everyone can realize. I also enjoy the pictures you set in right here. They suit so nicely with what youre looking to say. Im sure youll attain so many folks with what youve acquired to say.
This nice idea that all of the sudden develop into a new healthy involving tears is definitely yerning for ones sweeter attention. Many cultures on the planet nod to the present habit all children are generally familiar with.
I have observed that car insurance organizations know the cars and trucks which are prone to accidents along with other risks. In addition, they know what kind of cars are susceptible to higher risk and also the higher risk they've the higher a premium amount. Understanding the uncomplicated basics connected with car insurance will assist you to choose the right type of insurance policy that can take care of your preferences in case you become involved in any accident. Many thanks for sharing your ideas with your blog.
Thank you for some other informative site. Where else may just I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I'm just now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.
I got what you destine, thanks for putting up. Woh I am happy to judge this website through google. Thanks For Share Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex.
I got what you think, thanks for putting up. Woh I am glad to learn this website through google. Thanks For Share Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex.
My spouse and i wished far more coming from this news. I ran across that in Google along with hoped it'll be more informative
Reverence there, just happened state of alert in order to your blog through the Google, and to state, that it is really rich in information. I am to going to think brussels. I want to be grateful if you are continuing it farther. Numerous people will be brought benefit from your writing. Shouts!
I used to think a similar thing about the subject but now I saw your recent blog entry on it and it atlered my impressions completely.
Wonderful goods from you, man. Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely great. I actually like what you've acquired here, really like what you're stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex informations.
Wonderful goods from you, man. Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex I have understand your stuff previous to and you're just extremely great. I really like what you've acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it wise. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a terrific Marathons and Memory : The Frontal Cortex informations.
Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a honest price? Thanks, I appreciate it!
hey there and thank you for your info â Iâve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon..
Hmmm I cannot seem to access some of your links. I wonder if it is my Internet Explorer browser or your blog.