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About this test

What does your brain look like while playing this game?

In this task you have to remember which objects are hidden in different boxes. Psychologists call the skills required for this task 'paired-associate-learning', as you are required to learn to pair two items in memory - in this case the type of object and the location of the object. When one of the paired features is revealed (in this case the object), you have to remember its associate (the location it is hidden in). This type of learning is essential in everyday life, for example when learning new words. When you learn a new word, not only do you learn the word itself, but you have to pair this with the meaning it represents.


Along with our colleagues at the University of Cambridge and at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, we investigated which areas of the brain become active when performing this task. Our results show that increased activation occurs in the lateral and medial frontoparietal and occipital regions of the brain (Gould et al 2005). Therefore when performing this task we expect your brain to look something like this!!!


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Furthermore, we studied what happens to this activation pattern when the task gets harder and harder. The results showed that, rather than additional brain regions becoming active with increased difficulty, activation in many of the same regions increases (Gould et al 2003). This is one demonstration of how the brain copes with increasingly difficult problems.



References


Gould, R.L., Brown, R.G., Owen, A. M., Bullmore, E.T., Williams, S. C. R., Howard, R.J. Functional neuroanatomy of successful paired associate learning in Alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162(11): 2049-2060. 2005.


Gould, R.L., Brown, R.G., Owen, A. M., ffytche D.H., Howard, R.J. fMRI BOLD response to increasing task difficulty during successful paired associates learning. Neuroimage, 20(2), 1006-1019, 2003.

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