Infants Remember a Good Time, Study Finds

Infants Remember a Good Time, Study Finds

Infants Remember a Good Time, Study Finds

Positive reinforcement seems to improve memory, researchers say

SOURCE: Brigham Young University, news release, Nov. 24, 2014

MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to remembering things, infants appear to focus on the good times, recent research suggests.

The new study included 5-month-old babies who watched a person on a computer screen talking to them in either a happy, neutral or angry voice, followed immediately by a geometric shape.

In follow-up tests -- one conducted just five minutes later and the other, a day later -- the babies were shown pairs of geometric shapes. One shape had been shown to them the day before; the other was new to them. The researchers determined memory by how long a baby looked at a picture of the shape.

The infants were more likely to remember shapes associated with positive voices than those linked with negative voices, according to the researchers.

"We think what happens is that the positive affect heightens the babies' attentional system and arousal. By heightening those systems, we heighten their ability to process and perhaps remember this geometric pattern," study lead author Ross Flom, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, said in a university news release.

"People study memory in infants, they study discrimination in emotional affect, but we are the first ones to study how these emotions influence memory," Flom said.

The findings were published in the November issue of the journal Infant Behavior and Development.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about infant and newborn development.
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