If you love to bargain shop then you are likely to have better memory, as a new study has found that older people who look for a bargain while shopping actually have improved memory… Now women everywhere have a good reason when the man in their life complains about their shopping habits!
A team of scientists from Duke University found older adults seem to need extra brainpower to make shopping decisions – especially ones that rely on memory. To do this, they discovered they use an additional brain area to remember competing consumer products and choose the better one – meaning they don’t miss a bargain.
Nichole Lightall who was the lead scientist in the study has said, ‘It suggests that for healthy older adults, even though their memory might not be as good, they can naturally recruit other brain regions that are not typically involved in the task.”
The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — a noninvasive technique that indirectly measures changes in brain activity — to scan the brains of 20 younger adults (25 years old, on average), and 22 older adults (around 70 years old) while the participants viewed pictures of consumer products with star ratings indicating their value, similar to online shopping sites like Amazon.com.
Participants were asked to ‘keep shopping’ by navigating from one screen to the next while trying to remember the value for each consumer product they encountered. The fMRI scans showed that the older adults, in addition to the normal patterns of brain activity, used a part of their brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) as memory demand increased.
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The value of this study is that this information could ultimately help older people with memory loss to rehabilitate and possibly even restore the ability to make decisions again.
It is interesting – some of us love to bargain shop whereas some of us can’t stand it. But at least now you’ve got a reason to enjoy it!
Tell us, do you look for bargains when you shop? Or, do you just get in and get out quickly?