When you’re trying to remember something, they say it helps sometimes to think of the story backward. And when you lose something, people tell you to retrace your steps.
But until recently, it seems nobody had ever tried to test empirically whether backward movement somehow improves memory–or for that matter, why it would possibly have any impact.
So, a team of researchers from the University of Roehampton in London decided to give it a try. And somewhat to their surprise, they found backward movement indeed correlated positively to increased memory.
Here’s what they tested, the results, and where we go from here.
A ‘mnemonic time-travel effect’
There were six experiments in total, three in which participants moved forward (or simulated moving forward) while being exposed to new memories, and three in which they moved backward or simulated moving backward.
There was also a control group for each experiment that remained still throughout.