The physical world we live in is filled with sights that distract us every chance they get. Images on the television, flashing advertisements on the internet, and even seeing half-completed chores in the house can grab our attention and lead us to forgetting things.
If you could tune these things out, would it help you improve your memory? Based on the findings of a recent study, it just might.
Eyewitnesses do better with their eyes closed
In recent study findings by the University of Surrey, researchers found evidence that people who had been eyewitnesses to a crime could remember details with greater accuracy with their eyes closed. Building a rapport between the interviewers and the witnesses also helped them to improve their recall.
Two studies were conducted with 178 participants. In the first study, participants were asked to watch a film about an electrician stealing items during his service calls to people’s homes. Each participant was then asked a series of questions about the film.
However, there were four conditions that were randomly assigned to the group. Some had built a rapport with their interviewer and others had not. Also some were asked to keep their eyes open while answering, whereas others had their eyes closed.
Researchers found that the participants who kept their eyes closed had 23 percent more right answers than the group who did not. Their memory about the events in the film was even further improved amongst the group who had built a rapport with their interviewer.
It improves memory of sounds, too
In the second study, participants watched another film clip of an elderly man being attacked in his home during a burglary attempt. This time, the participants were asked to remember what they heard, as well as what they saw.
The findings of this second study found that keeping their eyes closed improved the subjects’ recall of the sights and sounds they had witnessed, regardless of their rapport with the interviewer. However, in both studies the participants who had not built a rapport with their interviewer said they were not comfortable when they closed their eyes. Interestingly, the participants who had built a rapport were more comfortable with their eyes closed.
Other real world applications
According to lead researcher Dr. Robert Nash, “our data and other data before us points towards eye closure helping because it removes distraction. Closing your eyes might also help people visualize the details of the events they are trying to remember, but our second experiment suggests keeping your eyes shut can help focus on audio information too. The mechanisms we identified ought to apply to other contexts, for example trying to remember details of a lecture.”
So, if you’re struggling to remember something, close your eyes – it might help!
-The Alternative Daily