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Brain Awareness Week: How an app could help scientists understand memory

Posted on 11 March 2019

An academic at the University of York is appealing for people to download a free app and take part in a series of games as part of a research project looking at memory and ageing.

The amount of information human beings can hold in the mind for a short time is limited

Dr Fiona McNab is researching what limits the amount of information stored in the brain for a short period of time, often called working memory.

The amount of information we can hold in the mind for a short time is limited. This limit changes during development and as we age.

Quality of life

It also seems to be more limited in people with certain disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Our ability to hold information in the mind in this way is important for many things, such as reasoning and language, and may also predict our quality of life.

The app, which is free to download from the Google Play Store, has been launched to coincide with national Brain Awareness Week.


Dr McNab, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, said: “The York Memory Games project is looking at our ability to hold information in the mind.

“We aim to understand what might affect or limit this ability, and how we might do a better job at preserving it. 

“We are looking for a large number of volunteers to help us collect data through a series of games that we have designed.”

Find out more

All the data from the games is anonymised and the information could help inform clinicians and scientists researching memory and ageing.

Further details about the project and the app can be found here.

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