How names of celebrities can help us remember

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Washington, Dec 19 (ANI): Besides making people buy tickets for movies, celebrities' names can help us remember, says a new research.

In the new Université de Montréal research, published in the Canadian Journal on Aging, a team of scientists explained how the ability to name famous faces or access biographical knowledge about celebrities holds clues that could help in early Alzheimer's detection.

"Semantic memory for people - triggered through name, voice or face - is knowledge we have gathered over the course of our lifetime on a person which enables us to recognize this person," says senior author Sven Joubert, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Psychology and a researcher at the Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

The goal of semantic study was to determine whether the ability to recall names of famous people decreases with age, since the condition named anomia ranks among the most common complaints from the elderly.

To reach the conclsuion, Dr. Joubert collaborated with first author Roxane Langlois to divide 117 healthy elderly, aged 60 to 91 years old, into three groups who were submitted to two semantic memory tests.

In a first test, subjects were shown the faces of 30 famous people such as Albert Einstein, Céline Dion, Catherine Deneuve, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Wayne Gretzky. They were first asked to name these famous faces, and then questioned on their professions, nationality and specific life events. In a second test a few weeks later, subjects were shown the names of the same 30 celebrities and were questioned again on biographical knowledge.

The result: Our ability to recall the name of someone we know upon seeing their face declines steadily in normal aging. Semantic memory for people however seems unaffected by age. (ANI)

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