Yesterday, my Aunt Coralie and I took a tour of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona. The tour was titled Mysteries of the Brain, it should have been called the Mystery of Memory, but no matter, it was still fascinating. Their goal is to better understand the processes by which the brain records memories and how that changes with age. The premise is that once researchers understand the whys and hows of normal memory and aging they can develop methods to fend off, treat, or possibly cure dementing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Our 40 person group was split into 4 smaller units and we rotated through labs, receiving an overview of the research. Our first stop was a room full of desktop computers. We were each directed to a computer and asked to try a memory game. It was a sample of MindCrowd, an online memory test research project. For this project, the researchers are shooting for a million participants (an astronomical number, considered impossible pre-internet). The hope is that such a large sample size will help researchers identify trends and factors that aren’t apparent in smaller projects.
I did fairly well on the demo test and was excited to try the real thing. The process took about 10 minutes and it was kinda fun (but then again, I’m a nerd that way). Give it a try – c’mon be one of a million!