Gary Vey for viewzone
So often we take our hands for granted. Consider how many portraits and photographs focus on out head while a majority of what we do and who we are — our work and expression — is the result of our contact with the outside world through our hands. More than any other part of our body, our hands are anatomical structures that create and maintain civilization. Before there was spoken language, there were gestures and hand signs.
What do we really know about our hands?
Ruth Propper and colleagues from Montclair State University have just published a paper in the journal, PLOS ONE (April 2013), which demonstrates the previously unknown use of hands in improving memory.
Participants in the research study were split into groups and asked to first memorize, and later recall words from a list of 72 random words. It’s a daunting task under normal circumstances, unless you are a trained memory expert, which the participants were not.
In the experiment there were 4 groups who clenched their hands; One group clenched their right fist for about 90 seconds immediately prior to memorizing the list and then did the same immediately prior to recollecting the words. Another group clenched their left hand prior to both memorizing and recollecting. Two other groups clenched one hand prior to memorizing (either the left or right hand) and the opposite hand prior to recollecting. A control group did not clench their fists at any point.