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Article Review of "Is it All in Our minds? Memory and Aging" by Watson (2012)

Updated on March 9, 2022
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Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics.

In this post, the author, Rita Watson evaluates the assumption of the perceived relationship between the solar eclipse and memory loss or forgetfulness. This evaluation is done in the context of San Diego where a number of individuals have related atmospheric conditions including the solar eclipse to memory impairment. This analysis is done from the perspective of individual and expert opinions that the writer interviews to ascertain the truth of this matter. Among the interviews is one physician identified as Miles Toni who argues that there is no relationship between memory loss and aging. Instead, he points out that the human brain can actually improve if it is constantly stimulated. According to this physician, the human brain constitutes of muscle fiber and all muscles improve when used. Therefore, for the brain to maintain its functioning and cognitive ability, it is important to engage it in conditioning and strength through regular cognitive stimulation.

The opinion by Miles Toni is indeed backed by various studies pointing out the relationship between physical activity and brain functioning throughout a person’s age irrespective of age. For instance, a study spearheaded by Minnesota University established that young adults who actively engaged in aerobic physical activities would go on to preserve their memory skills and cognitive abilities, and thinking even in their old age. Another study done by the University of Finland established that middle-aged individuals who were physically active could not easily get diseases such as dementia in their old age. This study further went on to note that individuals participating in physical activities at least two times in a week were less vulnerable to dementia and other cognitive ailments when compared to those who were less active. What these findings try to emphasize is the point that exercises as being quite important in maintaining cognitive functioning during old age. This also implies that cognitive malfunctioning are largely associated with lack of involvement in physical activities and not other external factors such as the climate, weather, seasons or circumstances.

In her article, Watson Rita also points out the essentiality of music and songs in improving individual memory. Accordingly, the writer explains that songs and lyric sheets tailored to an individual or the communities are important in maintaining and improving cognitive functioning. He stresses that those who were encouraged to sing had higher chances of improving and maintaining their memory in their middle and old age.

In essence, the argument that listening or engaging in music as being critical in improving memory is also backed by numerous scientific studies. Among these is the study by Ewa et al (2014), which analyzed a large number of qualitative studies in relation to the advantages of musical training and singing in cognitive development and improvement. The authors go on to establish that children involving themselves in musical training do not have much problem in second language acquisition, have enhanced verbal memory, are able to execute functions in a better way and more enhanced reading ability. When a child learns to play a particular instrument, there is a tendency for such a child to develop a better IQ and continue showcasing good academic performance even through adulthood. Rhythmic entrainment is an effective mechanism that can support execution functions, memory improvements and even learning. Therefore, we can rightly say that Watson’s observations concerning the role of music in cognitive improvement is well placed.


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