When people take an IQ test, they may not realize how simple actions, like clenching a hand, affect their cognitive abilities. However, based on a new study from scientist Ruth Propper and colleagues from Montclair State University, making a fist with the right hand may improve memory.
In this study, which appears in the open access journal "PLOS ONE," the researchers investigated how clenching hands affects individuals' ability to memorize and recollect information. Participants were split into four groups and asked to memorize a list of 72 words. The researchers had each group clench their hands differently to see how it affected their grasp on the words.
For example, one group was asked to clench their right fist for 90 second shortly before memorizing and recollecting the words. A separate group did the same using their left hand.
Based on the researchers' study results, clenching the right hand when memorizing facts and then making a fist with the left hand during the recollection process is most effective.
"The findings suggest that some simple body movements – by temporarily changing the way the brain functions – can improve memory," Propper said.