Scientists have always assumed that humans have better memories than our close cousins the chimpanzees, but in a recent contest, the chimps won! Now they’ve won again?in a contest with a British memory champion who is able to memorize the order of a shuffled pack of cards in less than 30 seconds. Want to remember something YOU’VE just studied? Go home and take a nice long nap?it will give you the memory of a monkey!

In the January 26th edition of the Daily Mail, Fiona Macrae reports that Ayumu, a seven-year-old male chimpanzee, did three times as well at a computer game that involved remembering number positions as accountant Ben Pridmore. The contest was broadcast on British TV. Macrae quotes Pridmore as saying, “I’d rather not be seen on TV doing worse than a chimpanzee in a memory-test. I’ll never live it down!”

A recent study shows that a ninety minute daytime nap helps speed up the process of long term memory consolidation. Researcher Avi Karni says, “We still don’t know the exact mechanism of the memory process that occurs during sleep, but the results of this research suggest the possibility that it is possible to speed up memory consolidation, and in the future, we may be able to do it artificially.”

Until then, if you?re planning on taking up a musical instrument or studying a foreign language in 2008, plan your lessons for a time when you can come home afterwards and take a nap.

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