Study Shows, Having a Sense of Purpose in Life Helps Improve Memory

“A sense of purpose is whatever you believe in. It is your driving force, your motivation, and your guiding light to work towards a life that you think will satisfy you,” an article described this January. Turns out, besides being a source of motivation for the present and future, a sense of purpose also helps people preserve their past in the form of richer, stronger memories, according to a new study.

And, well, memories can be extremely useful. “Personal memories serve really important functions in everyday life…They help us to set goals, control emotions, and build intimacy with others,” Angelina Sutin, lead author of the study, and a professor at the Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine, said in a statement.

Published in the journal Memory, the new study had 800 participants who reported on their sense of purpose and completed tasks designed to analyze their cognitive processing speed. About six months later, the researchers assessed the participants on their ability to retrieve and describe personal memories.

The results suggest that individuals, who were judged to have a greater sense of purpose, also had access to more vivid and coherent personal memories than their counterparts found to have a relatively poorer sense of purpose. In addition, the former set of participants were also able to describe more sensory details about their memories.

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SOURCE: The Swaddle, by Devrupa Rakshit