A recent study suggests that merely glancing from left to right (the traditional “shifty look” of spies and sneaks) can boost memory power and help people differentiate between real and imagined memories. Moving the eyes up and down had no such effect. The trick may work because the specific left/right eye movement engages both the left and right hemispheres of the brain at the same time. As little as 30 seconds of the activity could be enough to help you remember where you left your wallet, or the number sequence needed to deactivate that bomb.
Dr Andrew Parker, of Manchester Metropolitan University, explains “Often, we may be confused over whether a memory is for something real or something we only imagined or thought about.
"For example ‘Did I really lock the door or did I only imagine locking the door?’ Bilateral eye movements may help us to determine accurately the source of our memory.
“This could be important in situations where we feel uncertain, unclear or maybe even just confused about what we may have done or said.
“Our work shows that true memory can be improved and false memory reduced. One reason for this is that bilateral eye movements may improve our ability to monitor the source of our memories.”
“Some research indicates that certain types of memory – for example what one did yesterday, or memory for a word in an experiment – are dependent upon interactions between the cerebral hemispheres.”
This research was published in the science journal Brain and Cognition, and is further evidence that eyes and memory are likely somehow connected.