London, Jan 04 (Agencies): Something as simple as thinking about your ancestors can boost your chances of success in examinations or job interviews.

The so-called "ancestor effect" seems to work by reminding the brain that seemingly impossible hurdles can be overcome.

Psychologists think the effect comes from the fact that those who familiarise themselves with their family history appear to gain a stronger sense of identity and self-esteem, Daily Mail reported quoting the European Journal of Social Psychology.

In intelligence tests on 80 volunteers, scientists found a marked improvement among those who, prior to the tasks, were asked to spend a short while considering what previous generations of their families had endured.

Those who simply had to recall a more mundane memory, such as a recent shopping trip, did not fare as well, according to the report.

The findings suggest remembering the hardships of grandparents, great grandparents and even long forgotten ancestors, seems to have a direct benefit on the brain's ability to cope with demands on its intelligence.

Peter Fischer, from the University of Graz in Austria and a member of the research team, said: "Our ancestors managed to overcome a multitude of problems, such as severe illnesses, wars, loss of loved ones or severe economic declines.

"So when we think about them, we are reminded that humans who are genetically similar to us can successfully overcome a multitude of problems and adversities."