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1 How to Improve Your Memory Train your brain: 25 top tips to turbo-charge your memory Memory Help 10 imple

Habits !roven to Ma"e You Happier !ost image #or 10 imple Habits !roven to Ma"e You Happier $You are goo% enough&' el#-acceptance is a "ey happy habit( yet it)s one people practise the least*

+ new survey o# 5(000 people has #oun% a strong lin" between sel#-acceptance an% happiness( %espite the #act that it)s a habit not #re,uently practise%* The #in%ing comes #rom a survey carrie% out by the charity +ction #or Happiness( in collaboration with -o omething -i##erent* .or their survey( they i%enti#ie% ten every%ay habits which science has shown can ma"e people happier* Here are the 10 habits( with the average ratings o# survey participants on a scale o# 1-10( as to how o#ten they per#orme% each habit: /iving: %o things #or others 0 1*21 3elating: connect with people 0 1*45 67ercising: ta"e care o# your bo%y 0 5*88 +ppreciating: notice the worl% aroun% 0 5*51 Trying out: "eep learning new things 0 5*25 -irection: have goals to loo" #orwar% to 0 5*08 3esilience: #in% ways to bounce bac" 0 5*44 6motion: ta"e a positive approach 0 5*12 +cceptance: be com#ortable with who you are 0 5*55 Meaning: be part o# something bigger 0 5*48 9You)ll notice that the #irst letters spell out the wor%s /36+T -36+M*: The survey showe% that one o# the largest associations between these happy habits an% reporte% happiness was #or sel#-acceptance*

This category( though( got the lowest rating #or people actually per#orming the habit( with an average o# only 5*55* Top o# the list o# happy habits that people per#orme% was ;giving)* In this category( one in si7 reporte% a 10 out o# 10< =ust over one-thir% score% an 8 or >< slightly #ewer score% 5 or 1< an% less than one in si7 915?: rate% themselves at 5 or less* @ne o# the psychologists involve%( !ro#essor Aaren !ine sai%:

2 $!ractising these habits really can boost our happiness* It)s great to see so many people regularly %oing things to help others 0 an% when we ma"e others happy we ten% to #eel goo% ourselves too*

This survey shows that practising sel#-acceptance is one thing that coul% ma"e the biggest %i##erence to many people)s happiness* 67ercise is also "nown to li#t moo% so i# people want a simple( %aily way to #ee happier they shoul% get into the habit o# being more physically active too*' Increase your sel#-acceptance Here are three ways to boost your sel#-acceptance( as suggeste% by the researchers: $1* Be as "in% to yoursel# as you are to others* ee your mista"es as opportunities to learn* Cotice things you %o well( however small* 2* +s" a truste% #rien% or colleague to tell you what your strengths are or what they value about you* 4* pen% some ,uiet time by yoursel#* Tune in to how you)re #eeling insi%e an% try to be at peace with who you are*' Tips an% 67ercises to harpen Your Min% an% Boost Brainpower .aceboo" Icon Twitter Icon !interest Icon Memory D +ging: Improving Your Memory + strong memory %epen%s on the health an% vitality o# your brain* Ehether youFre a stu%ent stu%ying #or #inal e7ams( a wor"ing pro#essional intereste% in %oing all you can to stay mentally sharp( or a senior loo"ing to preserve an% enhance your grey matter as you age( there are lots o# things you can %o to improve your memory an% mental per#ormance* IC THI +3TIGH6: -onFt s"imp on e7ercise or sleep Ma"e time #or #rien%s an% #un Aeep stress in chec" 6at a brain-boosting %iet /ive your brain a wor"out Mnemonic %evices an% memoriIation 6nhancing your ability to learn !rint this& Cormal Te7t iIeHarger Te7t iIeHargest Te7t iIe Harnessing the power o# your brain They say that you can)t teach an ol% %og new tric"s( but when it comes to the brain( scientists have %iscovere% that this ol% a%age simply isn)t true* The human brain has an astonishing ability to a%apt an% change0even into ol% age* This ability is "nown as neuroplasticity* Eith the right stimulation( your brain can #orm new neural pathways( alter e7isting connections( an% a%apt an% react in ever-changing ways* The brain)s incre%ible ability to reshape itsel# hol%s true when it comes to learning an% memory* You can harness the natural power o# neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities( enhance your ability to learn new in#ormation( an% improve your memory*

Improving memory tip 1: Don't skimp on exercise or sleep Just as an athlete relies on sleep an% a nutrition-pac"e% %iet to per#orm his or her best( your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a goo% %iet an% other healthy habits* Ehen you e7ercise the bo%y( you e7ercise the brain Treating your bo%y well can enhance your ability to process an% recall in#ormation* !hysical e7ercise increases o7ygen to your brain an% re%uces the ris" #or %isor%ers that lea% to memory loss( such as %iabetes an% car%iovascular %isease* 67ercise may also enhance the e##ects o# help#ul brain chemicals an% protect brain cells* Improve your memory by sleeping on it Ehen you)re sleep %eprive%( your brain can)t operate at #ull capacity* Greativity( problem-solving abilities( an% critical thin"ing s"ills are compromise%* Ehether you)re stu%ying( wor"ing( or trying to =uggle li#e)s many %eman%s( sleep %eprivation is a recipe #or %isaster* But sleep is critical to learning an% memory in an even more #un%amental way* 3esearch shows that sleep is necessary #or memory consoli%ation( with the "ey memory-enhancing activity occurring %uring the %eepest stages o# sleep* Improving memory tip 2: Ma"e time #or #rien%s an% #un Ehen you thin" o# ways to improve memory( %o you thin" o# $serious' activities such as wrestling with the Cew Yor" Times crosswor% puIIle or mastering chess strategy( or %o more lighthearte% pastimes0hanging out with #rien%s or en=oying a #unny movie0come to min%K I# you)re li"e most o# us( it)s probably the #ormer* But countless stu%ies show that a li#e that)s #ull o# #rien%s an% #un comes with cognitive bene#its* Healthy relationships: the ultimate memory boosterK Humans are highly social animals* Ee)re not meant to survive( let alone thrive( in isolation* 3elationships stimulate our brains0in #act( interacting with others may be the best "in% o# brain e7ercise* 3esearch shows that having meaning#ul relationships an% a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health( but also to brain health* In one recent stu%y #rom the Harvar% chool o# !ublic Health( #or e7ample( researchers #oun% that people with the most active social lives ha% the slowest rate o# memory %ecline* There are many ways to start ta"ing a%vantage o# the brain an% memory-boosting bene#its o# socialiIing* Lolunteer( =oin a club( ma"e it a point to see #rien%s more o#ten( or reach out over the phone* +n% i# a human isn)t han%y( %on)t overloo" the value o# a pet0especially the highlysocial %og* Haughter is goo% #or your brain You)ve hear% that laughter is the best me%icine( an% that hol%s true #or the brain as well as the bo%y* Mnli"e emotional responses( which are limite% to speci#ic areas o# the brain( laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain* .urthermore( listening to =o"es an% wor"ing out punch lines activates areas o# the brain vital to learning an% creativity* +s psychologist -aniel /oleman notes in his boo" 6motional Intelligence( $laughterNseems to help people thin" more broa%ly an% associate more #reely*'

Hoo"ing #or ways to bring more laughter in your li#eK tart with these basics: Haugh at yoursel#* hare your embarrassing moments* The best way to ta"e ourselves less seriously is to tal" about the times when we too" ourselves too seriously* Ehen you hear laughter( move towar% it* Most o# the time( people are very happy to share something #unny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again an% #ee% o## the humor you #in% in it* Ehen you hear laughter( see" it out an% as"( $Ehat)s #unnyK' pen% time with #un( play#ul people* These are people who laugh easily0both at themselves an% at li#e)s absur%ities0an% who routinely #in% the humor in every%ay events* Their play#ul point o# view an% laughter are contagious* urroun% yoursel# with remin%ers to lighten up* Aeep a toy on your %es" or in your car* !ut up a #unny poster in your o##ice* Ghoose a computer screensaver that ma"es you laugh* .rame photos o# you an% your #amily or #rien%s having #un* !ay attention to chil%ren an% emulate them* They are the e7perts on playing( ta"ing li#e lightly( an% laughing* Improving memory tip 4: Aeep stress in chec" tress is one o# the brain)s worst enemies* @ver time( i# le#t unchec"e%( chronic stress %estroys brain cells an% %amages the hippocampus( the region o# the brain involve% in the #ormation o# new memories an% the retrieval o# ol% ones* The stress-busting( brain-boosting bene#its o# me%itation The scienti#ic evi%ence #or the mental health bene#its o# me%itation continues to pile up* tu%ies show that me%itation helps improve many %i##erent types o# con%itions( inclu%ing %epression( an7iety( chronic pain( %iabetes( an% high bloo% pressure* Me%itation also can improve #ocus( concentration( creativity( an% learning an% reasoning s"ills* Me%itation wor"s its $magic' by changing the actual brain* Brain images show that regular me%itators have more activity in the le#t pre#rontal corte7( an area o# the brain associate% with #eelings o# =oy an% e,uanimity* Me%itation also increases the thic"ness o# the cerebral corte7 an% encourages more connections between brain cells0all o# which increases mental sharpness an% memory ability* -epression an% an7iety can also a##ect memory In a%%ition to stress( %epression( an7iety( an% chronic worrying can also ta"e a heavy toll on the brain* In #act( some o# the symptoms o# %epression an% an7iety inclu%e %i##iculty concentrating( ma"ing %ecisions( an% remembering things* I# you are mentally sluggish because o# %epression or an7iety( %ealing with the problem will ma"e a big %i##erence in your cognitive abilities( inclu%ing memory* Improving memory tip 2: 6at a brain-boosting %iet Just as the bo%y nee%s #uel( so %oes the brain* You probably alrea%y "now that a %iet base% on #ruits( vegetables( whole grains( $healthy' #ats 9such as olive oil( nuts( #ish: an% lean protein will provi%e lots o# health bene#its( but such a %iet can also improve memory* But #or brain health( it)s not =ust what you eat0it)s also what you %on)t eat* The #ollowing nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower an% re%uce your ris" o# %ementia: /et your omega-4s* More an% more evi%ence in%icates that omega-4 #atty aci%s are particularly bene#icial #or brain health* .ish is a particularly rich source o# omega-4( especially col% water $#atty #ish' such as salmon( tuna( halibut( trout( mac"erel( sar%ines( an% herring* In a%%ition to boosting brainpower( eating #ish may also lower your ris" o# %eveloping +lIheimer)s %isease* I# you)re not a #an o# sea#oo%( consi%er non-#ish sources o# omega-4s such as walnuts( groun%

5 #la7see%( #la7see% oil( winter s,uash( "i%ney an% pinto beans( spinach( broccoli( pump"in see%s( an% soybeans* Himit calories an% saturate% #at* 3esearch shows that %iets high in saturate% #at 9#rom sources such as re% meat( whole mil"( butter( cheese( sour cream( an% ice cream: increase your ris" o# %ementia an% impair concentration an% memory* 6ating too many calories in later li#e can also increase your ris" o# cognitive impairment* Tal" to your %octor or %ietician about %eveloping a healthy eating plan* 6at more #ruit an% vegetables* !ro%uce is pac"e% with antio7i%ants( substances that protect your brain cells #rom %amage* Golor#ul #ruits an% vegetables are particularly goo% antio7i%ant Osuper#oo%O sources* Try lea#y green vegetables such as spinach( broccoli( romaine lettuce( wiss char%( an% arugula( an% #ruit such as bananas( apricots( mangoes( cantaloupe( an% watermelon* -rin" green tea* /reen tea contains polyphenols( power#ul antio7i%ants that protect against #ree ra%icals that can %amage brain cells* +mong many other bene#its( regular consumption o# green tea may enhance memory an% mental alertness an% slow brain aging* -rin" wine 9or grape =uice: in mo%eration* Aeeping your alcohol consumption in chec" is "ey( since alcohol "ills brain cells* But in mo%eration 9aroun% 1 glass a %ay #or women< 2 #or men:( alcohol may actually improve memory an% cognition* 3e% wine appears to be the best option( as it is rich in resveratrol( a #lavonoi% that boosts bloo% #low in the brain an% re%uces the ris" o# +lIheimer)s %isease* @ther resveratrol-pac"e% options inclu%e grape =uice( cranberry =uice( #resh grapes an% berries( an% peanuts* .or mental energy( choose comple7 carbohy%rates Just as a racecar nee%s gas( your brain nee%s #uel to per#orm at its best* Ehen you nee% to be at the top o# your mental game( carbohy%rates can "eep you going* But the type o# carbs you choose ma"es all the %i##erence* Garbohy%rates #uel your brain( but simple carbs 9sugar( white brea%( re#ine% grains: give a ,uic" boost #ollowe% by an e,ually rapi% crash* There is also evi%ence to suggest that %iets high in simple carbs can greatly increase the ris" #or cognitive impairment in ol%er a%ults* .or healthy energy that lasts( choose comple7 carbohy%rates such as whole-wheat brea%( brown rice( oatmeal( high-#iber cereal( lentils( an% whole beans* +voi% processe% #oo%s an% limit starches 9potato( pasta( rice: to no more than one ,uarter o# your plate* Improving memory tip 5: /ive your brain a wor"out By the time you)ve reache% a%ulthoo%( your brain has %evelope% millions o# neural pathways that help you process in#ormation ,uic"ly( solve #amiliar problems( an% e7ecute #amiliar tas"s with a minimum o# mental e##ort* But i# you always stic" to these well-worn paths( you aren)t giving your brain the stimulation it nee%s to "eep growing an% %eveloping* You have to sha"e things up #rom time to time& Try ta"ing a new route home #rom wor" or the grocery store( visiting new places at the wee"en%( or rea%ing %i##erent "in%s o# boo"s Memory( li"e muscular strength( re,uires you to $use it or lose it*' The more you wor" out your brain( the better you)ll be able to process an% remember in#ormation* The best brain e7ercising activities brea" your routine an% challenge you to use an% %evelop new brain pathways* +ctivities that re,uire using your han%s are a great way to e7ercise your brain* !laying a musical instrument( =uggling( en=oying a game o# ping pong 9table tennis:( ma"ing pottery( "nitting( or nee%lewor" are activities that e7ercise the brain by challenging han%-eye coor%ination( spatialtemporal reasoning( an% creativity* The brain e7ercising activity you choose can be virtually anything( so long as it meets the #ollowing three criteria:

5 It)s new* Co matter how intellectually %eman%ing the activity( i# it)s something you)re alrea%y goo% at( it)s not a goo% brain e7ercise* The activity nee%s to be something that)s un#amiliar an% out o# your com#ort Ione* It)s challenging* +nything that ta"es some mental e##ort an% e7pan%s your "nowle%ge will wor"* 67amples inclu%e learning a new language( instrument( or sport( or tac"ling a challenging crosswor% or u%o"u puIIle* It)s #un* !hysical an% emotional en=oyment is important in the brain)s learning process* The more intereste% an% engage% you are in the activity( the more li"ely you)ll be to continue %oing it an% the greater the bene#its you)ll e7perience* The activity shoul% be challenging( yes( it shoul% also be something that is #un an% en=oyable to you* Ma"e an activity more pleasurable by appealing to your senses0playing music while you %o it( or rewar%ing yoursel# a#terwar%s with a #avorite treat( #or e7ample* Mse mnemonic %evices to ma"e memoriIation easier Mnemonics 9the initial $m' is silent: are clues o# any "in% that help us remember something( usually by helping us associate the in#ormation we want to remember with a visual image( a sentence( or a wor%* Mnemonic %evice 67ample Lisual image P +ssociate a visual image with a wor% or name to help you remember them better* !ositive( pleasant images that are vivi%( color#ul( an% three-%imensional will be easier to remember* To remember the name 3osa !ar"s an% what she)s "nown #or( picture a woman sitting on a par" bench surroun%e% by roses( waiting as her bus pulls up* +crostic 9or sentence: - Ma"e up a sentence in which the #irst letter o# each wor% is part o# or represents the initial o# what you want to remember* The sentence $6very goo% boy %oes #ine' to memoriIe the lines o# the treble cle#( representing the notes 6( /( B( -( an% .* +cronym P +n acronym is a wor% that is ma%e up by ta"ing the #irst letters o# all the "ey wor%s or i%eas you nee% to remember an% creating a new wor% out o# them* The wor% $H@M6 ' to remember the names o# the /reat Ha"es: Huron( @ntario( Michigan( 6rie( an% uperior* 3hymes an% alliteration - 3hymes( alliteration 9a repeating soun% or syllable:( an% even =o"es are a memorable way to remember more mun%ane #acts an% #igures* The rhyme $Thirty %ays hath eptember( +pril( June( an% Covember' to remember the months o# the year with only 40 %ays in them* Ghun"ing P Ghun"ing brea"s a long list o# numbers or other types o# in#ormation into smaller( more manageable chun"s* 3emembering a 10-%igit phone number by brea"ing it %own into three sets o# numbers: 555851-540> 9as oppose% to555851540>:* Metho% o# loci P Imagine placing the items you want to remember along a route you "now well or in speci#ic locations in a #amiliar room or buil%ing* .or a shopping list( imagine bananas in the entryway to your home( a pu%%le o# mil" in the mi%%le o# the so#a( eggs going up the stairs( an% brea% on your be%* Tips #or enhancing your ability to learn an% remember !ay attention* You can)t remember something i# you never learne% it( an% you can)t learn something0that is( enco%e it into your brain0i# you %on)t pay enough attention to it* It ta"es about eight secon%s o# intense #ocus to process a piece o# in#ormation into your memory* I# you)re easily %istracte%( pic" a ,uiet place where you won)t be interrupte%* Involve as many senses as possible* Try to relate in#ormation to colors( te7tures( smells( an% tastes* The physical act o# rewriting in#ormation can help imprint it onto your brain* 6ven i# you)re

1 a visual learner( rea% out lou% what you want to remember* I# you can recite it rhythmically( even better* 3elate in#ormation to what you alrea%y "now* Gonnect new %ata to in#ormation you alrea%y remember( whether it)s new material that buil%s on previous "nowle%ge( or something as simple as an a%%ress o# someone who lives on a street where you alrea%y "now someone* .or more comple7 material( #ocus on un%erstan%ing basic i%eas rather than memoriIing isolate% %etails* !ractice e7plaining the i%eas to someone else in your own wor%s* 3ehearse in#ormation you)ve alrea%y learne%* 3eview what you)ve learne% the same %ay you learn it( an% at intervals therea#ter* This $space% rehearsal' is more e##ective than cramming( especially #or retaining what you)ve learne%*

Top 10 Memory Improvement Tips Improve Your Memory With These Great Tips
By Aen%ra Gherry +%s: Memory Improvement Improve Your Memory Improving Memory "ills Memory Hoss Test Memory Impairment -o you #in% yoursel# #orgetting where you le#t your "eys or blan"ing out in#ormation on important testsK .ortunately( there are things that you can %o to help improve your memory* Be#ore your ne7t big e7am( be sure to chec" out some o# these trie% an% teste% techni,ues #or improving memory* These strategies have been establishe% within cognitive psychology literature to improve memory( enhance recall an% increase retention o# in#ormation* 1* .ocus your attention on the materials you are stu%ying* Memory improvement tips Image: %%pavumba Q #ree%igitalphotos*net +ttention is one o# the ma=or components o# memory* In or%er #or in#ormation to move #rom short-term memory into long-term memory( you nee% to actively atten% to this in#ormation* Try to stu%y in a place #ree o# %istractions such as television( music an% other %iversions* +%s @nline MB+ -egree !rogram www*umassonline*net 6arn Your MB+ 100? @nline* .rom +n +ccre%ite% M* * Mniversity* Tips #or Beauti#ul "in "ayaclinic*com /et the right beauty tips #or your s"in #rom the 67perts* +pply Cow& unrise Li%yalaya( urat sunrisegroupo#school*orgQ6nglish Best 6nglish Me%ium cience chool In urat* Hurry( +%mission @pen& 2* +voi% cramming by establishing regular stu%y sessions* +ccor%ing to B=or" 92001:( stu%ying materials over a number o# sessionFs gives you the time you nee% to a%e,uately process the in#ormation* 3esearch has shown that stu%ents who stu%y regularly remember the material #ar better than those who %o all o# their stu%ying in one marathon session* 4* tructure an% organiIe the in#ormation you are stu%ying* Eoman placing post-its on a wall Gompassionate 6ye .oun%ationQCoel Hen%ric"sonQ-igital LisionQ/etty Images 3esearchers have #oun% that in#ormation is organiIe% in memory in relate% clusters* You can ta"e a%vantage o# this by structuring an% organiIing the materials you are stu%ying* Try grouping similar concepts an% terms together( or ma"e an outline o# your notes an% te7tboo" rea%ings to help group relate% concepts*

8 2* MtiliIe mnemonic %evices to remember in#ormation* Mnemonic %evices are a techni,ue o#ten use% by stu%ents to ai% in recall* + mnemonic is simply a way to remember in#ormation* .or e7ample( you might associate a term you nee% to remember with a common item that you are very #amiliar with* The best mnemonics are those that utiliIe positive imagery( humor or novelty* You might come up with a rhyme( song or =o"e to help remember a speci#ic segment o# in#ormation* 5* 6laborate an% rehearse the in#ormation you are stu%ying* In or%er to recall in#ormation( you nee% to enco%e what you are stu%ying into long-term memory* @ne o# the most e##ective enco%ing techni,ues is "nown as elaborative rehearsal* +n e7ample o# this techni,ue woul% be to rea% the %e#inition o# a "ey term( stu%y the %e#inition o# that term an% then rea% a more %etaile% %escription o# what that term means* +#ter repeating this process a #ew times( youFll probably notice that recalling the in#ormation is much easier* 5* 3elate new in#ormation to things you alrea%y "now* Ehen you are stu%ying un#amiliar material( ta"e the time to thin" about how this in#ormation relates to things that you alrea%y "now* By establishing relationships between new i%eas an% previously e7isting memories( you can %ramatically increase the li"elihoo% o# recalling the recently learne% in#ormation* 1* LisualiIe concepts to improve memory an% recall* Many people bene#it greatly #rom visualiIing the in#ormation they stu%y* !ay attention to the photographs( charts an% other graphics in your te7tboo"s* I# you %o not have visual cues to help( try creating your own* -raw charts or #igures in the margins o# your notes or use highlighters or pens in %i##erent colors to group relate% i%eas in your written stu%y materials* 8* Teach new concepts to another person* 3esearch suggests that rea%ing materials out lou% signi#icantly improves memory o# the material* 6%ucators an% psychologists have also %iscovere% that having stu%ents actually teach new concepts to others enhances un%erstan%ing an% recall* You can use this approach in your own stu%ies by teaching new concepts an% in#ormation to a #rien% or stu%y partner* Het us help you It is #ree >* !ay e7tra attention to %i##icult in#ormation* Have you ever notice% how itFs sometimes easier to remember in#ormation at the beginning or en% o# a chapterK 3esearchers have #oun% that the or%er o# in#ormation can play a role in recall( which is "nown as the serial position e##ect* Ehile recalling mi%%le in#ormation can be %i##icult( you can overcome this problem by spen%ing e7tra time rehearsing this in#ormation* +nother strategy is to try restructuring what you have learne% so it will be easier to remember* Ehen you come across an especially %i##icult concept( %evote some e7tra time to memoriIing the in#ormation* 10* Lary your stu%y routine* +nother great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your stu%y routine* I# you are accustome% to stu%ying in one speci#ic location( try moving to a %i##erent spot %uring your ne7t stu%y session* I# you stu%y in the evening( try spen%ing a #ew minutes each morning reviewing the in#ormation you stu%ie% the previous night* By a%%ing an element o# novelty to your stu%y sessions( you can increase the e##ectiveness o# your e##orts an% signi#icantly improve your longterm recall*

How to Improve Your Memory


Memory HelpUsing Mnemonic DevicesTrying Other TricksImproving Your Lifestyle
Edited by Ben Rubenstein, Theresa Mulligan, Tom Viren, Mike and 175 other

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There is no such thing as a "bad memory", and everyone can improve their memory, as long as you are not suffering from memory loss as a medical condition. If you want to improve your memory, there are a number of things you can do, from eating blueberries to using a variety of mnemonic devices. If you're optimistic and dedicated, you'll be able to improve your memory, whether you want to win the World Memory Championships, ace your history test, or simply remember where you put your keys.

Memory Help

Memory Tricks

Sample Memory Palace

Sample Roman Room

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Method 1 of 3: Using Mnemonic Devices

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Use association to remember facts. To use association effectively, you can create an image in your mind to help you remember a word or an image. For example, if you have a hard time remembering that JFK was the president involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, just picture the handsome president swimming in an ocean surrounded by happy, oinking pigs. This is absolutely silly, but this concrete image in your mind will forever help you link the president with this event.[1]
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Use association to remember numbers. Let's say you keep forgetting your student ID every time you need to use it again. Just break down the number into smaller chunks and create images associated with those chunks. Let's say the number is 12-7575-23. Find a way to make these numbers meaningful. Let's say "12" happens to be your house number, "75" happens to be your grandmother's age, and the number "23" is Michael Jordan's jersey number. Here's what you can visualize to remember the number:

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Picture your house with two copies of your grandmother standing to the right, showing that the house comes first. Then imagine Michael Jordan standing to the right of your grandmothers. There you have it -- 12 (your house), 7575 (double-dose of Grandma) and 23, the basketball star.

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Use chunking. Chunking is a way of grouping things together to help you memorize them. Random lists of things (a shopping list, for example) can be especially difficult to remember. To make it easier, try categorizing the individual things from the list. For example, list all of the fruits together, the dairy products together, and the bread products together. This will not only help you memorize the list, but it'll make your shopping experience much faster.[2]

If you can remember that, among other things, you wanted to buy four different kinds of vegetables, youll find it easier to remember all four. Chunking is what we do when we list a phone number with dashes. Which looks easier to memorize, 8564359820, or 856-435-9820? You probably won't remember 17761812184818651898, but try putting a space after every fourth number. Now you can see that those numbers are years, and you can pick key events from each year to help you remember the string of numbers (such as the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Civil War, and Spanish-American War).

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3.

4
Use rhymes. Using a variety of common and silly rhymes can help you recall basic information. For example, if you're trying to figure out if April has 30 or 31 days, just say the old rhyme aloud: "Thirty days has September, April, June, and November." Then you'll remember that April does indeed have 30 days. Here are some other rhymes to use as memory tools:[3]

"In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." A child can learn the alphabet by singing it to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," which makes the letters rhyme.

4.

5
Use acronyms. Acronyms are another wonderful tool for remembering a variety of things, from the names of the five Great Lakes to the words used as conjunctions. You can use a popular acronym, or create one for yourself. For example, if you're going to the store and know you only need Butter, Lettuce, Bread, and Unagi, then just create a word out of the first letter of each term: "BULB" -- Butter, Unagi, Lettuce, and Bread. Here are some popular acronyms to use:[4]

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HOMES. This one is used for remembering the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. ROY G. BIV. This man's name can help you remember the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. FOIL. This will help you remember how to multiply two binomial terms: First, Outer, Inner, Last. FANBOYS. This acronym can help you remember simple coordinating conjunctions: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.

5.

6
Use acrostics. Acrostics are similar to acronyms, except instead of just remembering the acronym, you can remember a new sentence made out of the first letters of a set of words that you have to memorize in a certain order. For example, you can say, "My very educated mother just sent us nine pizzas" to learn the order of the planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. You can also make up acrostics of your own. Here are a few more popular acrostics:[5]

Every Good Boy Does Fine. This is used for memorizing the lines on the treble music staff: EGBDF. Never Eat Sour Watermelons. This is used for remembering the points of a compass in clockwise order: North, East, South, and West. Another good example is Never Eat Shredded Wheat which also rhymes too. King Philip Can Only Find His Green Slippers. Use this to memorize the order of the classification system: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. Use this to remember the order of operations in mathematics: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.

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6.

7
Use the method of Loci. This method has been used since the time of Ancient Greece. To use this method, simply imagine placing the items you want to remember along a route you're very familiar with, or in specific locations in a familiar room or building. First, pick a familiar path; then, picture the things you want to do or memorize along that path.[6]

If you needed to memorize the acronyms HOMES, FANBOYS, and FOIL, you can picture a miniature home, on your front porch, a loud group of fan boys cheering on your stairs, and some foil wrapped around your bed.

Method 2 of 3: Trying Other Tricks

1.

1
Remember a person's name. Use a popular trick out of FDR's playbook for memorizing a person's name. When a person introduces themselves to you, picture them with their name written on their forehead. This will associate the image of that person with their name.

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2.

2
Move your eyes from side to side. Studies show that moving your eyes from side to side for just 30 seconds once a day will align the two parts of your brain and make your memory work more smoothly. Try this trick when you wake up in the morning.[7]

3.

3
Smell rosemary. Studies show that smelling rosemary can improve your recall. Carry around a spring of rosemary or smell rosemary oil once a day. The Ancient Greeks even put a spring of rosemary behind their ears on exam days to help them boost their memories.[8]

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4.

4
Use your environment. Change the normal location of things to remember to do something. If you need to remember to take your multivitamins every morning, then put the toaster on its side, and only put it back in its normal place after you've taken your vitamins. Seeing the toaster out of place will remind you that something is off and that there's something you need to remember.
[9]

If you need to remember something important, such as a person's birthday, just wear your wristwatch on your other wrist. You'll remember that there was something important you had to do when you see that the watch is out of position.

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2.

5
Exercise your brain. Regularly "exercising" the brain keeps it growing and spurs the development of new nerve connections that can help improve memory. By developing new mental skills -- especially complex ones such as learning a new language or learning to play a new musical instrument -- and challenging your brain with puzzles and games, you can keep your brain active and improve its physiological functioning.

Try some fun puzzle exercises everyday such as crosswords, Sudoku, and other games which are easy enough for anyone. Get out of your comfort zone and pick something that is new and challenging, which makes you flex your brain muscles. Try to play chess or a fast-paced board game.

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3.

6
Stop thinking that you have a "bad memory." Convince yourself that you do have a good memory that will improve. Too many people get stuck here and convince themselves their memory is bad, that they are just not good with names, that numbers just slip out of their minds for some reason. Erase those thoughts and vow to improve your memory. Celebrate even little achievements to keep yourself motivated.

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4.

7
Say things you want to remember aloud. If you have trouble remembering whether you took your medication every morning, just say, "I just took my medication!" right after you took it, to reinforce this idea in your mind. Saying this aloud will help you remember that you did indeed take your medication.

This also works if you're meeting a new person and don't want to forget his name. Just repeat the name naturally after you learn it: "Hi, Sarah, it's nice to meet you." This also works to remember an address or a meeting time. Just repeat it aloud to the person who invited you: "The Grand Tavern at 7? That sounds perfect."

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5.

8
Deepen your breathing when you have to remember something. When it's time to study or remember something new, switch your breathing pattern to be slower and deeper. Deeper and slower breathing actually changes the way your brain works, by inducing the brain's electrical pulses to switch to Theta waves, which normally occur in your brain in hypnogogic sleep.

To activate your Theta waves, switch your breathing to your lower abdomen - in other words, start breathing deeply from your stomach. Consciously slow your rate of breathing too. After a few moments, you should feel calmer, the Theta waves should be flowing in your brain, and you should be more receptive to remembering new information.

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6.

9
Use flash cards. Flash cards are especially useful for studying. It's essentially a card with a question on one side and the answer on the other. (You can also put two things you want to associate on opposite sides of a flashcard.) In the course of learning a topic, you would have a stack of cards and would go through them testing yourself. Those that you got right you would put to one side and review a few days later.

Place the terms you remembered in one pile, and the ones you need to know in another. Keep going until all of the cards are in the "know" pile, even if you need to take breaks. Go back to your flash cards the next day and see if you've still memorized the terms on them.

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7.

10
Don't cram for an exam. Cramming only works to put information in your short-term memory. You may remember the information for your exam the next day, but you will barely recall the unit when it's time to take the final. Spacing out your studying is important because it gives your brain time to encode the information and store it in your long-term memory.

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Method 3 of 3: Improving Your Lifestyle


1.

1
Organize your life. Keep items that you frequently need, such as keys and eyeglasses, in the same place every time. Use an electronic organizer or daily planner to keep track of appointments, due dates for bills, and other tasks. Keep phone numbers and addresses in an address book or enter them into your computer or cell phone. Improved organization can help free up your powers of concentration so that you can remember less routine things.

Even if being organized doesnt improve your memory, youll receive a lot of the same benefits (i.e. you wont have to search for your keys anymore).

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2.

2
Exercise daily. Regular aerobic exercise improves circulation and efficiency throughout the body -- including the brain -- and can help ward off the memory loss that comes with aging. Exercise also makes you more alert and relaxed, and can thereby improve your memory uptake, allowing you to take better mental "pictures".

Even just walking for 30 minutes a day is a fantastic form of exercise.

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3.

3
Reduce stress. Chronic stress does in fact physically damage the brain, it can make remembering much more difficult. After prolonged stress, the brain will start to become affected and deteriorate. Stress may never be completely eliminated from one's life, but it definitely can be controlled. Even temporary stresses can make it more difficult to effectively focus on concepts and observe things.

Try to relax, regularly practice yoga or other stretching exercises, and see a doctor if you have severe chronic stress as soon as possible. Meditate for at least 15 minutes a day. This will help you slow down your breathing and relax. Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine can make you feel more anxious and stressed.

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Give yourself a massage or get one from a friend. This will help your body loosen up. Reduce stress by spending more time being social with your friends. Being a more social creature and talking to people more will also improve your memory. Take the time to laugh. Laughing will not only make you less stressed, but it will make your mind more receptive to forming new memories.

4.

4
Eat well and eat right. There are a lot of herbal supplements on the market that claim to improve memory, but none have yet been shown to be effective in clinical tests. A healthy diet, however, contributes to a healthy brain, and foods containing antioxidants -- broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries, for example -- and Omega-3 fatty acids appear to promote healthy brain functioning.[10]

Feed your brain with such supplements as Thiamine, Niacin and Vitamin B-6.

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Grazing, or eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, also seems to improve mental functioning (including memory) by limiting dips in blood sugar, which may negatively affect the brain. Make sure it's healthy stuff. Some studies show that drinking at least 8 ounces of purple grape juice a day can improve your memory.

5.

5
Take better pictures. Often we forget things not because our memory is bad, but rather because our observational skills need work. One common situation where this occurs (and which almost everyone can relate to) is meeting new people. Often we dont really learn peoples names at first because we arent really concentrating on remembering them. Youll find that if you make a conscious effort to remember such things, youll do much better.

One way to train yourself to be more observant is to look at an unfamiliar photograph for a few seconds and then turn the photograph over and describe or write down as

28 many details as you can about the photograph. Try closing your eyes and picturing the photo in your mind. Use a new photograph each time you try this exercise, and with regular practice you will find youre able to remember more details with even shorter glimpses of the photos.
6.

6
Give yourself time to form a memory. Memories are very fragile in the short-term, and distractions can make you quickly forget something as simple as a phone number. The key to avoid losing memories before you can even form them is to be able to focus on the thing to be remembered for a while without thinking about other things, so when youre trying to remember something, avoid distractions and complicated tasks for a few minutes.

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7.

7
Sleep well. The amount of sleep we get affects the brain's ability to recall recently learned information. Getting a good night's sleep -- a minimum of seven hours a night -- may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory, according to recent studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School.

Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every night. This will make you feel much more rested. Spend at least half an hour reading in bed and winding down before you go to bed. Shut off the TV, your computer, and any other visual stimulants at least an hour before bed. Take catnaps during the day. They can help you recharge your batteries and boost your memory.

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10 urprising an! "Mostly# $asy Ways to Improve Your Memory


!ost image #or 10 urprising an% 9Mostly: 6asy Eays to Improve Your Memory Improve your memory by clenching your right #ist( chewing gum( wal"ing( ignoring stereotypes( sni##ing rosemary an% moreN Many o# the metho%s #or improving memoryPli"e e7ercise( chun"ing( buil%ing associations or brain trainingPinvolve a #air amount o# mental e##ort*

o here are ten 9mostly: very easy ways to improve your memory that are supporte% by research* Eith two or three e7ceptions( most people can %o these with very little e##ort or e7pense* 1* Glench your right #ist I# you s,ueeIe your right han% into a #ist %uring learning( it can ai% memory* Hater on( to ai% recall( s,ueeIe your le#t han% into a #ist* In stu%y by !ropper et al* 92014:( participants who s,ueeIe% their right #ist %uring learning an% their le#t %uring recall( %i% better than control groups clenching the other #ist or not clenching at all* 2* Ghew gum Ghewing gum can help you stay #ocuse% on a tas" an% so improve your memory*

+ stu%y by Morgan et al* 92014: teste% the au%io memory o# those chewing gum( compare% with those who %i%n)t* The gum chewers ha% improve% short-term memory compare% with non-chewers* 4* /o to sleep @ne o# the many bene#its o# sleep is that it ma"es memory stronger* That)s because the brain is surprisingly busy %uring sleep an% one o# the things it)s %oing is wor"ing on our memories* Cot only %oes sleep ma"e our memories stronger( it also restructures an% reorganises them*

41 tu%ies have shown( #or e7ample( that people are more li"ely to %ream about things with a higher value to them( an% are subse,uently more li"ely to recall those things 9@u%iette et al*( 2014:* +n%( i# what)s important to you is learning to play the piano( you coul% even try listening to the piece while you nap( as one stu%y has shown this helps cement the memory 9+nthony et al*( 2012:* More on how the min% learns %uring sleep* 2* /o #or a wal" Many people su##er memory problems with a%vancing years* But( wal"ing =ust si7 miles a wee" helps to preserve memory in ol% age* @ne stu%y has #oun% that ol%er people who wal"e% si7 to nine miles per wee" ha% greater gray matter volume nine years later than those who were more se%entary 96ric"son et al*( 2010:* 5* top smo"ing +lthough the physical bene#its o# ,uitting smo"ing are well-"nown( it)s less well-"nown that it will also bene#it memory* That)s because smo"ing %amages the memory( an% ,uitting can almost restore it to normal #unction 9He##erman et al*( 2011:* That)s one more reason to ,uit 9or to be happy that you %on)t smo"e:* 5* Ignore stereotypes I# you thin" your memory will get much worse with age( then it probably will* It)s a sel#-#ul#illing prophecy* @l%er people who are remin%e% o# stereotypes about age an% memory per#orm worse in tests 9Hess et al*( 2004:* o( su##er #ewer memory problems with age by paying no hee% to the stereotypes* 1* 3ea% .aceboo" posts @ne stu%y has #oun% that people)s memories are much stronger #or posts on .aceboo" than #or sentences #rom boo"s( or even people)s #aces* Mic"es et al* 92014: #oun% that .aceboo" posts were probably easier to remember because they were ;min%-rea%y): they were alrea%y in an easily %igestible #ormat an% written in spontaneous natural speech* .aceboo" is also #ull o# =uicy gossip( which probably %oesn)t hurt& 8* ni## rosemary

42

The smell o# the essential oil( rosemary( has been shown to improve long-term memory( mental arithmetic an% prospective memoryPremembering to %o things at certain times* In one stu%y( participants who sat in a room in#use% with the scent o# rosemary per#orme% better on a memory tas" than a control group 9McGrea%y D Moss( 2014:* >* Hose weight Hi"e smo"ing( putting on weight is associate% with memory problemsPbut these are also reversible* Hose some o# the weight an% memory #unction is li"ely to return* !etterson et al* 92014: #oun% that ol%er( overweight( women whose weight %roppe% #rom an average o# 85"g 9188 poun%s: to 11"g 9111 poun%s:( over si7 months( saw improve% memory #unction* 10* Turn o## the computer an% sit ,uietly Cow that you)ve rea% this article( it)s time to turn o## the computer( tablet or phone an% sit ,uietly* That)s because when we are i%le( the brain is actually still per#orming important memory #unctions* !ro#essor 6ri" .ransRn e7plains: $The brain is ma%e to go into a less active state( which we might thin" is waste#ul< but SisT probably SwhenT memory consoli%ation S***T ta"es place S***T* $Ehen we ma7 out our active states with technology S***T we remove #rom the brain part o# the processing( an% it can)t wor"*'

%n! seven more& ' imple Ways to Improve Your Memory Without %ny Training
!ost image #or 1 imple Eays to Improve Your Memory Eithout +ny Training Boost your memory easily by writing about your problems( loo"ing at a natural scene( pre%icting your per#ormance an% moreN You)ll have hear% about the usual metho%s #or improving memory( li"e using imagery( chun"ing an% buil%ing associations with other memories* I# not /oogle it an% you)ll #in% millions o# websites with the same in#ormation*

The problem with most o# these metho%s is they involve a #air amount o# mental e##ort*

44 o here are seven easy ways to boost your memory that are bac"e% up by psychological research* Cone re,uire you to train har%( spen% any money or ta"e illegal %rugs* +ll #ree( all pretty easy( all natural& 1* Erite about your problems To %o comple7 tas"s we rely on our ;wor"ing memory)* This is our ability to shuttle in#ormation in an% out o# consciousness an% manipulate it* + more e##icient wor"ing memory contributes to better learning( planning( reasoning an% more* @ne way to increase wor"ing memory capacity in%irectly is through e7pressive writing* You sit %own #or 20 minutes a #ew times a month an% write about something traumatic that has happene% to you* Yogo an% .u=ihara 92008: #oun% that it improve% wor"ing memory a#ter 5 wee"s* !sychologists aren)t e7actly sure why this wor"s( but it %oes have a measurable e##ect* 2* Hoo" at a natural scene Cature has a magical e##ect on us* It)s something we)ve always "nown( but psychologists are only =ust getting aroun% to measuring it*

@ne o# nature)s bene#icial e##ects is improving memory* In one stu%y people who wal"e% aroun% an arboretum %i% 20? better on a memory test than those who went #or a wal" aroun% busy streets* In #act you %on)t even nee% to leave the house* +lthough the e##ects aren)t as power#ul( you can =ust loo" at pictures o# nature an% that also has a bene#icial e##ect 9I %escribe this stu%y in %etail here:* 4* ay wor%s alou% This is surely the easiest o# all metho%s #or improving memory: i# you want to remember something in particular #rom a loa% o# other things( =ust say it out lou%* + stu%y 9%escribe% here: #oun% memory improvements o# 10? #or wor%s sai% out lou%( or even =ust mouthe%: a relatively small gain( but at a tiny cost* 2* Me%itate 9a bit: Me%itation has been consistently #oun% to improve cognitive #unctioning( inclu%ing memory* But me%itation ta"es time %oesn)t itK Hong( har% hours o# practiceK Eell( maybe not* In one recent stu%y( participants who me%itate% #or 2 sessions o# only 20 minutes( once a %ay( saw boosts to their wor"ing memory an% other cognitive #unctions 9the stu%y is %escribe% here( also see my beginner)s gui%e to me%itation:*

5* !re%ict your per#ormance

42

imply as"ing ourselves whether or not we)ll remember something has a bene#icial e##ect on memory* This wor"s #or both recalling things that have happene% in the past an% trying to remember to %o things in the #uture* Ehen Meier et al* 92011: teste% people)s prospective memory 9remembering to %o something in the #uture:( they #oun% that trying to pre%ict per#ormance was bene#icial* @n some tas"s people)s per#ormance increase% by almost 50?* 5* Mse your bo%y to enco%e memories Ee %on)t =ust thin" with our min%s( we also use our bo%ies* .or e7ample( research has shown that we un%erstan% language better i# it)s accompanie% by gestures* Ee can also use gestures to enco%e memories* 3esearchers trying to teach Japanese verbs to 6nglish spea"ers #oun% that gesturing while learning helpe% enco%e the memory 9Aelly et al*( 200>:* !articipants who use% han% gestures which suggeste% the wor% were able to recall almost twice as many Japanese wor%s a wee" later* 1* Mse your bo%y to remember ince our bo%ies are important in enco%ing a memory( they can also help in retrieving it* !sychologists have #oun% that we recall past episo%es better when we are in the same moo% or our bo%y is in the same position 9-i="stra et al*( 2001:* This wor"s to a remar"ably abstract %egree* In one stu%y by Gassasanto an% -i="stra 92010:( participants were better able to retrieve positive memories when they move% marbles upwar%s an% negative memories when they move% marbles %ownwar%s* This seems to be because we associate up with happy an% %own with sa%* More e##ortK I# all these metho%s seem a bit laIy( then you can always put in a bit more e##ort* !robably the best way o# improving your overall cognitive health is e7ercise* tu%ies regularly #in% that increasing aerobic #itness is particularly goo% #or e7ecutive #unction an% wor"ing memory 9chec" out this previous article on which cognitive enhancers wor":* Gonversely( stay in be% all the time an% your wor"ing memory gets worse 9Hipnic"i et al*( 200>:* Ta"e your memory training to the limit an% an incre%ible stu%y by 6ricsson et al* 91>80: shows what can be achieve%* @ur typical short-term memory span is about 1 things* In other wor%s we can hol% aroun% seven things in min% at the same time* These researchers( though( increase% one person)s memory span to 1> %igits a#ter 240 hours o# practice( mostly using mnemonic systems* hows what you can %o i# you put in the hours* That sai%( I)ll be stic"ing to a nice wal" aroun% the par"* spring*org*u"Q2014Q10Q10-surprising-an%-mostly-easy-ways-to-improve-your-memory*php

45 11 simple (ays to improve your memory Whether you (ant to )e a *eopar!y+ champ or ,ust nee! to remember where you par"e% your car( this is how to turn your min% #rom a sieve into a steel trap By Aathy Ben=amin( Mental .loss U +ugust 11( 2014 Tweet in hare 44 5 Ta"ing notes by han% can help ma"e that in#o stic" in your brain* Ta"ing notes by han% can help ma"e that in#o stic" in your brain* hutterstoc" 1* G@CG6CT3+T6 .@3 6I/HT 6G@CThese %ays weFre all about things being #aster* ThatFs why this a%vice is invaluable: Ehen you really nee% to remember something( concentrate on it #or at least eight secon%s* That can seem li"e a long time when youFre running aroun% trying to get a million things %one( but it is worth it* tu%ies have shown that eight secon%s is the minimum amount o# time it ta"es #or a piece o# in#ormation to go #rom your short-term memory to your long-term memory* 2* -@CFT E+HA TH3@M/H + -@@3E+Y EeFve all wal"e% into a room an% su%%enly realiIe% we canFt remember why we nee%e% to be there in the #irst place* -onFt worry( youFre not getting more #orget#ul 0 chances are it was the act o# wal"ing through a %oorway that ma%e you go completely blan"* 3esearchers #oun% that participants in both virtual an% real-worl% stu%ies were #ar more li"ely to #orget what ob=ect they ha% =ust place% in a container i# they were as"e% right a#ter wal"ing through a %oorway than i# they carrie% the ob=ect the same %istance in a single room* cientists have yet to #igure out why( but something about entering a new place seems to restart our memory* 4* M+A6 + .I T I# youFre having trouble remembering things at wor"( get a stress ball* The act o# clenching your #ist( i# %one correctly( can signi#icantly improve your ability to recall in#ormation* tu%ies show that i# you are right-han%e%( you shoul% ma"e a #ist with your right han% be#ore you try to memoriIe a piece o# in#ormation* Then when you nee% to remember it( clench your le#t han% 9the process is reverse% #or le#ties*: Be sure to hol% that position #or a little while though< the stu%y that %iscovere% this ha% the participants s,ueeIing #or a goo% 25 secon%s be#ore letting go* 2* 6V63GI 6 +t this point we shoul% =ust accept it that science consi%ers e7ercise the cure #or absolutely any problem( an% memory is no %i##erent* The physical act increases alertness an% o7ygen supply to the brain( an% may even increase cell growth in the parts o# your brain responsible #or memory* @ne stu%y #oun% that right a#ter light e7ercise( women were able to recall things better than they coul% be#ore wor"ing up a sweat* +n% while a ,uic" =og can help you out right now( it is even more e##ective over the long term* + %i##erent stu%y #oun% that women who "ept #it over si7 months signi#icantly improve% both their verbal an% spatial memory* 5* H66! +t some point in high school or college( almost everyone has trie% to pull an all-nighter be#ore a big test 9or so pop culture woul% have us believe:* But even i# you le#t your cramming until almost the last minute( it is more bene#icial to get a goo% nightFs sleep than to stu%y until %awn* tu%ies have #oun% that the processes your brain goes through while youFre asleep actually help you remember in#ormation better the ne7t %ay* Your brain is bombar%e% with stimuli when

45 youFre awa"e( an% it uses the time you are asleep to process everything* ThatFs when it gets ri% o# unnecessary in#ormation an% %oubles %own on remembering important things( li"e all that stu## in your biology te7tboo"* leep is when it consoli%ates that in#ormation into a long-term memory* I# you stay awa"e( your brain canFt go through this process* 5* M 6 G3+WY .@CT EeFre all #ont snobs to some e7tent* Ehen it comes to boo"s( newspapers( or the internet( we want everything to be clear an% easy to rea%* But researchers have %iscovere% that one o# the best ways to remember something youFve rea% is to rea% it in a weir% #ont* The siIe an% bol%ness ma"es no %i##erence( although the har%er it is to rea%( the better* Ehen something is un#amiliar an% %i##icult to rea%( you are #orce% to concentrate on it more( allowing you to remember it easier* Harge( bol% #onts may actually hurt your ability to remember( as stu%ies #oun% that when as"e% to memoriIe a list o# wor%s( people pre%icte% they woul% recall bol% wor%s easier than non-bol% wor%s( an% there#ore stu%ie% them less( lea%ing to the opposite result* 1* GH6E /MM I# you nee% to remember a piece o# in#ormation #or aroun% 40 minutes( trying chewing gum* tu%ies have #oun% that people %o better on both visual an% au%io memory tas"s i# they are chewing gum while they %o them* Just the act o# chewing seems to "eep people more #ocuse% an% improve concentration* But i# you have a pop ,uiI sprung on you( leave the Juicy .ruit in your poc"et* !eople who %i%nFt chew gum %i% better on very short memory tas"s( while masticating helpe% people stay alert %uring longer ones* 8* E3IT6 THIC/ @MT These %ays itFs #ar more common to type up almost all the writing you nee% to %o on your phone or computer* hopping lists are save% on your tablet( phone numbers an% email a%%resses un%er your contacts 0 itFs har%ly necessary to remember anything anymore* That is( until you #orget your phone an% realiIe you %onFt remember i# you nee% to pic" up brea% an% eggs* In the #uture( i# you want to recall something( write it out in longhan%* It %oesnFt matter i# you never actually rea% bac" what you wrote: tu%ies have shown that =ust the act o# writing something out allows you to recall it in a way that touching a "eyboar% %oes not* >* AC@E EH6C T@ TM3C TH6 MM IG @C 0 +C- @.. Many people li"e a bit o# music playing while they wor" or stu%y* +n% listening to music be#ore you start rea%ing something you nee% to remember %oes in%ee% give you better recall* But once you start wor"( ta"e out those ear bu%s* 3esearchers have #oun% that listening to almost any noise( inclu%ing music( while stu%ying is a %istraction an% you will recall less o# what you rea% in the #uture* It %oesnFt matter i# you love the music or hate it< it has the same %istracting e##ect as someone yelling ran%om numbers at you* It might seem strange at #irst stu%ying in complete silence( but science says it pays o## in the long run* 10* LI M+HIW6 @ne o# the weir%est an% most e##ective ways to remember something is to associate it with a visual image* This can be ta"en to an e7treme( where you can recall a huge number o# pieces o# in#ormation =ust by buil%ing up a %etaile% visual image in your brain* HetFs say you wante% to remember that J*A* 3owling wrote the Harry !otter boo"s* 3owling soun%s li"e bowling( so visualiIe a bowling alley* Cow a%% to this image a hairy potter* This hirsute man( his han%s covere% with clay( gets up to roll the ball %own the lane* .rom there you coul% a%% other bits o# in#ormation( #or e7ample the names o# the %i##erent Harry !otter boo"s* 6ventually you have a

41 place in your hea% #ull o# in#ormation that you can access at any time* It soun%s bon"ers( but science says it wor"s* 11* -@@-H6 I# you are sitting in a boring class or meeting( %onFt be a#rai% to start %rawing hearts an% #lowers in your margins* Ehile it can loo" li"e %oo%lers are paying less attention than non-%oo%lers( in reality the act o# %rawing is helping to "eep their brain active* Just sitting there when you are bore% ma"es it easier #or you to tune out an% as a result you will remember less in#ormation* In stu%ies( people who were given a %oo%ling tas" while listening to a boring phone message en%e% up remembering 2> percent more o# what was on the tape than people who =ust sat still an% listene%*

Train your brain: 25 top tips to turbo-charge your memory


Most of us can lose our train of thought midway through a sentence - and it's not just about senior moments
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Most of us can lose our train of thought midway through a sentence but when youre a stand-up comic, it can spell disaster as comedian Billy onnolly !nows" #he $%-year-old &cot admitted last wee! he now suffers from worrying bouts of memory loss on stage and sometimes cannot remember his punch lines for gags" 'is wife (amela &tephenson puts it down to years of drin!ing in his early career"

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But absent-mindedness is not just about senior moments, says neuropsychologist )r *oanna +ddon, co-author of Memory Boosters ,'amlyn (ress, -."//0 +n a recent study of healthy adults, the a1erage number of memory slips, li!e putting the coffee jar in the fridge, was around si2 per wee!, irrespecti1e of age, gender and intelligence, says )r +ddon" +n fact, it was the younger, busier people that were the most absent-minded" 3emembering is an acti1e process and ma!ing the most of your memory in1ol1es paying better attention, planning and organising" 45uc!ily, there are some tric!s and strategies to help you banish those thingumabob moments" 1 Associate the memory with the environment6 &o if, for e2ample, a jo!e is learned in the presence of a particular smell, that same aroma may cue the memory for that jo!e" More simply, when in an e2am, + ad1ise my students to 1isualise the place in which they were re1ising as a cue to memory, says 7ndrew *ohnson, memory specialist and lecturer in psychology at Bournemouth 8ni1ersity" 2 Clench your fist6 3esearch suggests that balling up your right hand and s9uee:ing it tightly actually ma!es it easier to memorise phone numbers or shopping lists" 45ater, when you want to retrie1e the information, clench the left fist" 3esearchers thin! the mo1ements acti1ate brain regions !ey to the storing and recall of memories" 3 Learn something before be 6 #he best way to ;consolidate a memory is to go through the information just before going to sleep, e2plains )r *ohnson" #his is because there are fewer ;new interfering memories so you will remember it better the ne2t day" ! "ay the alphabet6 <hen you cannot recall a piece of information such as the name of an actor in a film, use the alphabet search method, i"e" going through the alphabet to find the first letter of the word or name you are trying to remember in order to jog your memory it really wor!s, says )r +ddon" 5 #rin$ more mil$6 &cientists as!ed /$= people to fill in detailed sur1eys on their diets and to complete eight rigorous tests to chec! their concentration, memory and learning abilities" 7dults who consumed dairy products at least fi1e or si2 times a wee! did far better in memory tests compared with those who rarely ate or dran! them" % &'ercise more: &e1eral studies ha1e shown that aerobic e2ercise impro1es cogniti1e function and is particularly good at enhancing memory" >2ercise is also thought to encourage the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus an area of the brain important in memory and learning" ( )et salsa ancing: Music lo1ers perform better in cogniti1e tests while research has shown the beneficial effects of music on those with 7l:heimers disease, e2plains memory e2pert )r hris Moulin"

4>

Music with strong rhythms and patterns li!e reggae and salsa are best for memory and problem-sol1ing" #he more comple2 the dance, the more the brain will be challenged" * +orget the nightcap6 7lcohol may help you fall asleep but it leads to a disrupted nights rest and has a detrimental effect on concentration and memory, say researchers at #he 5ondon &leep entre" 7nd the more you drin!, the less deep or 3>M sleep you get" , "ay it out lou 6 #his is the easiest of all methods for remembering e1erything from where you put your car !eys to what you need from the shop to re1ising for a test, say memory e2perts" &tudies found saying what you want to remember out loud to yourself or e1en mouthing it will help with recall" 1- #on.t swallow it whole6 <hen someone gi1es you a phone number, use ;chun!ing as a way of remembering it, suggests )r Moulin" &o when gi1en a string of numbers to remember such as ?=@/A$%%?%.., brea! it down into ?= @/ A$ %% ?% .. or e1en ?=@/ A$%% ?%.." #ry to chun! numbers according to something you find meaningful, li!e the age of someone you !now, an address or a famous date ,?%.. Battle of 'astings0 then they form a story to help you remember" 11 /uit smo$ing6 +t can cause significant damage to your memory, say researchers at Borthumbria 8ni1ersity" <hen ./ students aged ?C to =A, were as!ed to memorise a list of tas!s, those who had ne1er smo!ed did best, remembering to complete C?D of the tas!s" #he smo!ers on an a1erage of .% cigarettes a wee! managed to get through only A/D" 7 separate study at Eings ollege 5ondon found that middle-aged smo!ers performed less well on tests compared with those without the tobacco habit" 120An cannabis too6 7dolescents who are regular users of cannabis are at ris! of permanent damage to their intelligence, attention span and memory, according to the results of a new long-term study, which followed o1er ?,%%% people from birth to the age of @C"

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13 )ive us a cue6 +f theres something you ha1e to do e1ery day at a specific time and often forget, a techni9ue called implementation intentions is 1ery simple, says )r Moulin" For e2ample, say to yourself ;whene1er + ha1e my first cup of tea in the morning, + will also ta!e my pills" Gr ;when the lunchtime news finishes, +ll do my e2ercises" 1! 1se imagery6 Gne type of mnemonic or memory aid relies on imagery rather than words" 7 classic way of remembering a persons name is to try and imagine it ,or something associated to it0 on the persons face, says )r Moulin" &o, if you meet *ohn Bridge imagine a bridge on his face" (sychologists ha1e found that the more bi:arre and 1i1id the image the better it wor!s" 15 #rin$ green tea6 hinese researchers say regularly drin!ing it could impro1e your memory and delay the onset of 7l:heimers disease than!s to its !ey ingredient the organic molecule >H H ,epigallocatechin-@ gallate0, an antio2idant that protects against age-related degenerati1e illnesses" 1% 2a$e it mean something6 <hile the digits A%?/??II=?/IA are hard to remember as they are meaningless, try assigning each set of three digits a meaning, ad1ises )r Moulin" #ry 5e1is, a (orsche, fa1ourite football formation and the end of the &econd <orld <ar" #hese facts may not be easy to remember but not so hard as digits in raw form" 5oo! for meaning in e1erything especially if you can refer it bac! to yourself" 1( &at li$e our &uropean neighbours6 7 Mediterranean diet low in red meat and dairy and high in omega-@ fatty acids found in oily fish and nuts can help preser1e memory and reduce dementia ris!, say 8& researchers"

21

#he study, in the journal Beurology, studied the diets of ?$,I$C people with an a1erage age of .I" #hose who followed the Med diet were ?/D less li!ely to de1elop problems with memory" 1* 3atch your foo inta$e6 >ating too much can double the ris! of memory problems in old age, according to 8& research" &tudies found a high-calorie inta!e can substantially increase the ris! of de1eloping mild cogniti1e impairment, or M +, characterised by memory loss, which can precede dementia" 1, #oo le6 +n memory tests, doodlers performed =/D better than non-doodlers when as!ed to recall names and places, (lymouth 8ni1ersity researchers found" >2perts say doodling doesnt ta2 the mind and allows us to concentrate on the tas! in hand" +t stops us daydreaming, too, which is distracting" 2- #rin$ re wine6 'alf a glass of wine a day impro1es cogniti1e ability and memory, say researchers from G2ford 8ni1ersity" 4+ts thought the micronutrients called fla1onoids, particularly in red wine, impro1e brain function, e2plains )r +ddon" 21 Loo$ at nature6 7 8& study found people who wal!ed around an arboretum did =%D better on a memory test than those who wal!ed around streets" *ust loo!ing at pictures of nature can ha1e a beneficial effect" 22 Tuc$ into chocolate6 >ating chocolate can impro1e your memory, said G2ford 8ni1ersity scientists, who tested =,%%% 1olunteers" 7 separate study at Borthumbria 8ni1ersity found people gi1en large amounts of fla1onols, a compound found in chocolate, found mental arithmetic much easier" 23 )et enough sleep6 5ac! of sleep boosts the formation of beta amyloid, the to2ic protein that clogs up the brain, according to a study in the journal &cience" )isturbed sleep delays storage of memories and ma!es us forget sooner, says (rofessor hris +d:i!ows!i, director of #he >dinburgh &leep entre" 2! 4isualise what you nee to o6 +f youre in the !itchen, and remember you need to close the bedroom window, thin! of the curtains flapping" Gnce you ha1e paused to form the 1i1id association between the room and the reason you are going there, go straight there" #his a1oids the ;Bow, what did + come in here forJ scenarioK 25 1se it or lose it6 )e1eloping an interest or hobby and staying in1ol1ed in acti1ities that stimulate the mind and body can help with memory loss, says )r +ddon" (ursue a hobby, join a boo! club or do an e1ening class" +t will stop your brain atrophying"

Whats normal forgetfulness..


J Forgetting what you went upstairs for" J #a!ing se1eral minutes to recall where you left the car" J (utting things down and being unable to find them soon after"

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J Forgetting something tri1ial a friend mentioned to you the day before" J Forgetting the name of someone you1e just met" J Briefly forgetting the name for something the ;thingumabob moment" Gur short-term memory is 1ery distractible" #he brain literally erases tri1ial information to ma!e room for more important information that needs storing"

And whats cause for concern...


J Multi-tas!ing becomes difficult an able coo! suddenly finds preparing a &unday roast o1erwhelming" J (roblems negotiating familiar places, such as regularly not being able to find your car" J Forgetting the names of close friends and relati1es" J (roblems recognising faces, colours, shapes and words" J 3epeating a 9uestion as!ed half an hour pre1iously" Many of these symptoms could be attributed to depression, grief, stress or lac! of sleep" But they could be early signs of dementia" 'owe1er, say e2perts, if youre aware of your memory problems, this is unli!ely" +f concerned, see your H("

-o( Memory Works: 10 Things Most .eople Get Wrong


!ost image #or How Memory Eor"s: 10 Things Most !eople /et Erong $I# we remembere% everything we shoul% on most occasions be as ill o## as i# we remembere% nothing*' XEilliam James It)s o#ten sai% that a person is the sum o# their memories* Your e7perience is what ma"es you who you are*

-espite this( memory is generally poorly un%erstoo%( which is why many people say they have ;ba% memories)* That)s partly because the analogies we have to han%0li"e that o# computer memory0are not help#ul* Human memory is vastly more complicate% an% ,uir"y than the memory resi%ing in our laptops( tablets or phones* Here is my 10-point gui%e to the psychology o# memory 9it is base% on an e7cellent review chapter by the %istinguishe% MGH+ memory e7pert( !ro#essor 3obert +* B=or": 1* Memory %oes not %ecay 6veryone has e7perience% the #rustration o# not being able to recall a #act #rom memory* It coul% be someone)s name( the .rench #or ;town hall) or where the car is par"e%* o it seems obvious that memories %ecay( li"e #ruit going o##* But the research ten%s not to support this view* Instea% many researchers thin" that in #act memory has a limitless capacity* 6verything is store% in there but( without rehearsal( memories become har%er to access* This means it)s not the memory that)s ;going o##) it)s the ability to retrieve it*

24 But what on earth is the point o# a brain that remembers everything but can)t recall most o# itK Here)s what: 2* .orgetting helps you learn The i%ea that #orgetting helps you learn seems counter-intuitive( but thin" o# it this way: imagine i# you create% a brain that coul% remember an% recall everything* Ehen this amaIing brain was trying to remember where it par"e% the car( it woul% imme%iately bring to min% all the car par"s it ha% ever seen( then it woul% have to sort through the lot*

@bviously the only one that)s o# interest is the most recent* +n% this is generally true o# most o# our memories* 3ecent events are usually much more important than ones that happene% a long time ago* To ma"e your super-brain ,uic"er an% more use#ul in the real worl% you)% have to buil% in some system #or %iscounting ol%( useless in#o* In #act( o# course( we all have one o# these super-brains with a %iscounting system: we call it ;#orgetting)* That)s why #orgetting helps you learn: as less relevant in#ormation becomes inaccessible( we are naturally le#t with the in#ormation that is most important to our %aily survival* 4* ;Host) memories can live again There)s another si%e to the #act that memories %o not %ecay* That)s the i%ea that although memories may become less accessible( they can be revive%* 6ven things that you have long been unable to recall are still there( waiting to be wo"en* 67periments have shown that even in#ormation that has long become inaccessible can still be revive%* In%ee% it is then re-learne% more ,uic"ly than new in#ormation*

This is li"e the #act that you never #orget how to ri%e a bi"e( but it %oesn)t =ust apply to motor s"ills( it also applies to memories* 2* 3ecalling memories alters them +lthough it)s a #un%amental o# memory( the i%ea that recall alters memories seems intuitively wrong* How can recalling a memory change itK Eell( =ust by recalling a memory( it becomes stronger in comparison to other memories* Het)s run this through an e7ample* ay you thin" bac" to one particular birth%ay #rom chil%hoo% an% you recall getting a Hego spaceship* 6ach time you recall that #act( the other things you got #or your birth%ay that %ay become wea"er in comparison* The process o# recall( then( is actually actively constructing the past( or at least the parts o# your past that you can remember*

22 This is only the beginning though* .alse memories can potentially be create% by this process o# #alsely recalling the past* In%ee%( psychologists have e7perimentally implante% #alse memories* This raises the #ascinating i%ea that e##ectively we create ourselves by choosing which memories to recall* 5* Memory is unstable The #act that the simple act o# recall changes memory means that it is relatively unstable* But people ten% to thin" that memory is relatively stable: we #orget that we #orgot an% so we thin" we won)t #orget in the #uture what we now "now* Ehat this means is that stu%ents( in particular( vastly un%erestimate how much e##ort will be re,uire% to commit material to memory* +n% they)re not the only ones* This lea%s toN 5* The #oresight bias 6veryone must have e7perience% this* You have an i%ea that is so great you thin" it)s impossible you)ll ever #orget it* o you %on)t bother writing it %own* Eithin ten minutes you)ve #orgotten it an% it never comes bac"* Ee see the same thing in the lab* In one stu%y by Aoriat an% B=or" 92005: people learne% pairs o# wor%s li"e ;light-lamp)( then are as"e% to estimate how li"ely it is they)ll be able to answer ;lamp) when later given the prompt ;light)* They are massively over-con#i%ent an% the reason is this #oresight bias* Ehen they get the wor% ;light) later all "in%s o# other things come to min% li"e ;bulb) or ;sha%e) an% the correct answer isn)t nearly as easy to recall as they pre%icte%* 1* Ehen recall is easy( learning is low Ee #eel clever when we recall something instantly an% stupi% when it ta"es ages* But in terms o# learning( we shoul% #eel the e7act reverse* Ehen something comes to min% ,uic"ly( i*e* we %o no wor" to recall it( no learning occurs* Ehen we have to wor" har% to bring it to consciousness( something cool happens: we learn* Ehen people)s memories are teste%( the more wor" they have %one to construct( or reconstruct( the target memory( the stronger the memory eventually becomes* This is why proper learning techni,ues always involve testing( because =ust staring at the in#ormation isn)t goo% enough: learning nee%s e##ort#ul recall* 8* Hearning %epen%s heavily on conte7t Have you ever notice% that when you learn something in one conte7t( li"e the classroom( it becomes %i##icult to recall when that conte7t changesK This is because learning %epen%s heavily on how an% where you %o it: it %epen%s on who is there( what is aroun% you an% how you learn* It turns out that in the long-term people learn in#ormation best when they are e7pose% to it in %i##erent ways or %i##erent conte7ts* Ehen learning is highly conte7t-%epen%ent( it %oesn)t trans#er well or stic" as well over the years*

25 I ha% a #rien% at Mniversity who swore that stan%ing on a chair or up against a wall helpe% him to revise* I use% to laugh at him but there was metho% in his ma%ness* >* Memory( reloa%e% I# you want to learn to play tennis( is it better to spen% one wee" learning to serve( the ne7t wee" the #orehan%( the wee" a#ter the bac"han%( an% so onK @r shoul% you mi7 it all up with serves( #orehan%s an% bac"han%s every %ayK It turns out that #or long-term retention( memories are more easily recalle% i# learning is mi7e% up* This is =ust as true #or both motor learning( li"e tennis( as it is #or %eclarative memory( li"e what)s the capital o# LeneIuela 9to save you googling: it)s Garacas:* The trouble is that learning li"e this is worse to start o## with* I# you practice your serve then ,uic"ly switch to the #orehan%( you ;#orget) how to serve* o you #eel things are going worse than i# you =ust practice your serve over-an%-over again* But( in the long-run this "in% o# mi7an%-match learning wor"s best* @ne e7planation #or why this wor"s is calle% the ;reloa%ing hypothesis)* 6ach time we switch tas"s we have to ;reloa%) the memory* This process o# reloa%ing strengthens the learning* 10* Hearning is un%er your control The practical upshot o# these #acts about memory is that we o#ten un%erestimate how much control we have over our own memory* .or e7ample( people ten% to thin" that some things are( by their nature( har%er to learn( an% so they give up* However( techni,ues li"e using %i##erent conte7ts( switching between tas"s an% strenuous reconstruction o# memories can all help boost retention* !eople also ten% to thin" that the past is #i7e% an% gone< it can)t be change%* But how we recall the past an% thin" about it can be change%* 3ecalling memories in %i##erent ways can help us re-interpret the past an% set us o## on a %i##erent path in the #uture* .or e7ample( stu%ies have shown that people can crow% out pain#ul negative memories by #ocusing on more positive ones 9Hevy D +n%erson( 2008:* +ll in all( our memory isn)t as poor as we might imagine* It may not wor" li"e a computer( but that)s what ma"es it all the more #ascinating to un%erstan% an% e7perience*

2emory &nhance by a "imple 5rea$ After 6ea ing

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+f you find it difficult to remember what you1e read, try gi1ing the memory time to consolidate"
+ ha1e a great memory for boo!s +1e read on trains" + always thought this had something to do with the nature of train tra1el6 the roc!ing of the carriage, the rhythm of the stops, the continually changing picture window" (erhaps the combination of all these helps induce a focus which is harder to achie1e in familiar circumstances" Gr perhaps the answer is simpler" (sychologists ha1e found that brief resting periods after learning aids memory" +n studies, when people ta!e a little rest after learning, say, a string of numbers, they do better in recall than other people who1e been gi1en another tas! straight away" +t is thought that this little rest helps consolidate the memory, ma!ing it easier to retrie1e" Gn the other hand if you go straight on to another tas!, the memory doesnt ha1e a chance to solidify"

21

+ began to wonder if this suggested why + find it easier to recall boo!s +1e read on trains" 8nli!e at home where + read continuously, on a train + tend to stop more fre9uently to loo! out of the window or see who is getting on at the ne2t stop" #hese would be e2actly the type of restful periods described in this research" #he problem is these findings ha1e only been shown o1er 1ery short periods" #hat is until now"

10-minute break
+n a new study the effect of a ?%-minute brea! was tested on participants recall of a story $ days later ,)ewar et al", =%?=0" #hey found that e1en after $ days peoples memory was enhanced when they too! a ?%-minute brea! after reading the story" +n fact, $ days later people whod ta!en a brea! were as good as those trying to recall the story just ?A-@% minutes later, but without the brea!" &o perhaps this helps e2plain why + ha1e a clearer memory of boo!s +1e read on trains" +t also shows that one of the pleasures of readingL pausing to let it wash o1er youLis not only agreeable but also helps you remember what you1e read"

Mind (ops6 Memories #hat ome From Bowhere

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heese grater" <hy do odd images suddenly pop into your head for no reasonJ
Moure wal!ing down the street, just li!e any other day, when suddenly a memory pops into your head from years ago" +ts about a person you ha1ent thought of for years" *ust for a moment youre transported bac! to a time and place you thought was long-forgotten" +n a flash, though, the memory has 1anished as 9uic!ly as it appeared" #his e2perience has been dubbed a ;mind-pop and sometimes it is prompted by nothing your conscious mind is aware of" #here is, perhaps, an e1en weirder type of ;mind-pop" #his is when all you get is a word or an image which seems to ha1e no connection to anything at all" 5i!e

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suddenly thin!ing of the word ;orange or getting the image of a cheese grater" #hey seem weirder because they feel unconnected to any past e2perience, place or personLa thought without any autobiographical conte2t" Bot e1eryone has these e2periences, but many do" <hen psychologists ha1e recorded these in1oluntary memories, they find that, on a1erage, people ha1e about one a day" #hey are most li!ely to occur during routine, habitual acti1ities, li!e wal!ing down the street, brushing your teeth or getting dressed ,E1a1ilash1ili N Mandler, =%%I0" #hey are also more li!ely to come when your attention is roaming and diffused" &ome of these mind-pops can e1en be traced bac! to their causes" 'ere is one psychologist ,5"E"0 describing some mental detecti1e wor!6 Owhile throwing a used bag in a dust bin the word 7capulco popped up and since 5"E" had no idea what it was and where she might ha1e come across the word she turned to a member of family for help" #o her surprise, it was pointed out to her that 7capulco was mentioned on the #P news some IA minutes ago" #his ability to trace a mind-pop bac! to its source wasnt an isolated case" <hen they sur1eyed people, E1a1ilash1ili and Mandler found that the words and images that seemed to pop up randomly, didnt actually come from nowhere"

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&ometimes it was an associati1e mind-pop, li!e being reminded about hristmas and later ha1ing the words ;*ingle Bells pop into your head" Gr, it could be a sound-a-li!e, for e2ample ha1ing the image of a sandy beach appear after you see a banana ,Bahamas sounds li!e bananas0" #he fact that many mind-pops could not be traced bac! to their source is probably the result of how much of our processing is carried out unconsciously" #he fascinating thing was that many of these mindpops occurred wee!s or months after e2posure to the original trigger" #his suggests that these words, images and ideas can lie in wait for a considerable period" &ome e1en thin! that e2periencing mind-pops could be associated with creati1ity as these apparently random associations can help to sol1e creati1e problems" Mind-pops are another hint that we are recording more information than we !now" Fortunately, our minds mostly do a good job of suppressing random thoughts and images, as they can be e2tremely distracting" &o ne2t time you ha1e a mind-pop, remember that, howe1er weird, it has probably been triggered by something you1e seen, heard or thought about recently, e1en if you cant remember what" Gf course, why we get these particular ones and not others is still a mystery"

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<hy (eoples Bames 7re &o 'ard to 3emember

Bames are more difficult to remember than peoples jobs, hobbies or home towns"
#heres little doubt that peoples names are hard to remember" Bo, its not just you, research suggests theres something unusual about names which ma!es them particularly tric!y to recall" +ndeed some researchers suggest that peoples gi1en names are the most difficult of all words to learn ,Hriffin, =%?%0" Gne study ga1e participants fa!e names and biographies to study , ohen N Faul!ner, ?/C.0" #hen they were tested on what they could remember" 'ere are the percentages for different pieces of information that were recalled6 ?" *obs6 ./D =" 'obbies6 .CD

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@" I" A"

'ome towns6 .=D First names6 @?D 5ast names6 @%D &o names are more difficult to remember than what people do, what their hobbies are and where they come from" 7nd, you wont be surprised to hear, as we age, most of us get e1en worse at remembering names" But, whyJ 7ll !inds of theories ha1e been put forward" Gne is that lots of us ha1e the same names" (eople guess that common first names li!e ;*ohn and surnames li!e ;&mith are more difficult to remember because, on our minds, one *ohn &mith interferes with another" ounter-intuiti1ely, though, some research suggests common names are easier to recall than unusual names ,*ames N Fogler, =%%$0" Gther research suggests the opposite so its not e2actly clear what is going on ,Hriffin, =%?%0"

Whats in a name?
#he most popular e2planation in the research is that names are essentially arbitrary and meaningless" For most of us our names gi1e away few clues about our appearance, our personalities or anything about us, e2cept maybe a rough age, ethnicity, social class and whether our parents were celebrities ,hello ;Moon 8nit, ;#u Morrow and ;Mo2ie rimefighterLyes, all real names of celebrity offspring0" +f, for e2ample, + was called ;#he (in! (anther, and + happened to loo! li!e a pin! panther, youd almost

54

certainly find it easy to remember my name ,Fogler et al", =%??0" Meaning is the !ey6 we seem to find it difficult to remember names because they ha1e wea! semantic hoo!s" Gddly we find it easier to remember that a person is a potter, i"e" ma!es pots, than if their surname is actually (otter ,*ames, =%%I0" <e automatically treat names as meaningless, e1en if they ha1e meaning" (erhaps its because we get so used to the lac! of association between a persons name and what they do, or much else about them" ;)a1e could just as easily be a serial murderer as a 9uantity sur1eyor" +n fact its surprising if we meet, say, a Miranda Brain and she turns out to be a neurosurgeon" #hats why one common tric! for remembering names is to force yourself to ma!e some !ind of memorable association in your mind" +ts also probably why nic!names are better remembered than gi1en names6 they ha1e more meaning because people ac9uire them for particular traits or e1ents" &o, the ne2t time you are beating yourself up for forgetting a name, dont worry, its perfectly normal" *ust be !ind to others and !eep reminding them what your name is" 7nd when someone forgets your name, console yourself with &ha!espeare6 <hats in a nameJ #hat which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet"

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an )oodling +mpro1e Memory and oncentrationJ

7n e2periment suggests doodling may be more than just a pleasant waste of time and paper"
7ll sorts of claims ha1e been made for the power of doodling6 from it being an entertaining or rela2ing acti1ity, right through to it aiding creati1ity, or e1en that you can read peoples personalities in their doodles" #he idea that doodling pro1ides a window to the soul is probably wrong" +t can seem intuiti1ely attracti1e but it falls into the same category as graphology6 its a

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pseudoscience ,psychologists ha1e found no connection between personality and handwriting0" 7lthough its probably a waste of time trying to interpret a doodle, could the act of doodling itself still be a beneficial habit for attention and memory in certain circumstancesJ #o test this out (rofessor *ac!ie 7ndrade at the 8ni1ersity of (lymouth had forty participants listen to a moc! answerphone message which was purportedly about an upcoming party ,7ndrade, =%%/0" (eople were as!ed to listen to the message and write down the names of all the people who could come to the party, while ignoring the people who couldnt come" rucially, these participants were pretty bored" #heyd just finished another boring study, were sitting in a boring room and the persons 1oice in the message was monotone" #he 9uestion is6 e1en though the tas! is pretty simple, would they be able to concentrate long enough to note down the right namesJ 'eres the e2perimental manipulation" 'alf the participants were told to fill in the little s9uares and circles on a piece of paper while writing down the names" #he rest just listened to the message, only writing down the names"

Doodlers memories 30% better


5oo!ing at the results the beneficial effects of doodling are right there" Bon-doodlers wrote down an a1erage of se1en of the eight target names" But the doodlers wrote down an a1erage of almost all eight names"

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+t wasnt just their attention that was enhanced, though, doodling also benefited memory" 7fterwards participants were gi1en a surprise memory test, after being specifically told they didnt ha1e to remember anything" Gnce again doodlers performed better, in fact almost @%D better" &o perhaps if youre stuc! in a boring meeting or someone is droning on at you about something incredibly uninteresting, doodling can help you maintain enough focus to pull out the salient facts"

The mind on idle


But why does it wor!J <e cant tell from this study but 7ndrade speculates that doodling helps people concentrate because it stops their minds wandering but doesnt ,in this case0 interfere with the primary tas! of listening" <hen people are bored or doing a simple tas!, their minds naturally wander" <e might thin! about our wee!end plans, that embarrassing slip in the street earlier or whats for supper" (erhaps doodling, then, !eeps us sufficiently engaged with the moment to pay attention to simple pieces of information" +ts li!e !eeping the car idling rather than turning it off" Gn idle were still paying some attention to our surroundings rather than totally :oning out" Gb1iously doodling is not a tas! you want to indulge in while concentrating on a complicated tas!, but it may help you maintain just enough focus during a relati1ely

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simple, boring tas!, that you can actually get it done better" 3esearch on doodling might sound a little tri1ial but its fascinating because it spea!s to us about many facets of human psychology, including mind wandering, :oning out, attentionand the nature of boredom" (lus its a really nice idea that doodling has a higher purpose, other than just wasting time and paper"

Gn the #ip-of-the-#ongue6 Bloc!ed Memories

3hat is this instrument calle 7 8s it on the tip of your tongue7 <hats the name of that guy who was in that film withOyou !now the oneOhesOno, no its not )en:el <ashington, the other guy" Gh Hod, + !now it, its right there" #his is dri1ing me cra:yOK + can see his face" #his is ridiculousK Bo, not )en:el <ashingtonK #he tip-of-the-tongue or ;#G# phenomenon is now well-documented in psychology" +t is a 1ery common e2ample of what )aniel 5" &chacter calls ;bloc!ing, one of the se1en sins of memory ,&chacter, ?///0" +ts the

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subjecti1e e2perience that the memory is right there and yet for some reason you cant 9uite access it" &ometimes all you can thin! about is something similar, say another actor who is often in the same types of films" +ts this memory that seems to bloc! the retrie1al of the one you really want" Gther times theres apparently nothing bloc!ing the memorys retrie1al other than your minds stubborn refusal" &tudies on bloc!ing ha1e shown that around half of the time we will become ;unbloc!ed after about a minute" #he rest of the time it may ta!e days to reco1er the memory" 7s anyone getting on in years will tell you, bloc!ing increases with age" Glder adults certainly e2perience more problems recalling names than younger adults" Gne study finds college students ha1e one or two #G#s a wee!, while older adults ha1e between two to four per wee!"

#he taste of words on the tip of the tongue


Gne fascinating aspect of the ;#G# phenomenon is the study of synaesthetes" &ynaesthesia is a fairly common condition where people ha1e a cross-wiring in their brains between senses" #his means that people with synaesthesia may e2perience numbers as colours, sounds as images or e1en words as tastes" #his last category, a rare form !nown as le2icalgustatory synaesthesia, pro1ides an opportunity to study the #G# phenomenon in an unusual way" &imner and <ard ,=%%.0 figured that if the cross-wiring in

5>

synaesthetes brains turns words into tastes, perhaps they would literally be able to taste words that are on the tips of their tongues before they could e1en recall the word itself" Magically, theres e1idence this really does happen" &imner and <ard ,=%%.0 set about inducing #G# states in the lab by showing . participants with this rare form of synaesthesia pictures of unusual objects, such as a platypus" +n some trials, the e2perimenters managed to successfully induce a #G# state in the synaesthetes" 7ma:ingly, these le2ical-gustatory synaesthetes did actually feel a taste on their tongues as they struggled for the word to describe the picture" +n one case a participant tasted tuna when she was trying to remember the word ;castanet" #o chec! the answers were correct, participants were as!ed after the study which taste they associated with each word in the study" #he tastes they reported being on the tip of their tongues matched up with their wordtaste associations" But what if the synaesthetes are just ma!ing these tastes upJ <ell, to chec!, the e2perimenters called them up more than a year later in a surprise retest" &ure enough, the participant who reported that the word ;castanets was associated with the taste of tuna, still did so, e1en after a year" &imilarly, the other A synaesthetes in the study all consistently reported their particular connections between tastes and words"

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<hile these sorts of e2periences are alien to the majority of us, &imner and <ard suggest that this lin! between words and tastes may ne1ertheless be acti1e in all of us, but at an unconscious le1el"

+1e remembered, its <ill &mithK


&o how do we finally remember whats on the tip of our tonguesJ Gne theory has it that our memory can be jogged by hearing a word that sounds similar" ,*ames N Bur!e, =%%%0" <hile this is probably true, in real life its just plain good luc! if our memory is jogged by the en1ironment" Bowadays, though, we ha1e a new tool for resol1ing those tip-of-the-tongue nuisances6 loo! it up on the internet"

#he (ersistence of Memory

The last of the seven sins of memory shows that being unable to forget is a ouble-e ge swor 9 Gf all )aniel 5" &chacters se1en sins of memory it is the last, persistence, that is the most polarised in its

51

effect ,&chacter, ?///0" <hile the persistence of memory can be 1ital to our sur1i1al, at the same time it can lea1e us haunted by past e1ents we might rather forget" 7s in surrealist &al1ador )alis most famous painting, ;The Persistence of Memory;, memories can weigh hea1ily on our mindsQ thoughts, li!e ants, scurrying6 endlessly searching for who !nows what"

(ost-traumatic stress disorder


For those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, images and recollections of a traumatic e1ent become an intrusi1e and sometimes unbearable part of e1eryday e2perience" #he trauma continues to resurface, again and again, despite attempts at thought management or repression" Gf course being able to repress these memories would pro1ide some relief for sufferers, but is it possibleJ (rofessor 3ichard McBally and colleagues from 'ar1ard 8ni1ersity wanted to find out whether memories such as these could be effecti1ely repressed by trauma sufferers using a ;directed forgetting procedure6 essentially just telling people to forget ,McBally et al", ?//C0" #hey studied a group of ?I women who had been se2ually abused as children and compared them with a control group" (articipants in both groups were directly as!ed either to remember a particular word or to forget it" &ome of the words they were as!ed to remember or forget were related to traumatic memories ,e"g" ;abuse0"

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<hat (rofessor McBally and colleagues found was that control participants were more li!ely to forget trauma words they were told to forget, while remembering trauma words they were told to remember" +t seemed control participants could successfully suppress their memories" #he same could not be said of participants who had suffered traumatic e2periences" #hese participants were unable to consciously forget words that were trauma-related" #his suggests that people who ha1e e2perienced a trauma lose conscious cogniti1e control o1er aspects of their memory" +t seems that the persistence of some memories is too strong for us to consciously control6 suppression is not an option"

#he depressi1e cycle


#he intrusi1e persistence of disturbing past episodes may also be particularly important in depression" +n fact this persistence can produce a dangerous cycle which may be !ey to the maintenance of depressi1e disorders" 3uminating o1er past e1ents can lead to depression, while depression can then lead straight bac! in to rumination" +t is a 1icious circle" #heres e1idence for this depressi1e cycle from studies which show two different aspects of memorys persistence" 19 #epression lea s to rumination &tudies ha1e e2amined the unconscious ways depressed people process their memories" <at!ins et al" ,?//.0, for e2ample, compared depressed

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participants to a control group in how they responded to positi1e and negati1e words" #he results showed that while the control group tended to be biased towards remembering more positi1e words, the depressed participants remembered more negati1e words" #his suggests that depressed people are more li!ely to remember past negati1e e1ents the first part of the depressi1e cycle" 29 6umination lea s to epression #o test whether rumination can feed bac! into depression, 5yubomirs!y, aldwell and Bolen'oe!sema ,?//C0 put one group of students in a ruminati1e mood using a simple self-focussing tas!" #hey wanted to see how these moods affected the types of memories they then recalled6 #he first group were put into a ruminati1e mood with an e2ercise which focussed attention internally" #hey were, for e2ample, as!ed to recall and thin! about one of their dreams" #he second group turned their attention outwards by, for e2ample, thin!ing about the shape of clouds in the s!y" #his was designed as a filler tas! to help bloc! self-focussed thoughts" (articipants were then as!ed to recall at least eight incidents that had happened to them anything they li!ed" #he results showed that those participants who had been put in a ruminati1e mood tended to recall more negati1e memories than those whod been engaged in the filler tas!"

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#his e2periment is e1idence for the second part of the depressi1e cycle6 that ruminati1e thin!ing leads to the recall of more negati1e memories" #his in turn is li!ely to lead to depression" #a!en together these two studies, and others li!e them, suggest the persistence of memory can play an important role in the maintenance of depression"

Memorys persistence helps us sur1i1e


But thats enough of depression and trauma" #he fact is that, of the se1en sins of memory, it is easiest to see the positi1e, adapti1e nature of memorys persistence" Gur 1ery sur1i1al relies on the fact that we remember when bad conse9uences follow from particular situations" 5i1ing in a comfortable modern society may mean a person has relati1ely few real life-threatening dangers to face on a regular basis" But when people are e2posed to more precarious en1ironments, ma!ing the same mista!e twice can be disastrous" )epression and traumatic stress disorders may partly be the regrettable downsides of memory systems that are designed to !eep us ali1e"

Absent2in e ness: A

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5lessing in #isguise7

This is the secon in a series on the ( ea ly sins of memory9 8n this one: absent-min e ness: how we woul forget our hea s if they weren.t screwe on an why absent-min e ness coul be a blessing in isguise9 <e1e all done it6 forgotten someones name, where we par!ed the car, or left the house without the front-door !ey" #hese are all e2amples of &chacters ,?///0 second sin of memory6 absent-mindedness" <hile the first post in the series loo!ed at the transience of memory, how memory degrades o1er time, absent-mindedness occurs when were not really concentrating in the first place" #here are two central factors in how and why we are absent-minded" Gne is how deeply we encode a memory, the other is how much attention were paying at the crucial moment" 5ets loo! at attention first" Attention: )orillas in our mi st Gne of the most stri!ing e2perimental demonstrations of how central attention is to absent-mindedness is seen in psychology e2periments on changeblindness" +n one well-!nown e2ample, participants watch a 1ideo of people passing a bas!etball between each other, and they are as!ed to count the number of passes" +1e been a participant in this e2periment, and it wor!ed li!e a treat on me"

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+ sat watching the 1ideo, counting the passes" #hen, after the 1ideo was finished, + was as!ed if + noticed anything unusual" + was completely bemused6 <hat do you mean anything ;unusual, + said" +1e just seen people passing a bas!etball to each other" <hat are you tal!ing aboutJ #he e2perimenter smiled and set the 1ideo clip running again, but this time with no instructions to count the passes" + watched in ama:ement as after about @% seconds of people passing the bas!etball, a person dressed in a gorilla suit wal!s right through the centre of the scene, stops, turns, loo!s at the camera, then turns again and wal!s out of shot" #he gorilla is 1isible for fully A seconds" + didnt notice a thing" 7nd +m not alone" +n the 1ersion carried out by &imons and habris ,?///0, on a1erage around half the people who too! part didnt notice the gorilla" #he original 1ersion of this e2periment was carried out more than @% years ago, but it still has the power to ama:e ,Beisser N Bec!len, ?/$A0" The oor stu y 7nother well-!nown demonstration of how absent-minded we can be is the ;door study" 'ere unwitting students are as!ed by an e2perimenter for directions" <hile they are tal!ing, two men carrying a door wal! between the e2perimenter and the student" 7lso hiding behind the door is another person who swaps places with the original e2perimenter and carries on the con1ersation with the student" #he student is now continuing the con1ersation with someone completely different" )o they noticeJ 5i!e the gorilla e2periment, only about half the students notice that they were actually tal!ing to a different person" 7nother failure of attention" 2emory enco ing: epth of processing #he second element 1ital to absent-mindedness is the depth at which we process information" #his is demonstrated by a classic e2periment carried out by rai! and #ul1ing ,?/$A0" #hey set about testing the strength of memory traces created using three different le1els of processing6 ?" "hallow processing: participants were shown a word and as!ed to thin! about the font it was written in" =" 8nterme iate processing: participants were shown a word and as!ed to thin! about what it rhymes with" 4* #eep processing: participants were shown a word and as!ed to thin! about how it would fit into a sentence, or which category of ;thing it was" (articipants who had encoded the information most deeply, remembered the most words when gi1en a surprise test later" But it also too! them longer to encode the information in the first place"

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rucially, though, participants also had to do the right type of encoding" For e2ample pondering a words meaning for a long time did help its recall, but putting e9ui1alent effort into thin!ing about its structure didnt help recall" ;rospective memory lapses <ere not always trying to remember something we1e already been e2posed to, sometimes were trying to remember to do something in the future" #his is what psychologists call prospecti1e memory" all your mother after supper" Fill up the car with petrol on the way home from wor!" Buy those concert tic!ets at the wee!end" )rain the pasta in C minutes" #a!e the medication at ?=pm" 7ll these tas!s in1ol1e us setting oursel1es a mental alarm cloc! that is either triggered by some e1ent occurring, li!e finishing supper, or by a particular time" (sychologists ha1e found the ways in which we are absent-minded in prospecti1e memory can depend on whether we are trying to remember a future e1ent or a future time" Bormally we depend on e2ternal cues to jog our memories" For e2ample we dri1e past the petrol station, or write a note to oursel1es to buy the tic!ets" <e tend to forget e1ent-based prospecti1e memories when we fail to spot the cue" For e2ample we dont notice the petrol station on the way home as we are distracted by an accident on the other side of the road" #ime-based prospecti1e memories, though, depend more on how good we are at generating cues for oursel1es" For e2ample you might remember to ta!e your medication at the same time by always doing it after lunch" Absent-min e ness: curse or blessing7 Hi1en our propensity for absent-mindedness, its sometimes ama:ing that anything run by humans wor!s at all" &lips of memory in so many different types of 1ital acti1ities e"g" surgeon, train dri1er, pilot can ha1e disastrous conse9uences" #he fact that things often run smoothly shows we are remar!ably adept at focussing when we need to and attending to important cues in our en1ironment" 7bsent-mindedness might e1en be seen as a blessing" #he case of the 3ussian journalist &olomon &hereshe1s!ii illustrates the point dramatically" &hereshe1s!iis memory was so perfect he could remember e1erything that was said to him and maybe e1en e1erything that had e1er happened to him" #ested by the famous neuropsychologist, 7le2ander 5uria, no limit could be found to his memory" But this ama:ing gift had its down-side" 'e found it difficult to ignore insignificant e1ents" 7s a result, a simple cough would be imprinted on his memory fore1er" 7lso, all his memories were so highly detailed that he found it difficult to thin! in the abstract" +t can be difficult to thin! about the idea of, say,

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a bridge if your mind is immediately assaulted by hundreds of specific e2amples of bridges" +t is reported that &hereshe1s!ii became so tortured with the accumulation of memories that he de1eloped a special techni9ue to help him forget" 'e would imagine the memories he wanted to ditch written on a blac!board and then mentally erase them" #his seemed to wor! for him" (erhaps we should be than!ful for our absent-mindedness" +t sa1es us from remembering all of lifes crushingly dull moments as well as setting us free to thin! in abstract terms"

'ow Memories are )istorted and +n1ented6 Misattribution

<2ost people: probably: are in oubt about certain matters ascribe to their past9 They may have seen them: may have sai them: one them: or they may only have reame or imagine they i so9= William James Gne e1ening in ?/$A an unsuspecting 7ustralian psychologist, )onald M" #homson, wal!ed into a tele1ision studio to discuss the psychology of eyewitness testimony" 5ittle did he !now that at the 1ery moment he was discussing how people can best

5>

remember the faces of criminals, there was someone encoding his own face as a rapist" #he day after the tele1ision broadcast #homson was pic!ed up by local police" 'e was told that last night a woman was raped and left unconscious in her apartment" &he had named #homson as her attac!er" #homson was shoc!ed, but had a watertight alibi" 'e had been on tele1ision at the time of the attac! and in the presence of the assistant commissioner of police" +t seemed that the 1ictim had been watching #homson on tele1ision just prior to being attac!ed" &he had then confused his face with that of her attac!er" #hat a psychologist tal!ing about identifying the faces of criminals should be the subject of just such a gross memory failure and at the 1ery moment he was publicly e2plaining it is an irony hard to ignore" )onald #hompson was completely e2onerated but many others ha1e not been so luc!y" Hary <ells at +owa &tate 8ni1ersity and colleagues ha1e identified I% different 8& miscarriages of justice that ha1e relied on eye-witness testimony ,<ells et al", ?//C0" Many of these falsely con1icted people ser1ed many years in prison, some e1en facing death sentences" )onald #homsons ordeal, though, is a perfect e2ample of 'ar1ard psychologist )aniel 5" &chacters fourth sin of memory ,&chacter, ?///0" 8nli!e the first three sins, which all in1ol1e being unable to access memories, this is the first sin that in1ol1es the creation of memories that are false in some way" <hen a memory is

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;misattributed some original true aspect of a memory becomes distorted through time, space or circumstances"

)aily misattributions
<hile misattributions can ha1e disastrous conse9uences, most are not so dramatic in e1eryday circumstances" 5i!e the other sins of memory, misattributions are probably a daily occurrence for most people" &ome e2amples that ha1e been studied in the lab are6 2isattributing the source of memories" (eople regularly say they read something in the newspaper, when actually a friend told them or they saw it in an ad1ert" +n one study participants with ;normal memories regularly made the mista!e of thin!ing they had ac9uired a tri1ial fact from a newspaper, when actually the e2perimenters had supplied it ,&chacter, 'arblu!, N Mc5achlan, ?/CI0" 2isattributing a face to the wrong conte't" #his is e2actly what happened to )onald #homson" &tudies ha1e shown that memories can become blended together, so that faces and circumstances are merged" 2isattributing an imagine event to reality" 7 neat e2periment by Hoff and 3oediger ,?//C0 demonstrates how easily our memory can transform fantasy into reality" (articipants were as!ed either to imagine performing an action or actually as!ed to perform it, e"g" brea!ing a toothpic!" &ometime later they went through the same process again" #hen, later

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still they were as!ed whether they had performed that action or just imagined it" #hose who imagined the actions more fre9uently the second time were more li!ely to thin! theyd actually performed the actions the first time"

8nintentional plagiarism
&o far we1e seen how easily people mo1e around the e1ents, faces and sources of their memories" >ach of these are situations where people are retrie1ing a real memory, but mista!ing one or more of its aspects" &chacter ,?///0, howe1er, points to another common type of misattribution6 when we attribute an idea or memory to oursel1es that really belongs to someone else" 8nintentional plagiarism has been e2amined in a number of studies" +n one straightforward early study people were as!ed to generate e2amples of particular categories of items, li!e species of birds" +t was found that people, without realising, plagiarised each other about ID of the time ,Brown N Murphy, ?/C/0" &ubse9uent studies using more naturalistic procedures ha1e found much higher rates using different types of tas!s sometimes as much as =$D" #hats a 1ery high rate and probably helps to e2plain why we see so much unintentional repetition across many different areas of human culture" Musicians, writers and artists of all stripes ha1e to wor! e2tremely hard to a1oid unintentionally plagiarising each other"

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+f a song that has been unintentionally plagiarised becomes a hit, it can easily end up ma!ing the lawyers a lot of money" <hen Heorge 'arrison was sued for ,unintentionally0 plagiarising a hiffons hit 'es &o Fine, a claim that started in ?/$? dragged on until the ?//%sK

7ll made up
7lthough memories often ha1e some basis in reality, whether we1e mi2ed up some details or e1en the memorys source, sometimes they are just completely false" )uring the ?/.%s and $%s psychologists disco1ered a way of reproducing this false memory effect in the lab" +n the classic study conducted by *ames )eese at *ohns 'op!ins 8ni1ersity, participants are gi1en lists of semantically related words ,)eese, ?/A/0" For e2ample6 red, green, brown and blue" 5ater they ha1e to try and recall them, at which point they often recall related words that were not actually presented, li!e purple or blac!" 5ater studies ha1e replicated this finding using more complicated procedures that help to counteract some of the problems with this early study" Be1ertheless there is still the 9uestion of whether these laboratory-based tas!s really do tell us anything about how we beha1e in the real world" 7re we really this prone to completely false memories in real lifeJ Bew e1idence suggests we may well be" Brown and Marsh ,=%%C0 found that some people could be induced

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to thin! they had 1isited an unfamiliar place simply by being shown photos of that location"

Memory and the self


#hese sorts of studies on the misattributions of memories can be e2istentially disturbing" #his is because each of us is effecti1ely the accumulation of our e2periences, our memories" <ho we are is at least partly what has happened to us" )isco1ering the scientific e1idence for how easily memories become confused, distorted or just plain brea! through from fantasy to reality is li!e disco1ering that part of oursel1es is fabricated, false in some way" 7s psychologist <illiam *ames points out in the opening 9uote, memories can be car1ed from both reality and our dreams" 7way from the e2istential crisis and bac! to practicalities, )aniel &chacter suggests that misattributions may actually be useful to us ,&chacter, ?///0" #he ability to e2tract, abstract and generalise our e2perience enables us to apply lessons we1e learnt in one domain to another" 7nd, a lot of the time, we simply dont need to !now the e2act details of an e2perience6 we may not remember the e2act score, but we !now our team won" <e get the gist" &imilarly, when we actually do need to !now the details, we can ta!e steps to encode the memory securely so we dont ma!e misattributions" But theres no doubting that in some circumstances misattributions can ha1e frightening conse9uences

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just as! anyone falsely con1icted by eyewitness testimony" *ust as! )onald #homson"