• Ann Spence

Improving Memory



Memory


Anybody is able to improve their memory. It is a matter of what techniques to use and then, as with all of our strategies, to practice them as regularly as you can. Below are a number of areas your child can look at when trying to improve their ability to remember information.

Mnemonics

'Mnemonic' is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall: BIMDAS is a word that students are aware of that helps them with solving mathematical order of operation problems. Each letter triggers the operation they need to perform. eg B = Brackets, I = Indicies, M = Multiplication, D = Division, A = Addition and S = Subtraction.

The idea behind using mnemonics is to encode difficult-to-remember information in a way that is much easier to remember. Our brains evolved to code and interpret complex stimuli such as images, colors, structures, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, positions, emotions and language. We use these to make sophisticated models of the world we live in. Our memories store all of these very effectively. Unfortunately, a lot of the information we have to remember in modern life is presented differently – as words printed on a page. While writing is a rich and sophisticated medium for conveying complex arguments, our brains do not easily encode written information, making it difficult to remember.

Using Your Mind to Remember

The key idea is that by coding information using vivid mental images, you can reliably code both information and the structure of information. You can do the following things to make your mnemonics more memorable:

· Use positive, pleasant images. Your brain often blocks out unpleasant ones.

· Use vivid, colorful, sense-laden images – these are easier to remember than drab ones.

· Use all your senses to code information or dress up an image. Remember that your mnemonic can contain sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movements and feelings as well as pictures.

· Give your image three dimensions, movement and space to make it more vivid. You can use movement either to maintain the flow of association, or to help you to remember actions.

· Exaggerate the size of important parts of the image.

· Use humor! Funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than normal ones.

· Symbols (red traffic lights, pointing fingers, road signs, etc.) can code quite complex messages quickly and effectively.

With practice anybody can improve there memory. It is about looking at the information that is to be remembered and associating it with something. Improving memory is a skill that is hardly used but if used and practiced correctly can become incredibly powerful.

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