5 Ways to Improve Your Memory
Watching films like Good Will Hunting or series like Suits and Remember: War of the son (Korean series), where the characters flaunt their memory power for better or worse; you may have secretly wished you had such memory too. Well, I have some good news! They have what is called the eidetic memory – and you have it too…in fact, we all have it!!!
Eidetic memory is the ability to accurately recall from memory things heard, read, or seen. We all possess eidetic memory but for most of us, it lasts only less than a second to perhaps a few seconds. We can remember any image that we have just seen with extreme precision but this memory passes in a blink. On the other hand, the rare people with eidetic memory (photographic memory) can recall things perfectly for a long period of time.
Let us now discuss the probability of enhancing our not-so-eidetic-after-all memory. For that we must first understand sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory.
So what happens is when we see things, at first it is stored in the sensory memory for a brief period (the eidetic memory we all have). Then some of the things we see can get filtered and stored for 15-20 seconds depending on its need. Finally, we store what is important in long-term memory almost permanently.
Our memory power revolves only around the long-term memory. Enhancing memory requires us to transfer information stored in short-term memory to the long-term.
Let us now look at how we can improve our memory:
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This refers to rote-learning or memorizing through repetition. We have all used this to memorize spellings, famous personalities’ names, important dates (both personal or historical), etc.
For elaborative rehearsals, the transfer from short-term to long term memory occurs by organizing the information in a certain logical framework, which makes it easier for us to recall or retrieve the stored information. Actors memorize their script not just by mere repetition it by getting into the characters, understanding the nuances, and finally speaking the dialogues from the characters’ point of view. This is one example of elaborative rehearsals. Below are three more techniques of elaborative rehearsals.
Linking one memory to another memory
When you are going shopping for your friend’s birthday, you can memorize the entire items by linking it to your past birthday celebration.
Creating an image
You want to remember the names of four American presidents, think Mount Rushmore. The image of Mount Rushmore helps you recall the names of the presidents sculpted there along with other information. You can create such images with the information you need to store.
This is a formal technique to organize information in a certain manner that can help us recall things better. Some examples: using acronyms like. VIBGYOR to remember the order and colors in a rainbow; songs like Thirty days hath September to remember the number of days in a month; using fun sentences to remember mathematical order of operations like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally for Parenthesis, Exponents Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction.
You can use any or all of the methods above to improve your memory. Based on the importance or necessity of the information you want to retain, you can be creative with elaborative rehearsals and create long-lasting memories.