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How to Build a Stronger Memory

Smartphones: A Memory Replacement

Smartphones: A Memory Replacement

The smartphone has partially replaced our memory, helping us recall information like birthdays, deadlines, contact details and to-do lists. These are the things we relied on our memory for, but now instead of training our memory, we are training it to rely on the external tools and apps.

As we rely on our smartphones, we are getting increasingly forgetful, which is not good for any successful business or personal relationship, where you need to show that you value and remember them.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Build a Stronger Memory

How to Build a Stronger Memory

https://hbr.org/2020/06/how-to-build-a-stronger-memory

hbr.org

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Key Ideas

Smartphones: A Memory Replacement

The smartphone has partially replaced our memory, helping us recall information like birthdays, deadlines, contact details and to-do lists. These are the things we relied on our memory for, but now instead of training our memory, we are training it to rely on the external tools and apps.

As we rely on our smartphones, we are getting increasingly forgetful, which is not good for any successful business or personal relationship, where you need to show that you value and remember them.

How Your Mind Registers Information

To use your memory, you need to figure out how your mind registers information. It can be in writing or audio/visual format. It’s important to leave technology behind and focus on the individual or group in front of you.

  • When we get introduced to someone or meet them for the first time, repeat their name often in your conversation.
  • Do not hide behind your laptop taking notes during a meeting.
  • Make it a game to remember people's names as you walk by the office.

What We Avoid Doing Might Help Us

The boring, routine work that is often delegated to others is a memory-enhancing goldmine.

Repetitive tasks like organizing information, digitizing an old contact list, inputting information manually on a laptop or PC, which leaders would normally delegate to others, can aid us in recalling information and memory consolidation.

New Information

Though it sounds counterintuitive, prioritizing new information instead of important information helps us recall better. Example: Looking up or googling the people that you meet online helps us retain their names and other details.

Prioritize remembering what is in front of you and in the current context.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Science of Memory
  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that'...
Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Memory
  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.
Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)

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Memory And The Brain

Memory is the brain’s way of integrating sensory-motor information into a symbolic representation that allows prediction of future occurrences. To better memorize it’s important to engage wi...

Connect & Link (The Link Method)

This memorization technique involves creating associations between items in a list and assigning images to each connection to help you memorize better. 

For instance, your accounting exam is tomorrow and you need to memorize which items fall under the Current Asset section of a balance sheet (Cash, Inventories, Accounts receivable, Prepaid expenses).

Make a Story (The Story Method)

This approach is really similar to the Link Method. While you create a bunch of different images between each two items using the Link Method, you combine everything into one big picture with the Story Method. This technique helps you memorize the sequence of the images and hence the order of the items. 

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Your memory depends on context

If we learn facts while we are doing something, we will be able to recall them better, when we are doing that same thing again.

You can use this information to your advanta...

Early memories are not reliable

Scientists believe that it is impossible to recall the first few years of life. Many of the necessary brain structures for memory have not yet matured at the time. It means that it is physiologically impossible for your brain to remember personal events from infancy.

Any recollections are patched together from other knowledge we acquired later on.

Your mental timeline is skewed

Research has shown that we often underestimate the amount of time that has passed from long ago, and overestimate the amount of time that has passed since more recent events.

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Memory Palace

A memory palace, or a method of loci, is an imagined physical palace where one piece of information is placed in each site, allowing one to mentally stroll through their memory palace drawing ou...

The Memory Skills Of Indigenous Elders

Cultures without writing are called ‘non-literate’, instead their identity should be associated with what they do in the absence of writing to record their knowledge.

They employ a range of memory technologies linked under the term ‘primary orality’, including song, dance, story and physical memory devices. The sky or landscape itself, are the most universal of these and they provide highly effective memory storage across many societies

Aboriginal Memory Palaces

Australian Aboriginal memory palaces are associated with the land, structured by sung pathways called songlines. A songline is a sequence of locations that orientate or contain valuable resources. At each location, a song or ritual is performed that will always be associated with that particular location, physically and in memory. Thus, a songline provides a table of contents to the entire knowledge system.

Some cultures mix the skyscape with the landscape as a memory device; associating knowledge such as seasonal variations, navigation, timekeeping and the ethics of their culture with stories about the heavenly locations. Typically, only fully initiated elders would know and understand the entire knowledge system of the community. This secrecy and sacredness of critical information protects it from corruption.

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How Memories are Formed
  1. Create a memory. Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we're experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called s...
Effective Ways to Improve Your Memory
  • Meditate to improve working memory. Take a pause to empty your mind and to reduce stress.
  • Although still debatable, drink coffee to help improve memory consolidation.
  • Eat berries for better long-term memory. Berries contain flavanoids,  which appear to strengthen connections in the brain.
  • Exercise not only to improve memory recall, but also to enhance cognitive abilities.
  • Chew gum to make stronger memories. It is proven that it increases activity in the hippocampus. It also increases heart rate which causes more blood to flow in the brain.
  • Sleep more to consolidate and easily remember memories.
The different kinds of memories
The different kinds of memories

We hold on to different kinds of memories.

  • Short-term memories last seconds to hours and long-term memories last for years.
  • We also have a...
Where your brain keeps memories

By studying people with amnesia, it seems that short-term and long-term memories don't form in precisely the same way, nor do declarative and procedural memories.

  • Emotional responses such as fear occur in a brain region called the amygdala.
  • Memories of learned skills are associated with the region called the striatum.
  • The hippocampus is essential for forming, retaining, and recalling declarative memories.
  • The temporal lobes play a critical role in forming and recalling memories.
How we experience memories

Memories are held within groups of neurons called cell assemblies. They fire as a group in response to a specific stimulus, such as recognising your friend's face.

The more neurons fire together, the more the interconnection of the cells strengthen. We experience the nerves' collective activity as a memory.

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Memorizing new material

When we try to memorize new information, we assume that the more work we put in, the better we will do.

But, our memory for new information is the most fragile just after it has first been en...

Take some downtime

Aiming for minimal interference - to do literally nothing - is the best way to consolidate the facts and remember it better.

Research found that short periods of rest increased the ability to recall information up to 30 % in healthy individuals. For people with neurological injury, such as a stroke, the ability to recall after some rest, places them almost within the range of healthy people.

We remember better after rest

When memories are initially encoded, they pass through a period of consolidation that cements them in long-term storage.

It was once thought to happen mostly during sleep; studies have found that it is not limited to sleep, because it happens during periods of wakeful rest, too.

The associative memory

We all experience, from time to time, issues with our memory. Involuntarily, we end up forgetting things, such as people's names, after having met for the first time.

One trait that we...

Tips to remember people's names

Whenever you find yourself in the difficulty of not remembering somebody's name, try some useful tips such as repeating the name several times, connecting the new name to something you already know or linking it to something else you have just found out about the person. Just bear in mind that associations work wonders.

The Zeigarnik Effect

Unfinished work continues to exert an influence, even when we try to move on to other things.

When you start working on something but do not finish it, thoughts of the unfinished work ...

The Zeigarnik effect and memory

It reveals a great deal about how memory works. Zeigarnik suggested that failing to complete a task creates underlying cognitive tension. This results in greater mental effort and rehearsal in order to keep the task at the forefront of awareness. Once completed, the mind is then able to let go of these efforts.

You can even use this psychological phenomenon to your advantage.

Get More Out of Your Study Sessions
  • Break up your study sessions rather than try to cram it all in the night before the test. By studying information in increments, you will be more likely to remember it until test day.
  • If you are struggling to memorize something important, momentary interruptions might actually work to your advantage. While you are focusing on other things, you will find yourself mentally returning to the information you were studying.

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