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Simple Ways to Be Better at Remembering

Memory is a recontruction

It's not a photographic recording and it changes over time: our brains are forever rerecording those memories, making them far more error prone.

Recalling a long-term memory brings it back into our short-term memory, which essentially gives it new context. 

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Simple Ways to Be Better at Remembering

Simple Ways to Be Better at Remembering

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/smarter-living/simple-ways-to-be-better-at-remembering.html

nytimes.com

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Key Ideas

47/times a day

...is the number we check our phones  on a daily basis. 

And nearly double that if we’re between the ages of 18 and 24. 

We’re no longer weighed down by having to retain trivial data, since all the information we need is one click away, and so we are left with greater cognitive space and with a hard time process...

We’re no longer weighed down by having to retain trivial data, since all the information we need is one click away, and so we are left with greater cognitive space and with a hard time processing the information we take in to form memories.

2 kinds of memories

  • explicit, created through conscious experience;
  • implicit, which form when past experiences affect us, sometimes without our knowledge.

Memory is a recontruction

It's not a photographic recording and it changes over time: our brains are forever rerecording those memories, making them far more error prone.

Recalling a long-term memory brings it back into our short-term memory, which essentially gives it new context. 

Repetition

The repetition of tasks (reading, or saying words over and over) continues to be the best method for transforming short-term memories into long-term ones. To do that, we have to retrain our minds to focus on one task at a time. 

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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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Walking backwards

Backwards walking (whether real, imaginary, or virtual) can boost your short-term memory. 

To go back in time, it might help to go backwards in space. Moving backwards t...

Drawing to remember

When we draw something we are forced to consider in more detail and it’s this deeper processing that makes us more likely to remember it.

Even writing a list helps somehow, which is why when you get to the shop and realise you’ve left your shopping list at home, you can still remember more items than if you hadn’t written a list at all. However, doing a drawing takes it one step further.
Exercise, but get the timing right

When you want to learn something in particular, then physical effort does seem to help, at least in the short-term. 

In an experiment, people that did 35 minutes of interval training 4 hours after learning a list of pictures paired with locations were better at remembering the pairs than those who did the interval training straight away.

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Memory cues
Memory cues

They are objects or events that help trigger an action or a memory of that action. 

They can be either intentional (a reminder on our phone) or unintentional 

Different types of memory cues
  • Internal memory cues are patterns of thinking that help trigger a specific memory. For example, mental imagery, which involves visualizing a certain scene happening, can serve as an internal reminder of an event that happened.
  • External memory cues are objects or events that trigger a memory that they are associated with. For example, a glass of water next to your bed is an external reminder to drink water when you wake up.
Example of exernal cues
  • To remember to floss your teeth, put the box with the floss on top of your tube of toothpaste.
  • To remember to take a pill each morning, put the pills next to whatever you usually eat for breakfast.
  • To start the day by writing, put a piece of paper with a reminder on top of your keyboard.
  • You can use your watch as a reminder to take things easy, so that every time you look at it you remember to relax a little.

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