In this article you will discover how to train your memory thanks to the most effective stratagems of the field of memory techniques.
The other night I was in the car with a friend and I was telling him a funny episode that happened a few years ago to one of our common acquaintances named … by name … how on earth was it called? And yet there I had it here on the tip of my tongue. There was nothing to do.
After 5 minutes of attempts I abandoned the grueling undertaking of recovering this person’s name in the recesses of my memory.
If you happen to forget names, dates and what you had to buy in the supermarket then this article will be very useful. Continuing the reading you will in fact discover how:
- Effectively store phone numbers, dates and passwords.
- Remember the shopping list.
- Indelibly associate faces and names.
Memory is what you are.
Memory defines you as a person, establishing your identity. It is not simply a database of information as memories also influence your choices and behaviors. In fact, your reaction to an event is almost always determined by previous experiences.
Memory is the process by which your brain is continuously transformed by experience and is essential for every learning. This ability to acquire and maintain information is central to everything you do, from driving a car to remembering the names and faces of friends and family.
3 types of memory
1 – Sensory memory
Sensory memory is a decidedly short memory that retains sensory impressions that decay after a few seconds. In particular it is divided into visual memory (lasts 10 seconds) and verbal memory (lasts 500 ms). This memory is not accessible to consciousness.
2 – Short term memory
It is used to hold information for 10-20 seconds and is important for all those things we do in the short term, for example to understand this sentence. It can hold around 7 blocks of information, the famous magic number by G. Miller: 7 plus or minus 2.
To test your short-term memory and to know how much data you can hold in this memory, ask a friend to write a series of 4 numbers which he will then read at the speed of a number per second. As soon as he finishes reading you will have to repeat the sequence of numbers in the same order as he did. If you can do it, go ahead with a series of 5 numbers, then 6, etc. On average, an adult person remembers 6 numbers.
3 – Long-term memory
This is the memory in which information is permanently stored. The items stored here can be remembered for life. Another type of long-term memory is procedural memory, which includes the ability to remember how to tie shoes, an activity you can do automatically without thinking.
To test your long-term memory, allow yourself three minutes to study a list of 15 words like this: tree, time, image, tent, face, clock, garden, neck, pipe, mouse, planet, apple, book, wire, Ocean. Then write all the words you remember, the order is not important.
How does memory work?
The memorization process is divided into three phases, here is which …
1 – Acquisition
Every day lots of new information reaches your brain through the neuronal pathways. But for these to remain in the brain an activity of focusing on them is typically required. The attention that you will give to the information in this initial level will influence the way in which you will be able to access them in the future.
2 – Consolidation
If you have focused enough to code something, your hippocampus (a small seahorse-shaped structure located in the temporal lobe) will send a signal to store information in long-term memory. This is easier if it is connected to something you already know or that causes an emotional reaction.
3 – Recovery
Whenever you need to recall a memory, your brain activates the exact same group of neurons it used to store information. The more frequently you think about that information, the easier it will be to remember them.
How to train your memory not to forget 4 stratagems to memorize like a computer
Some of these tricks have also been used by Dominic O’Brien, one of the greatest experts of mnemonics eight times winner of the world memory championship.
1) Word games for general information
Word games work because they simply require you to remember something rather than raw information. Here are 3 memory techniques that use word tricks:
- Rime: There are countless rhymes to encode information. For example, the one to remember the months of the year ( 30 days in November, with April, June and September, of 28 there is one, all the others have 31)
- Acronyms: A simple example used by mathematics students to remember the order of operations for an equation is PEMDAS Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplications, Divisions, Additions, and Subtractions.
- Acrostics: An acrostic is an acronym in reverse. For example, an acrostic that you surely learned in elementary school is the subdivision of the Alps: “But with great pain he brings them down”.
2) Pictures to remember numbers
This method works by transforming a single digit into an image based on the shape of the number, for example, zero has the shape of a ball, 9 is that of a balloon with wire, etc. If you have a series of numbers to remember, such as a pin code, or a date, you can try to memorize it by viewing a scene that uses these images. For example, if your pin number starts with 67, display a golf club that hits a boomerang.
Exercise. Try to memorize a string of 20 numbers: 79046213585994013276 – converting each number into an equivalent form and connecting them in your mind. Start by imagining you throw a boomerang at the balloon and move on. Eventually you should have created a story that includes a chain of 20 numbers linked together. Then try writing the sequence. Awarded one point for each digit you remember. Maximum 20 points; 4+: out of practice; 8+: you can improve; 18+: master.
3) Body parts to remember lists
This is a very effective system for quickly fixing a list of information such as a shopping list. It works by combining body parts with mental images of anything you want to remember. The images are more vivid or exaggerated, the better because it will help you to fix them in memory. For example, if you have to remember to buy chicken for dinner, you could imagine a chicken climbing on your shoulder.
You can use the image below to practice by making an association between the body part and the shopping list object. Once this is done try to recall the image in your mind and try to verify how many objects in the memory list.
4) Fantasia for names and faces
- Pay attention: When we introduce ourselves to another person we are often more focused on saying our name, or shaking hands, or how others have looked at us. So if you haven’t heard the name the first time don’t be embarrassed to ask a second time.
- Make the name concrete: You can think of replacement words or images evoked by the name. For example, Marco Ambrosoli could be an amber stone alone.
- Find a feature of the face: Is there a characteristic of this person’s face that immediately catches your eye? A Dante’s nose, eyebrows at the Uan puppet, full lips …
- Associate name and face: Take the meaning of the name determined in step 2 and think of an image in your mind to associate with the characteristic of the face identified in step 3. Going back to the name of the previous example, you could imagine a Dante’s nose attached to an amber stone alone.
- View as many details as possible. Since the visual memory of many people is naturally stronger than the verbal one, if you have mentally designed this image it will immediately come to mind.
- Repeat: To better remember and store in the long-term memory, repeat the name periodically. After forming a name-face association, review the association (image) in your mind after 10-20 seconds, and repeat after 10 minutes.
Now you have 4 powerful strategies to train your memory and effectively store the information you want. Use them and you won’t risk finding yourself at the supermarket looking at the various shelves with a confused expression, in a desperate attempt to remember what you should have bought.
Which of these 4 ploys did you like the most or did you find most useful? Write it below in the comments.