How to improve your memory for both short- and long-term recall is not as difficult as it may appear. Yes, there are techniques to improve memory however it does take practice to maintain a higher level of memory recall. Clinical research has shown that memory is an essential component of cognitive functioning and that this too can be improved (Jaeggi et al., 2008). This research also show that our IQ score is no longer a number that limits us. Read on to get tips on how to improve your memory and raise your IQ.
Tips on How to Improve Your Memory 1. Practice and rehearse Start by really understanding the topic or piece of information you wish to remember, then once you have the basic understanding in place you will need to keep rehearsing the information to ensures it sticks. That old saying of practice makes perfect is very relevant when you are trying to remember new things. If you want to make information come to mind automatically, you need to rehearse it regularly. Then you will be able to recall it quickly when you need to, whether that be for school, business or at social events.
2. Pay attention and engage with information Psychologists Craik and Lockhart found that the more attention we pay to the meaning of what we see, hear and learn, then the better we will remember it. They proved that improving our memory is a function of how effortful and meaningful our initial encoding of the information was. The outcome is if we process information on a deeper level, we will be better able to recall that information. Psychologists and teachers tell us that understanding something aids our memory and it is harder to remember things if we merely rote learning without fully comprehending the information.
3. Visualize and use imagery We live in a visual world which means there are many ways that we can use the power of visual imagery as a memory aid. For example, try using a mind map, where we imagine a map of the information or a tree with the branches that stem out each holding an important and relevant fact or nugget of information. Another example is to imagine a cloakroom with each of the pegs holding a piece of information. Whatever method you prefer, the key point is that when we visualize the information as we study or learn it, we can recall it later much easier.
4. Try Drawing Drawing is a great way to help anyone with remembering new information, but especially for older adults. This has been backed up from research conducted at the University of Waterloo in Canada. They found that drawing out words and drawing the physical attributes of a word enhanced the memory of older adults with possible benefits for people suffering from dementia. Drawing is a memory encoding technique that works cross generational and kids find it fun and educational.
5. Start using acronyms Research has shown that our brains are better at retrieving things when we associate meaning to them. When we were in school, a teacher or parent likely taught us to use acronyms and my guess is that most of us still remember some version of these. Remember this one? to memorize the directions on the compass, we use the acronym NEWS (North, East, West, and South). Or this one? “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” (Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto). Not only are acronyms fun and they really work. You can also use a similar technique if you are trying to remember names at a party or gathering (e.g., Black orange boots for Bob or Purple attire things for Pat. Go ahead and make up your own acronyms for anything you want to remember. The trick is to list the thing you want to memorize and arrange it in an order such that the first letter of each word spells a real word.
6. Pay attention to the beginnings and endings Research on how to improve your memory points to the fact that that we remember more at the beginning and end of learning sessions or lessons. Now none is suggesting you zone out in the middle of a lesson, lecture or training session. This is about being aware of our optimal memory times. So, listen up and pay closer attention to the introductions and conclusions when being presented with information. Always ask a teacher or the presenter to summarize the main points of the lesson or lecture again at the end.
7. Try brain training Some (not all) Brain Training to Raise IQ programs can help improve your memory and raise your IQ. It may surprise you that the brain is a muscle much like other muscles in your body. Your brain needs constant use and exercise to stay healthy. Think of brain training as a mental workout which helps challenge your mind so it can grow and expand. Research carried out by our own Dr. Bryan Roche found that people who engaged with 20- 30 minutes of brain training activities (using relation frame theory) for 5 days a week had improvements in learning, mathematical and verbal skills, educational aptitude, working memory, Performance IQ, verbal IQ, perceptual reasoning skills, visual processing skills, working memory and general intelligence. This was for users of all ages and intelligence levels.
8. Practice Meditation Researchers from The Department of Motor Sciences and Wellness, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Naples, Italy note that many studies show meditation improves brain function, reduces markers of brain degeneration, and improves both working memory and long-term memory. They showed that routine meditative practice is associated with a long-lasting change in the topology of definite brain areas, suggesting that meditation might be able to induce brain plasticity.
9. Read It Out Aloud You may remember from your school days, when your teacher asked you to stand up and read out aloud a story or poem. Well, a team at the University of Waterloo found that you’re more likely to remember written information if you read it out aloud. The consensus is that reading combined with hearing yourself reading can have a positive effect to improve your memory. Other studies also confirm that learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When a person adds an active element to a word (reading it out aloud), that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and so more memorable.
Improve Your Memory Summary These are just 9 ways to improve your memory, we are sure there are many more techniques for improving memory, all of which would be beneficial for a person's brain health. Why not start today, whether you are a student, professional or a retiree. Because even adding one or two memory improvement activities to your daily routine can help keep your brain healthy and strong. To improve your memory not only protects the brain from memory loss but it will also boost learning and information recall. If you would like to dig deeper into The Science Behind Brain Training the science of brain training, then read here – Smart Brain Training
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