7 Techniques to Help Improve Your Memory

Visual Capitalist  |

Smartphones and the internet have changed just about everything, including our brains.

With limitless information at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that our ability to store and recall information has begun to atrophy. This mental reliance on technology is often referred to as the Google Effect.

A recent report suggested that 50% of people make no effort to recall information or seek answers from those around them before searching online. Also, two-thirds of consumers say that by letting their devices do the mental legwork, it enables them to achieve more.

How to Remember Anything

If devices are so good at storing our information and answering questions, why bother trying to remember anything at all? Experts warn that by not actively recalling information, we’re dooming ourselves to a future with fewer long-term memories and more difficulty retaining information in the short term.

Today’s infographic, from QuidCorner, lists some practical techniques to help you reclaim your short-term memory.

Whether you’re learning a new language or just trying to remember the access code to your office door, there are a few tricks that can help you more effectively remember information.

Memorization Techniques

LOCI
For more demanding memory tasks like speeches, visualize portions of information along a path you know well (e.g. the rooms of your home). This technique uses your navigation and spatial memory skills to help you recall pieces of information in a linear way.

LINKING
One technique that can help you memorize lists is called linking, or visualization and association. Linking plays to our natural inclination for understanding the world through storytelling. By mentally linking line items to one another in a creative way, you’ll be more likely to remember than if you simply tried to memorize the list.

CHUNKING
More complex pieces of information – long numbers, for example – are easier to remember when we break them into pieces.

A familiar example of “chunking” is the way telephone numbers are formatted. In the 1950s, Bell Laboratories teamed up with professor George A. Miller of Harvard University to gain insight into how we encode information into our long-term memory. In short, Miller’s research determined that the (555) 555-5555 format for displaying phone numbers was the most effective at allowing our brains to store contact information.

By organizing [information] into several dimensions and successively into a sequence or chunks, we manage to break (or at least stretch) this informational bottleneck.

-George A. Miller

A Key Takeaway to Remember

Many of the techniques described above suggest triggering other parts of your brain to help form stronger memories. In this age of digital distraction, simply repeating information a few times is no match for mental visualization and adding meaningful context to information.

Remember that, and you’ll be able to remember almost anything.

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