Most of us would like to have a better memory. Who went to the store to buy three things and go back alone with the two? Or enter a room and when you arrive you can not remember why we went there? It would be so wonderful to read something and remember later, rather than that information fade quickly from our minds "
There are many proven techniques for improving memory, many of which have been used for decades, such as
use of mnemonic rules.
But what other methods is science investigating? Further research is still needed to ensure that the new methods work, but let's see which techniques may become the most used in the future.
1 – Walk backwards
We may think that time and space are two different things, but even in our way of speaking, there is more relationship between the two concepts than we think.
We, for example, talk about "leaving something behind" when we refer to an event that we want to forget. In English, the verbal phrase is used "
look ahead"which literally means looking ahead, to refer to something that is eagerly awaited.
Researchers at the University of Roehampton in the UK have decided to explore this connection between space and time in our minds to design a method that allows us to remember events more easily.
We, for example, talk about "leaving something behind" when we refer to an event that we want to forget. In English, the verbal expression "look forward" is used, which literally means to look forward, to refer to something that is eagerly awaited
The researchers showed a group of people a list of words, a series of images or a video showing a woman whose purse was stolen.
Then they were asked to walk 10 meters forward or back in a room, to the rhythm of a stopwatch.
When they tested their memory on video, words and images, in each of the examples, those who walked back were the ones who most remembered.
It was like walking backwards had helped their minds to go back in time and the result was that they could access their memories more easily.
It also worked when they imagined kicking instead of doing it physically. This 2018 research fits in with a curious study done with rats in 2006.
When the rats learned to locate themselves in a labyrinth, the neurons called place-cells reacted at each specific site.
The scientists found that when the mice stopped in the labyrinth, the neurons associated with each place they identified on the way were lit in reverse order.
So going back in their mind helped them to remember the correct route. Now, new research has shown that when humans remember an event from the past, we reconstruct experience in our minds in reverse order.
When we first see an object, we first notice patterns and colors, and then we realize what it is.
When we try to remember an object, the opposite happens: we remember the object first and then, with luck, the details.
2 – Draw
What if instead of making a list of what we want to buy, do we design? In 2018, the researchers gave a group of young and old a list of words to learn.
Half was asked to draw each word, while the other was asked to write them down when they learned them. Later, they put them to the test to see how many words they could remember.
Although some were complicated to draw, such as the words "isotope," the drawing action created such a difference that the ancients remembered as much as the young. The drawing helped even people with dementia.
When we draw, we are forced to consider things in more detail, and it is this deeper process that helps us to remember.
Even writing a list helps a little, and that's why when you get to the grocery store and realize you've forgotten the list at home, you still remember most things, much more so than if you had not made a list.
When we draw, we are forced to consider things in more detail, and it is this deeper process that helps us to remember
To draw is to go one step further.
And if you think this technique will help you in particular because you are good at drawing, it is not so: the quality of the drawing has not made any difference.
3- Do some exercise at the right time
It has been known for some time that aerobic exercise, such as running, can improve memory.
Regular exercise has a generally moderate effect, but when you want to learn something in particular, what helps, it seems, is some intense exercise. That seems to help, at least in the short term.
But researchers believe that if we do it on time, the benefit to memory may be greater.
People who did 35 minutes of training at four-hour intervals after learning a list of paired pictures were more successful when they tried to remember both, than those who did the training right away.
In the future, researchers will try to explain when exercise is most beneficial depending on the kind of things we are trying to remember.
4 – Do nothing
When people who suffered from stroke amnesia received a list of 15 words to remember, and then received another task to do, 10 minutes later they could only remember 14% of the list.
On the other hand, when after learning the list they sat in a dark room doing nothing for 15 minutes, they managed to remember 49%.
Since then, the same technique has been used in several studies by researcher Michaela Dewar, from Herriot Watt University in the United Kingdom.
Dewar found that in healthy people, a short break after learning something, even helped remind him a week after learning it.
Maybe you're wondering how we know that people who stayed in the dark doing nothing for 10 minutes did not spend at that moment repeating what they learned not to forget.
To avoid this, Dewar used words to memorize in another language – and very difficult to pronounce – that could not be repeated exactly in themselves.
These studies show how new memories are fragile, so fragile that even a brief pause can make the difference between staying with us or disappearing.
5 – Take a nap
If walking back, drawing, doing exercises or even pausing seems like a lot, what about napping?
It is believed that sleep helps to consolidate memories by repeating or reactivating the information we have just learned, and that sleep does not have to occur at night.
Researchers in Germany found that when people had to learn words in pairs, they could remember more after sleeping for up to 90 minutes than after watching a movie.
The same thing showed researcher Elizabeth McDevitt and her team at the University of California Riverside in the United States, but with regard to visual learning and how it deteriorates throughout the day.
"We found that when people doze off, their performance does not deteriorate and often even improves," he said in an interview with the US NGO.
However, as these skills are reinforced in people who are accustomed to sleeping in the afternoon, McDevitt wondered if it was possible to train people to take a nap.
For four weeks, people who do not usually sleep in the afternoon tried to sleep once during the day. Unfortunately, that did not help to improve his memory.
Maybe they need to train more or maybe some just need to go back, or draw, run or just do nothing.