Memory Improvement

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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One of the tricks of memory improvement is making the irrelevant relevant. Have you ever picked up a medical dictionary and labored over the pronunciation of words that doctors rattle off effortlessly? Of course you have a difficult time; you've never used these words and have probably never even heard them said. If, however, you were forced to confront myocardial infarctions day in and day out, you'd have to know how to pronounce the words.

While our brains are able to store vast sums of data, they're also designed to drop extraneous info. You can imagine how burdensome it would be to carry around the steps involved in a highly sophisticated and challenging medical procedure if you weren't a doctor. Similarly, what a drain it would be for that doctor to tote around a visual blueprint of the home his or her architect were building. You wouldn't want to be a patient going under that doctor's knife if his or her mind were focused on floor plans and beams during your operation.

Memory Improvement: Make it Stick

The home, office, and car are familiar sites that just about everyone visits daily. To make a new lesson in Roman Civilizations or Impressionist painting stick then, try linking the names of emperors or artists to those things you see everyday. Maybe you use your scissors (Caesars) to cut out a newspaper ad on your desk. Just then, a gust (Augustus) of wind blows the ad off your desk in to the wastebasket. Silly? Perhaps. A useful memory improvement tool? Undoubtedly.

An alternative memory improvement strategy involves pegging items to well-known markers such as numbers. Here, a rhyming technique is most useful. Use the words that rhyme with digits (run, blue, ski, door) to create a fluid scene in which your listed items (be it painters, politicians, athletes, actors, or architects) fulfill their roles (running for Governor of California; building the Baptistry's door).

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