More about Storing Memories 
General - Page 2

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  • Use all the senses
    If you can use not only your sense of sight but any or all of the other four senses in your remembrances, then as these pieces of information are all stored in different parts of the brain, you have many more chances of bringing the information back to mind when it is needed.
For example: Suppose that you met someone in the middle of a crowded city street who told you something you really wanted to remember.  You could mentally file it away not only as a picture of the occasion, but also remember the noise of the traffic and of his/her voice as you heard the news, the smell of the exhaust fumes, the feel of the hard pavement under your feet and perhaps even the taste of the gum you were chewing.   Every association is a help.
  • Give yourself enough TIME to store the information
    Especially when you are new to the game, it takes time to make the necessary associations and visualisations.  This can be very difficult at a party for instance where you meet several new people in quick succession.  Once you have got into your routine for remembering names and making quick associations, it definitely gets easier, but to begin with you may have to withdraw a little from the socialising to get your thoughts sorted out.
    Making notes later can be very useful.
  • Reiterate and repeat, repeat repeat ..........
    Repetition is vital to the memory process, and when we were young we did a great deal of this with multiplication tables and spellings, with the result that many of these things learnt long ago are second nature. The fact is that by repeating something often enough a great number of connections are forged in the brain, and retrieval becomes easy and instantaneous.
    So anything you want to be sure of remembering should be reviewed within an hour, then again several hours later, just before bedtime and then again the next day.  If we look at the facts again a week later and then after a month, the information should be fully embedded in memory.
  • Break material to be remembered into small chunks (and the reverse)
    This title may seem contradictory, but the fact is that if you have something long and complicated to remember, then it is best to break it up into manageable chunks and memorise a piece at a time, gradually adding to the length of the memorised piece.
    The reverse is also true in that, if you have a large number of single figures or words to remember, then it is much easier to carry them in your mind if you can join them together into 'chunks', so that maybe you would end up with 3 two figure numbers to remember, rather than six separate figures.
    It is a proven fact that the short term memory can in most people only store seven items of information at a time, so the larger you can make each chunk, the better.
  • Do not attempt too much at any one time
    There is also research evidence to prove that several short learning sessions are more fruitful than one long one.  We seem to remember best those things we hear or learn at the beginning and the end of a session, so the more beginnings and endings you can arrange, the better.
  • Learn where you are likely to want to remember
    It is a quirky and interesting fact that we remember information best when placed in the physical and possibly mental context in which we learnt it.
    Thus, if you want to remember information in the examination room, don't do all your revision on the beach.
    Research was done with divers who had to learn strings of numbers when underwater.   When on dry land again, they were tested on what they had learnt, but could not easily retrieve the memories.  These were best recalled when they were again immersed in the water!
  • Rearrange material to be meaningful to you personally
    Lists can be arranged in groupings of similar items, or so that they are similar to information with which you are already familiar, such as clock times, famous dates or sports records.
  • Say things out loud
    Anything you are trying to remember will be more easily assimilated if you say the words out loud and really listen to yourself saying them.  It doesn't matter if those around think you are going mad, it's all in a good cause.
  • Be determined to remember
    Life is meaningless without memory, so knowing this will help us all to be determined to do everything in our power to keep memory keen, and thus maintain our quality of life.

    When, after all this hard work on memory, you still forget some things, don't be hard on yourself. Realise that everyone is in the same boat and
    take a minute to think of all the millions of things you do remember.

    The man who thinks over his experiences most and weaves them into systematic relations with each other will be the one with the best memory.
    William James

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