In the first part, we learnt the basics of memory and a few methods to improve it. In this part, we’ll explore some more techniques for memory improvement.
1. Use connections and visualize them!
Any crazy connection will do. Just use ’em and connect the stuff already present in your brain with the new information you want to remember. You can use numbers, associate pictures, or even make a story using the connections. Please note that crazier your connections, easier will it be to retrieve when in need. That’s how human memory works. It ignores the everyday things, which are boring and banal and picks up things which are different and interesting! Haven’t you ever wondered that you could still remember some of the childhood stories mom used to tell at bedtime? Or, you must have a full sense of the first person you ever fell in love with? This is because the brain registered it as an important event and so it stored it right in the long term memory.
We can use this technique to improve our memories. Just tag it with some other thing which is already there in the long term memory.
I’ll discuss a very popular method. Let us say we have a list of 6 things that we’re supposed to buy from the market. By using this method, you’ll be able to remember the list effortlessly and that too in the same order they’re written. So, here’s a typical list of shopping items:
Chocolate, pencil, eggs, dustbin, water-bottle, bed-sheet.
You need to remember all the items in the same sequence they’re written. Please note that we have to focus upon making crazy and odd connections between items and interweave a good story and at the same time visualizing the story in the mind. Here’s a sample upon how to do that:
You’re at your lawn and suddenly you see a river of molten chocolate is flowing towards you. Then you hear a strange noise from north direction, suddenly you see pencil-arrows getting fired from north. You run away and try to hide behind a very big white egg. The egg is as big as an elephant, so you’re saved from the pencil attack. But, the egg breaks from the attack. Now, you have to clean-up all the mess, so you put the broken egg pieces into the dustbin. As the egg was very big, you got tired of the work and you need some water. So, you bring out your water-bottle and pour all of it in your mouth. Enough of stories. You don’t have a bag and you are supposed to take all those items to your home. So, you take a bed-sheet, put the items upon it, wrap it around and tie it.
How difficult was it? Make interesting stories and there you go – you remembered the list quite easily!
The list-problem could be approached in a different way too. Close your eyes, enter your house and start to deploy the items sequentially as you move on. Put the chocolate right near your doorstep, you have to do your signature from a pencil upon your house door to open it. As soon as you enter the house, an egg falls over your head and so on…Develop your own method for better understanding!
2. Mnemonics. Use of mnemonics can improve the information retention to a much larger extent. Let us see various aspects of it:
Formation of rhymes. Just a random set of data would be difficult but rhymes are easier to remember. Almost every one of us can still recite the poem twinkle twinkle little star.
Here’s an example of use of rhymes:
In electronics, there is a colour coding for the resistors, where different colour represent different values of the multipliers ranging from 1 to 9. Here a popular rhyme to remember the colour codes in the order:
B.B.Roy Of Great Britain Has a Very Good Wife.
Here, each capital letter represents the first letter of the colour.
B for black, then brown, red, orange, green, blue and so on…
Music! Did you ever thought how do you remember the lyrics of so many songs? Make your own song or connect the stuff you want to remember with songs. That helps a lot.
How to remember Numbers?
Apart from the chunking method, there are a few other methods too to remember long sequence of numbers. Assign every digit with a mnemonic item. Later, those items could be remembered using the connections method.
Here is a typical example:
One = Sun
Two = Shoe
Three = Tree
Four = Door
and so on…You can add up the rhyming words yourself. Now, the boring number 3241 could be replaced by tree-shoe-door-sun. The tree wearing a big shoe opens the door to welcome the Sun! For long sequences, you’ll really appreciate this method.
Flash Cards. These are cards which have questions on one side and their answers at the other side. You can remember almost every factual thing using the help of flash cards. First read the facts one by one. Next, view the question side only and answer them. Depending upon the difficulty you had in retrieving the answer, you could schedule the revision time accordingly. Flash cards are typically used in improving the vocabulary or learning the words of a foreign language.
Apart from the techniques mentioned, a good diet, a proper night’s sleep and meditation also has positive effects on the memory.
Keep breathing, keep learning!