The more scientists study the processes affecting memory, the more interesting features they find. Besides, some of the principles are so unexpected, that you have hardly thought about them.
Memory is a “muscle”, which can be trained. Memory is the daily work that you should be busy with. Memory is a set of unusual factors, which are useful to know.
Mind the upright posture
Mothers, grandmothers and first teachers traditionally tell kids that nobody likes humpback people and nobody marries them, thus forcing the kids to watch their posture. In general, they are right, but the argument they choose is wrong. The research of the scientists from the University of San Francisco sounds much more convincing. According to this research, the upright posture increases the flow of oxygen to the brain by 40%. Of course, no excess oxygen will originate from it, but the memory function will improve. It does not matter whether you sit or stand – your back should not be curved!
It is worth telling about the research of German scientists from the University of Witten/Herdecke. They have found that the “happy” upright gait helps bring back positive memories, whereas bent posture leads to depressive thoughts. Shrug your shoulders and walk with confident steps and an upright posture!
Close your eyes
Remember how you or your classmates were standing at the blackboard trying to recite the poorly learned poem. When doing so, such “martyrs” firmly clenched their eyelids, trying to remember at least a couple of lines. This instinctive behavior really works, as evidenced by a two-stage study conducted at the University of Surrey in England.
In the first case, 178 participants of the experiment were shown a video of a criminal plumber, suffering from kleptomania, who never failed to take a trophy after having done his job properly. The participants of the study were randomly divided into two groups, one of which was offered to answer the questions about the details of what they had been watching with their eyes closed, and then the other group, with the eyes open, was expected to speak. As a result of the test, those who closed their eyes gave 23% more correct answers during the questioning.
During the second phase, the participants were asked to recall the sounds. Those who closed their eyes expectedly gave a better result.
It is also important to mention another scientific conclusion: friendly relations between the interviewer and those who ask questions increase the number of correct answers.
Hmm, it sounds strange, but true. The scientists from the University of Notre Dame said that people experience the so-called doorway effect when leaving or entering the room. The researchers argue that short-term recollections are removed from memory when one is passing through the doorway. That is, the door catalyzes getting rid of the thoughts that appeared in a particular environment.
But do not go to extremes and stay away from any door because the psychological effect has its reverse influence:
If you cannot remember which idea came to your mind last night in the bathroom, just go back there and plunge the brain into the atmosphere, which caused the thought.
Use unusual fonts
It’s no secret that various fonts are perceived by people differently: some are read quickly and easily, while others make your eyes tired after just a few paragraphs of reading. That is why quite modest, but well-tested sets of fonts are used in typography and web environment. This is useful for all of us: the readers of books and those who prefer online publications.
However, the psychologists from Princeton University and Indiana University advise reading texts in an unusual typography to better remember them. The researchers divided students into two groups, one of which was offered the educational material written in the usual Arial font, while the other got the Monotype Corsiva font.
The testing resulted as follows: an unusual font is remembered better, which leads to higher scores. Scientists attribute this effect to the fact that difficult to read fonts do not let your eyes glide over the lines. People unwittingly begin to read more thoughtfully and carefully, and therefore the meaning is better fixed in the memory.
Watch comedy series
It’s simple: half-hour laughter improves memory. This conclusion was made by the scientists from Loma Linda University, who conducted a simple experiment on two groups of elderly people. The first twenty volunteers watched a 30-minute humorous movie, while the other group was doing nothing at this time. After that, the participants of the study underwent a test of memory. The people with high spirits predictably showed much better results. This happened because:
Laughter reduces the levels of cortisol – a hormone that can cause damage to the nerve cells of the hippocampus – part of the brain responsible for the transformation of information into new memories.
In addition, endorphins are produced while laughing – these chemicals improve the mood and improve memory.
Chew a gum
According to Kate Morgan, chewing gums helps a person to focus on the tasks that require sustained attention for a long period of time.
The words of the scientists from Cardiff University are based on the research, which was attended by 38 people, divided into two groups. The scientists suggested the volunteers to perform a half-hour audio task, focused on the short-term people’s memory. The participants listened to the list of numbers and had to determine the sequence of odd and even numbers. The conclusions were curious and ambiguous: the participants without a gum demonstrated somewhat better results at the beginning, and went down to those who chewed a gum at the end of the class. Therefore, Kate advises taking a gum for long meetings or seminars.
Writing notes by hand
Modern lecture rooms are increasingly full of laptops and tablets, in which students record their lectures. For some, it is a chance to demonstrate their new MacBook, for someone –this is a way to prepare a crib ahead of time, and for someone it is the desire to write as much as possible. Indeed, well-organized blind printing allows capturing large amounts of information. However, electronic records are memorized worse than a good old handwriting.
Hand-written notes are better remembered than their electronic counterparts
This is the conclusion reached by researchers from Princeton University. They compared the test results of students who used computers to make lecture notes, with those who wrote them by hand. The students with a pen in hand referred to the information more accurately, could better identify relevant information and organized the material in their heads better. The authors of the experiment made a cautious statement that machine “shorthand” writing is not the best option for memorization and, accordingly, for performance.