How Does Memory Work ?
Your memory is very complex and quite interesting to think about. Try and think about a time that required you to remember something important. Not just an exciting trip you had with friends or something new you learned that caught your attention, but something tedious instead.
Difficult, isn’t it? Well the truth is you can improve your memory instantly by using the techniques mentioned in this article. But, first let’s take a look at the brain and what goes on when you try to remember certain things.
So, what happens inside your brain when you recall something ? Whenever you remember something your brain sends a signal like a phone call to your memory network.
Your memory network consists of the cerebellum, hippocampus, and various other parts that work as a team constructing new memories from square one. Think of it as a series of highways that all spread to specific districts.
Scientists think that memory works like this.
At first your brain logs the memory, this process is called encoding. Most people forget something right after being acquainted with it such as a word or some type of information. For example when a friend mentions his or her dog’s name.
We tend to forget things right after being introduces to them, perhaps because we weren’t giving it our full focus or weren’t paying much attention to it.
This doesn’t mean your memory is bad, it just simply means that your brain hasn’t encoded it yet.
The next step in the process is called consolidation. This step is what helps the memory stick.
One way your memory stays as a memory is if you recall the information over and over again. This step is what scientists call retrieval. By using this step in the process regularly you can significantly strengthen your memory.
However, this is not the only procedure that you can use to improve your memory. There are many studies out there that have proved different techniques actually train your brain to perform in a way you never imagined it could.
And, remember practice makes perfect. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Today, we are going to go over a very powerful technique that uses the visual portion of your brain.
The visual part of your brain or when your brain uses imagination is the network of neurons sending data between each other flowing from the parietal lobe to the occipital lobe.
The power of imagination is boundless. Some of you might think i’m crazy, but if you just hear me out and hold off doubt for one second and try it for yourself you will be surprised at how much you can remember.
The key to memorizing something through imagery is to associate the word you are trying to learn with a word you already know. To associate, in this case, means to visualize an image or picture.
But How can we visualize something that is abstract like a name of a town, or a scientific term, or a math equation?
The answer is much more simple than you think. Instead of thinking about the word and what you can associate it with, think about when you pronounce the word and what it sounds like and then associate the sound with something.
For example, lets use the place “Bizmarck” (a City in North Dakota). The city name Bizmarck isn’t easily memorized since it isn’t a frequently used word like fruit or table. So let’s break down this word by how it sounds when we say it aloud.
The first thought that springs to mind when I say the word “Bizmarck” is “business”, likely because the beginning of the word business sounds exactly like the first part of “Bizmarck”.
So I picture in my mind a business with employees working together as a whole. It could be any business of any kind and the more peculiar and bizarre it is , the easier it will be to recall.
Using the second part of the word, in this case it’s “marck”, and I picture someone firing a bow and arrow, with the arrow hitting the center of a target.
Remember, the more silly the image is the easier it will be to remember.
So lets say I picture my employees painting a townhouse multiple colors. Or, instead of picturing people as my employees, i’ll imagine that the workers are actually otters.
So now I have a group of otters painting a townhouse yellow and pink. This method can go on and on. Your visualization is endless, you could use things from dragons, to mystical creatures, to dinosaurs, anything really ! There is no limit to imagination.
But, don’t take my word for it, give it a try for yourself. So go ahead, and continue on with the second part of the word and picture something exciting or out of the ordinary. You will be sure to see results.
What are some other guidelines to follow when using visualization ?
Well, we went over one fun method to memorize abstract information. But, did you know that people encode information in their mind using different senses?
Yup, its true for some people their eyes are their most powerful sense, but for others it could be smell or hearing. And that’s just a slice of the pie! You should include action during your visualization.
You can use touch in your imagery and also, don’t think that just because your senses aren’t great you can’t use imagination. You can always learn and improve. Like I said earlier in the article, practice makes perfect.
Once you learn that vivid imagination can help you with your memory you will be addicted to the point you won’t want to stop using imagery as a tool for everything.
I encourage everyone reading to try this technique for yourselves. You will be surprised at what that powerful brain of yours can accomplish.