Practice makes perfect when it comes to improving your memory

 
By Amelia Beck • Published: June 15th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Have you ever tried to recall a long list or beat your friends at a memory game like concentration? A recent study shows that, with practice, you can strengthen your recall powers.

Researchers at the Radboud University Medical Center in The Netherlands studied 51 people who had typical memory skills and no former memory training. The researchers scanned their brains before and after they practiced memory training techniques on the participants.

The scientists used short-term memory training in which the participants tried to remember sequences. Then they used strategic memory training, which provides the participants with a systematic way to remember lists. They used loci [low-sigh] training, also referred to as the “Journey Method,” in which items on a list are associated with a specific physical location. Trainees mentally navigate through the physical location to help them recall the list.

Strategic memory training proved to be the most effective at increasing the participants’ memories. Before training, the study subjects could remember an average of 26 words. After 40 days of 30-minute strategic memory training, the participants could recall an average of 62 words.

And the effects did not wear off over time. Four months after the study, those who completed strategic memory training continued to have improved memories. Additionally, brain scans revealed that their brains changed to more closely resemble those of champion memory athletes.

Whether you’re studying for an exam or want to remember the items on the grocery list you left on the kitchen counter, practice makes perfect when it comes to improving your memory.