A popular analogy for a computer’s memory management systems is the human mind.In this analogy, the hard drive of a computer is equivalent to a mind’s Long Term Memory. The RAM of a computer corresponds to one’s Short Term Memory.
However, one main divergence arises: in a computer, one can easily upgrade memory by purchasing a bigger hard drive disc or plugging in an upgraded RAM chipset. One cannot do this for the human brain.
Luckily, there are methods for expanding the human memory capacity. Here are 11:
- Multiple Exposure – A common example for this tip is the average college student. For most college courses, a direct positive correlation exists between attendance and good grades. This is the result of extra exposure. Even if a student does not take notes during the class, her brain is still processing the information. Later when said student studies for an exam or does her homework, her brain will recall some of the information from the class and studying will be easier and more of a refresher. This is why most courses and education establishments employ the 3-exposure technique known as lecture, homework, and exams.
- Pay More Attention to More Difficult Information – This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked. In reality, when we are taking in information for an extended period of time, we tend to lose focus after some time or fall into an expectation of the quality of information. When the quality changes, we may continue taking it in as our expectations propose. Think of it again, as a college student. To take notes on every word a professor utters would be difficult and counter productive. To be as efficient as possible, we must be aware of information quality changes and act accordingly.
- Learn What Kind of Learner You Are – We all learn differently. Some of us learn best through visual cues, some through auditory cues, and others through pure hands-on experience. Most of us are a mixture of all three, but specialize in one. Use this test to determine what kind of learner you are and from now on, try to use it to your advantage.
- Teach – A great test to tell if you really understand something is to teach it to another person. Not only does it verify that you fully know the material and make obvious to you the aspects on which you need to improve, but it serves as an additional exposure.
- Relate – Intelligence is the ability to take what you know and relate it to new subjects. When you are learning new or difficult information, take a few moments aside and think about an analogy that relates the information with something you already know. The ability to say “this is like that” will have a great positive impact on your ability to remember “this”.
- Repetition – This is one of the most common memory hacks. When you find yourself trying to remember something, just repeat it to yourself aloud multiple times (if you are an auditory learner) or writing it down multiple times (if you are a more visual learner). This is an offshoot of multiple exposures and learning what kind of learner you are. It increases your exposure to the information and banks on what kind of learning fits you best.
- Get The Old Ticker Tickin’ – Getting your heart beating can greatly improve brain functions and brain volume. In a recent study, aerobic exercises three times a week for 1 hour in exercisers ranging from age 60 to 79 has shown brain volume increases to match the volumes of people 2 to 3 years younger
- Catch Those Z’s – Cut out your sleep and you cut out your body’s ability to repair itself. During consciousness, your brain delegates many resources to environment processing, response, and decision-making simulation among many other things. While you sleep, all these resources can be used to repair overused neuron connections and workout underused connections. Get your shut-eye, enhance your memory.
- Employ Other Senses – Ever smell sun tan lotion and be reminded of a beach experience? Ever smell a pine tree and recall fondly a past holiday season? This is because smell is the sense most closely related to memory. Why not use this knowledge to your advantage and exploit your sense of smell? Next time you are trying to remember a piece of information, take out your nearest aromatic food item and smell it while reviewing the information. Next time you need to remember said information, bring along with you the food item. The smell will help you remember. This also works with taste but often not as well. I find chocolate works best for the taste version.
- A Bottle of Red… – Well, maybe not a bottle… One glass will do. Studies show that increased brain activity from crossword puzzles or brain teasers for about an hour followed up with a glass of red wine may help to preserve your memory. Studies conducted by Philippe Marambaud, PhD. show that the chemical compound resveratrol, which is found in red wine, may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Grab A Cup o’ Joe – Caffeine provides a boost to those parts of the brain involved with short-term memory, attention, and concentration. When you know you will be utilizing these three functions, help your self to a cup of coffee or anything else that provides roughly 100 milligrams of caffeine. Be wary though as the effects of caffeine only last about 45 minutes before a refueling is required.
It is always a good idea to try to increase your memory. Just like popping a new RAM chip into your laptop, everything you do will get a speed and efficiency boost. Good luck!
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