Don’t Get Lost in Your Memory Palace

The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage — curiosity, creativity and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’ -David Suzuki

Memory is a funny thing. It’s easy to recall (in extreme detail) those embarrassing moments that happened decades ago, but it feels near impossible to remember what you had for dinner last night. This defect of the mind is particularly frustrating when trying to learn something new. You can sit for hours studying or practicing and after the lesson, be unsure what it is you even learned.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to master new skills if we all had Sherlock Holmes-like memory? Sure, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, but as it turns out, his mysterious brain power is not so much a fictional concept.

Anybody can practice and implement memory techniques that drastically improve their ability to learn and process new information quickly.

News that matters

➜ Last Wednesday, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital reported findings that have helped them classify a new group of drugs as potential therapeutics for Alzheimer’s. This research has brought doctors one step closer to treating the world’s most common neurodegenerative disease.

➜ A new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University sought to measure the effectiveness of two common brain exercises used to improve memory. The study compared results from one group of participants who used the ‘dual n-back’ method to another group who used a technique called the ‘complex span.’ The findings suggest that the dual n-back method is more effective — increasing participants’ cognitive abilities by 30%.

What we’re reading

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein follows Joshua Foer’s quest to improve his memory by learning from the greats. He provides an in-depth understanding of how our brains work, explains the science behind memory, and analyzes the memory techniques used throughout history.

Memory Palace Science: Proof That This Memory Technique Works

The memory palace (aka mind palace) is a tool that can be used to effectively memorize loads of information fairly quickly. This is a long-form article that shares the history of the ‘memory palace’ and explains how you can make one of your own.

What we’re listening to

Brain Power, Study and Concentration

Listening to music while learning helps improve focus, recall, and memory. Here’s a great playlist to listen to while you study or work.

What we’re watching

What if Schools Taught Us How to Learn?

Why do schools teach us what to learn and not how to learn? Check out Jonathan Levi’s talk about speed reading, memory palaces, and accelerated learning.

Originally published on our M-F Newsletter.

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