Unlocking the Memory Power ( The sharper Mind )
" i walked into the kitchen and suddenly wondered why i went there. What was i thinking of?""Now that i've reached middle-age, i can't expect my memory to serve me well. Forgetting just comes with the territory, i guess."
People can learn a variety of different things. We can lean to tie our shoes, ride bicylce, swim, type, playing guitar/piano, phone numbers,names, master foreign laguages and so on. The list is endless. Yet, none of this
learning is useful unless we can remember what we have learned. Without memory we would have to relearn each skil or fact daily as if we had never experienced it before. your two-pound brain can store more than the
average computer. But humans, unlike computers, also forget. We, forget birthdays, phone numbers, names and appointments, among other things. Memory is a complex mental process with different facets. Understanding the three basic memory skills your brain performs is essential if you are to make the most of them.Modern research has identified three kinds of memory. One declines with age, one remains fairly constant, and one, psychologists maintain, can actually improve throughout life. Semantic Memory refers to the general knowledge and factial material you store in your head. The information you use on the job as well as those bits of infos you use to re spond a TV quiz shows or crossword puzzles are
good examples of semantic memory. This kind of memory actually improces as we fo through life and acquire more general knowledge about the external world. Such improvement is afforded those who continue to keep
their minds active.
Implicit memory doesn't decline with age; it stays fairly constant. It is a kind of moror or kinesthetic memory, including such skills as typing, playing piano, swimming, and bike riding. If you were a good typist or a pianist in
high, school, your fingers will feel comfortable on a keyboard now. A little practice will restore confidence. After a 20-year hiatus, you can still ride a bike if you had this skill as a child. The balance and coordination that
took so long to master at age eight will come back with little practice. Your body seems to " remember" how to ride, swim, type, and so forth.The only kind of memory that seems to decline with age is Episodic memory. This refers to personal , autobiographical incidents, such as what you ate for lunch yesterday, your neighbor's phone, the place for tomorrow's
meeting, and of course, " Why did i walk into the kitchen?" I will try my best to publish the strategies in this blog for reducing the loss of episodic memory ( keep visiting )
The first step in remembering anything is to Register it. For example, you have just meet a fren in one seminar and he introduces himself as JACK..you are concentrating on the seminar topic and after the seminar is
finished you again meet him but surprisingly you begin with, " I'm sorry, but i forgot your name." Wrong. You didn't forget his name. You never resgistered his name. If you heard it, you didn't register the name. How can you remember something that you didn't access or attend to in the first place? Registration is a form of input. As like we input information to the computer through keyboard, its similar. If you skip input and dont put the name, fact or info into memory because you weren't paying attention, there will
be nothing to remember. It is essestial to input or register the thing you wanna remember. Pay attention. Our inability to remember names, in most cases, is due to not attending in the first place. Concentration is another handmaiden of registration. A mind free from distraction or worry, a relaxed mood, physically and mentally-- all favorably affect your ability to concentrate on what you wanna remember. If these
conditions are not present, begin to blame them, not your memory, if you can't remember...
If you do register the name, fact, or skill, you will now want to store it for future reference. Such efficient sotrage is called retention. When placing items in your memory bank for retention, you can't just toss them in as if
your brain were the Grand Canyon! We need pegs or other devices to help us store all the information we register.Well organized people retain information better than disorganized people. If your doctor has evening hours on thrusday, file that wat in your mental file cabinet in the appropriate drawer and in the correct manila folder.
Thrusday is also your spouse's bowling night. "I can go the the doctor after he or she leaves for the bowling for me. " By doing this, you have now taken the first step to remembering the doctor's late office hours--you have
made associations i repeat associations ( association plays a crucial or vital role in remembering ).
Retention, or the storage phase of memory, is strengthened by interest, observation, association, and repetition. The mere act of learning a term, price list, stock quote, or name so that is can be recalled once or twice is not
sufficient for good retention. Data must be practiced, reviewed, or even relearned into regular use also stengthens retention. The juggler who can toss three balls at once does not stop practicing the trick as soon as he
acquires it. He continues, hoping to retain and improve his skill. So, too, with retention of information. Once registered, you must continue to review the information if you wanna retain it.
Retrieval is the process of calling up an item from memory when we need it. When we remember something, we've retrieved it from the retention or storage phase of memory. This becomes easier if we classify or
categorize the item at the time we place it in our memory bank. Then we have a variety of cues to help us access the information. A good way of calling up a memory is to recall all or part of the code that was used to file it
away. For example, you and your friend enjoyed seeing The Phantom of Opera on Broadway. In your mind you classified it under Andrew Llyoyd Webber, musical, or even your friend's name. Anyone of these are
retrieval cues. They refer to the information used to access a memory trace. These cues help you in the same way as key words help a librarian locate reference material.Retrieval is the payoff. If you have registered and retained the information properly, you'll not have a problem calling up the memory item when you need it. Occasionally, you may suffer from TOT. the tip-of-the-tongue
syndrome. That is the experience of trying to recall a specific word or name but not quite being able to get it. Perhaps you can tell what letter the name starts with, what it rhymes with, or its length, but not the name itself.
We explore this phenomenon in later posts....
( source: The sharper mind, Fred B. Chernow )
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