Improve Memory With Age
The fallacy that mental abilities decline
with age was laid to rest by science back in the 70’s. Why then have so many
of us allowed ourselves to accept age as a reason for poor memory and
reduced mental capacity, when exactly the opposite is true? You can improve
memory even as age.
Because no matter what our age, we continue
to create new neural connections whenever our brain is stimulated. And the
more neural pathways we create, the more efficient our thinking becomes.
Neural connections are the secret behind improving memory!
Memory involves the process of Registering, Retaining and Recalling
information. Our brain, body and nervous system automatically records
or Registers our experiences.
For example, think of the volume of
information you had recorded by the time you were five years old. For most
of us that included at least one language and culture, our favorite foods,
clothes, TV characters and much more.
You didn’t think about recording all that information.
It just happened!
Retention is equally automatic.
Canadian Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield was making ground breaking discoveries
about memory back in the 1970’s at McGill University.
has pretty much proven that everything we have ever been exposed to – seen,
heard, felt, tasted or smelled – is recorded at some level in our mind
body. We seem to have perfect retention, just imperfect recall.
So the question is
How do you register important information to ensure easy
recall? So you can access what you know, when you need it. And not the
morning after an important exam or meeting!
The good news is that studies in
accelerated learning techniques have unlocked the secrets to easy recall and
The first key is your emotional
connection. As children in hyper learning mode we had an insatiable
curiosity for the world around us. We were motivated by the pure joy of
discovery. Learning was play and play was fun.
As adults, curiosity and motivation still
have an important role to play. Your brain and nervous system doesn’t like
boring activities and will automatically search for something more
intriguing to focus on. That means the first step to registering information
for easy recall is emotional engagement. Make it personal and make it
There are five other factors that impact our
ability to Recall information. Primacy, Recency, Linking,
Review all have a part to play.
- Primacy means you’ll remember more of what
you learned at the beginning of each event, meeting, study period or seminar
- Recency means you are apt to recall more of
the information presented or studied at the end of an event, meeting or
The effect of Primacy and
that your retention will be lower for information presented in the middle of events,
meetings or study session. And that’s where the following two elements make
a valuable contribution.
- Linking is the process of associating one
information to other related facts to create a strong chain where
any link can trigger memory and boosts recall for all.
plays on your brain’s attraction to novelty and variety.
Anything unusual easier to recall because it stands out in
the copious quantities of data you process every day.
- Review uses a series of quick well timed
re-exposures to embed a path to important information.
Start with two
minutes of review after 10 minutes, two minutes of review after an hour, two
minutes after 24 hours, 10 minutes after one week and again after one month
and 30 minutes after six months and you’ll multiply your ability to recall
important information. The schedule may vary depending on the context.
Take Advantage Of
When you can:
- Break an hour of study time into three
sessions of 20 to 30 minutes and by multiplying the effect of
Recency you will increase your retention and recall.
- Make your learning experience multi-sensory.
Use visually stimulating mind maps with colour codes and unique symbols.
Show connections and link information.
- Use acronyms, mnemonics and rhymes to trigger associations and link facts.
Use self sticking notes, flash cards and 1Brain
Gym® exercises to add a hands on component.
- Make it a habit to learn something new on a
regular basis and your mental agility will grow. Your brain and mind respond
just like a muscle in your body. Both grow stronger with exercise.
many excellent books on accelerated learning. Two personal favorites are
‘Accelerated Learning for The 21st Century,’ by Colin Rose and Malcom Nicholl and
‘The Mind Map Book,’ by Tony Buzan with Barry Buzan. Tony
Buzan also has a great Mind Map book for children.
Gym® exercises were developed by
Dr. Paul Dennison who publishes a number of
books and learning guides.
Another of my favorites on the subject is
a book called ‘Smart Moves, Why Learning Is NOT
All In Your Head’ by neurophysiologist Karla Hannaford. A
great resource for parents and anyone interested in how we learn.
Innergize (see link below) offers a half day
program Study Smart, based on some of the latest research in
accelerated learning techniques - tips, techniques and shortcuts.
Public workshops are hosted by Foran
Financial Institute and run bi-monthly. There is a special class for high
school and university students in
August. For more information and dates for this program go to
or phone 1-800-565-0374.