Friday, 25 May 2012

Improve your memory

A recent study from the Mayo Clinic suggests that both mental and physical exercise can lower the risk of memory loss. Following on from our blogs on dementia here are some tips, supported by psychological research, on ways to improve our memory.

  1. Write about your problems – by writing for 20 minutes, a few times a month, about something traumatic that has happened to you, a study by Yogo & Fujuhara (2008) showed that participants’ working memory improved after five weeks. 
  2. Look at a natural scene – by walking among the trees in an arboretum, participants’ in Berman, Jonides & Kaplan’s (2008) study, did 20% better on a memory test than those who went for a walk around busy streets. Even looking at pictures of nature, it seems, can have a beneficial effect. 
  3. Say it out loud – MacLeod et al. (2010) found saying words aloud or even mouthing them led to a 10% improvement in memory. 
  4. Meditate – Zeidan et al. (2010) found meditating for four sessions of 20 minutes, once a day boosted participants’ working memory and other cognitive functions. 
  5. Predict your performance – asking ourselves whether or not we'll remember something can improve our memory. Meier et al. (2011) tested participants’ prospective memory (remembering to do something in the future) and found that trying to predict performance increased by almost 50% for some. 
  6. Use your body – we think with our bodies as well as our minds. Kelly et al. (2009) found that gesturing while teaching Japanese verbs to English speakers helped participants encode the memory. Dijkstra et al. (2007) also found that we recall past episodes better when we are in the same mood, or our bodies are in the same position. 

First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440,
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411,
Borders: 01896-800-400,

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