The Easiest Way To Boost Long-Term Memory

Posted on December 6, 2017

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A recent study published in the journal, Memory, finds that simply reading something out loud is the easiest way to boost your memory. The very action of speaking something out loud and hearing yourself say it greatly helps in the boosting of long-term memory.

This is something that psychologists call 'The Production Effect': We remember things better when we read them out aloud rather than when we read silently to ourselves.

Co-author of the study, Professor Colin M. Macleod, confirms that "learning and memory benefit from active involvement" and that when an "active measure or production element" is added to a word, that word becomes "more distinct in long-term memory" and hence "more memorable". In the study, the various different ways of learning written information were compared:
1. reading silently
2. hearing someone else read it
3. listening to a recording of oneself
4. reading aloud in real time
The fourth option, reading aloud in real time, had emerged as the most effective method of learning among the three. Authors of the study explain that the production would be memorable in part as it includes a "distinctive, self-referential component", and this also underlines why rehearsal is so valuable in learning and remembering - we do it ourselves, and we do it in our own voice. When the time comes to recover that information, the distinctive component can be an aid in helping us remember what we need to. Some practical applications of this research could be, when you think of seniors who have been given the advice to do puzzles and crosswords to help with the strengthening of memory, you can also think of the study, which suggests that the idea of action or activity also improves memory. On top of that, we also know that regular exercise and movement are also strong building blocks for good memory.

Reading aloud can be a simple but important step taken in order to aid with memory retention, especially in the elderly. However, this can also work for anyone, from students in school to adults in the office. It is a simple and effective way to help one remember better.

The study's authors conclude that "production is a simple but versatile learning strategy".

Aside from speaking something out loud, mouthing, writing, and typing words can also be used as memory-enhancing productions. There is evidence that drawing pictures also help. As long as the production element is added to the 'something' that you are trying to learn, the memory will become more accessible and distinct. With that being said, the strength of the effectiveness of each of these measures will vary as well.

This study can be found here.


Source material from PsyBlog

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