Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Memory Improvement Techniques and Brain Exercises

Fitness TrainerA read­er (thanks Mike!) sends us this fun arti­cle, titled A mat­ter of train­ing, on how to train our mem­o­ry. Some quotes:

It’s a skill, not a tal­ent. It’s some­thing any­one could have picked up … I’m not born with this. It’s about train­ing and tech­nique, he says, explain­ing his unusu­al abil­i­ty. Anant holds the Lim­ca Record  the Indi­an equiv­a­lent of the Guin­ness Record œ for mem­o­ris­ing 75 tele­phone num­bers, along with the names of their own­ers, in less than an hour. He is recog­nised as “the man with the most phe­nom­e­nal mem­o­ry in India.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, most peo­ple think that mem­o­ris­ing is very dif­fi­cult. The moment they see some­one demon­strate some­thing like this, they think it’s out of this world.

If you want to remem­ber some­thing, you have to link it to some­thing you already know. Asso­ci­a­tion is the nat­ur­al prin­ci­pal. For exam­ple, if you need direc­tions to a place, a land­mark is often used as a point of ref­er­ence. And if you derive plea­sure from some­thing you do, there’s a good chance you’ll remem­ber it. Since the brain already works in this man­ner, why don’t we take con­trol of it?

To me, an intel­li­gent per­son is some­one who is able to put togeth­er more of his skills to solve a prob­lem. Intel­li­gence is about using strate­gies.

The key con­cept here is that mem­o­ry, as well as oth­er cog­ni­tive skills, can be trained through direct­ed exer­cise. Which means we can improve our peak capac­i­ty, and also delay poten­tial decline. Now, there are not mag­ic pills, but “brain fit­ness” exer­cis­es, in the same way we go to the gym to train some mus­cles. You can read about a very pow­er­ful mem­o­ry tech­nique, called loci method or mem­o­ry palace, that requires train­ing and has been used since clas­sic Greece. Maybe the Old­est Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram?

In the relat­ed post Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and Life­long Learn­ing we talked about oth­er types of “brain exer­cis­es”:

Just today we found out that Sharp sums in the head aim to blunt impact of TV, on a top­ic we have been dis­cussing for a few weeks with sev­er­al of our sci­en­tif­ic advi­sors. We quote:

Gilles de Robi­en, the Edu­ca­tion Min­is­ter (in France), has ordered chil­dren to car­ry out between 15 and 20 min­utes of cal­cul men­tal (men­tal arith­metics) every day from the age of 5. Mr de Robi­en moved after a report from the French Sci­ence Acad­e­my said that chil­dren who prac­ticed sums in their heads had bet­ter mem­o­ries and quick­er brains.

Ques­tions for the final year of French pri­ma­ry school

Cal­cu­late in your head

  1. Half of 48, 72, 414, 826 and 1,040
  2. Three times 41, 52, 109, 212 and 503
  3. A third of 12, 66, 93, 309, 636 and 3,024
  4. 76–9, 987–9, 456–19, 497–19 and 564–29
  5. 154, 254, 30×4, 354, 404 and 454

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