Learning can be incidental. We all memorize facts without paying much attention to these facts or without willing to memorize them. However, when one really wants to memorize a fact, it is crucial to pay attention. Many studies have shown that compared to full attention conditions, dividing attention during study time leads to poor memory performance.
This exercise will help you practice focusing your attention.
It may seem easy but make sure you count twice!
Count the number of “Y” in this text:
Yesterday, Lucy went all the way to Boston. She wanted to buy new shoes. She had to go in many shops before she found the shoes she wanted. She was happy to stop at a restaurant to have some tea and cookies before she took the train back home.
Count the number of “F” in this text:
Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years.
Count the number of “E” in this text:
Last summer, Jean and Harriet spent their vacation in Michigan. They rented a cabin on the lake. The cabin had two bedrooms and a nice deck. They used to spend a lot of time on the deck, just looking at how the light would change on the water. Several times, they borrowed bikes from their neighbors and spent a few hours exploring the villages not far from their cabin.
There are 7 “Y” in the first text.
There are 6 “F” in the second text (got them?)
There are 38 “E” in the third text.
– Pascale Michelon, Ph. D., is SharpBrains’ Research Manager for Educational Projects. Dr. Michelon has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and has worked as a Research Scientist at Washington University in Saint Louis, in the Psychology Department. She conducted several research projects to understand how the brain makes use of visual information and memorizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Faculty at Washington University.