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Use Memory Mnemonics: Dr. Brynn's Brain Boosters

April, 8 2019

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Dr. Brynn
Written By
Dr. Brynn
Topic
Brainscience

Use Memory Mnemonics: Dr. Brynn's Brain-Based Productivity Boosters

People often tell me their productivity (and ultimately motivation) is inhibited by an inability to remember: remember items on their cognitive 'to do' list, remember the advice they were given, or remember why they've entered a room...

In order to be maximally productive, improving one's memory is a good start. Knowledge is really the 'memory of having learned' something - so improving one's memory also helps with improving how smart people perceive you to be ;)

Enter 'Memory Mnemonics' - a cognitive tool the ancient Romans are credited with having pioneered the first of: Memory Mnemonics are almost like little games you can play in your head to help you remember things.

The Ancient Romans used to 'peg' information to columns. As example, each column in a colosseum might represent a different idea or story or piece of information. The individual would then walk the columns reciting passages or thinking of specific items, ideas, stories, excerpts - assigning one to each column. Then, when they wanted to remember that idea or item, they would 'walk the columns' - revisiting the column helped recall the idea, story, information etc. (context and location-specific memory).

What the Romans soon discovered was even more amazing: in fact, once the information had been cognitively embedded in a specific column, you didn't have to actually physically re-visit the column - you just had to envision or remember it: remembering the column incited the rest of the information the person had embedded there!

Later, biologists noticed that part of the reason this likely works so well, is for the same reason that squirrels can remember where their acorns are buried: humans often encode information into neural networks using geographic markers for the reasons that the part of the brain that remembers directions and locations in three-dimensional space is the same part of the brain that encodes information from short- into long-term memory.

So, if you want to be more productive and improve your memory, this week, seek to encode information in a cognitive geography - like in a house or neighborhood or into items in a room, and when you need that information - just revisit the place you originally 'put down' the idea - you'll find it that much easier to pick up again! Try it and let me know how it goes!



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