There’s some groundbreaking research around memory, that due to the fact it’s relegated to academia, we never really hear about.
We did some digging and here’s 5 facts you should know about your memory:
1. Attention doesn’t turn on memory:
This is a cool fact. We go on and on about ‘paying attention’ but research published in Psychological Science, has found that memory needs to be turned on to actually work. So how do you turn it on? Tell people they’re going to be tested. When people think you’re going to test them their memory recall is doubled.
This is best summed up by the researcher Dr Brad Wymble who says:
‘It seems memory is sort of like a camcorder, if you don’t hit the record button…it’s not going to remember what the lens is pointed at’.
2. Listen then nap
Power Naps (ie. sleeps under an hour) greatly improve memory.
A study in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, found that participants that had a 45-60 min sleep after hearing information were better at remembering it than those who remained awake.
3. Recalling a memory, leads to forgetting others
This is kindof crazy, a study in Nature Neuroscience, has shown that when you recall a memory that actually leads to the forgetting of other ‘competing memories’. To the point that everytime that specific memory was recalled it become stronger while the others become weaker.
The researcher Dr Michael Anderson says:
‘People are used to thinking of forgetting as something that’s passive. Our research revels that people are more engaged than they realise in shaping what they remember of their lives’.
A great example of when this comes into play – eyewritness testimonies:
‘When a witness is asked to recall specific information about an event, they are then quizzed time and time again, it could well be to the detriment of associated memories’.
We’ll quiz you later on these facts 😉