Research Shows That An Old Technique Can Significantly Improve Memory Power; Association Is Key?

By Jeff Thompson - 09 Mar '17 19:23PM
  • Unemployment Rate Drops To 9.7 Percent, Boosted By Temporary Jobs
  • (Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty) The method of loci is highly useful when people wanted to recollect too many things.

Recent research has confirmed that an old technique can improve sharpen the memory. A memory technique used by ancient Greeks show significant results in remembering things or words that are described. The research has also proved that ordinary people became equally competent compared to "memory athletes" in few weeks of training. Memory athletes are individuals who have excellent memory power as they use some techniques and patterns to memorize things.

Interestingly, the memory athletes conduct competitions and would be challenged to remember various information strings such as dates, facts, etc. They use both Greek and Roman skills to keep their memory power up, and these techniques are considered to be vital in helping people to follow Western intellectual tradition. Interestingly, many of the memory athletes say that they do not have any inherent memory power to remember things.

A memory athlete and a researcher at Stanford University, Boris Konrad and a group of researchers conducted a number experiments to show how training ordinary people and helping them to achieve high memory power, actually improving certain regions of the brain. The team took a group of 17 memory athletes and given them a word memorization test which averaged 71 out of 72 words. Before the test, the researchers also took the fMRI scans of the athletes to see which part is most active during the rest time of athletes.

Then, the researchers took a group of 51 untrained people and split them into three groups. The first group trained six weeks with the method of loci - the ancient Greek mnemonic method, where people remember things by relating to familiar routes or places. The second group received a memory training workout without any mnemonic method for six weeks, and the third group was not provided with any training. After six weeks, the loci method group neared the performance of memory athletes, whereas second and third group did not show any improvements from the previous state.

Additionally, the loci trained people showed a similar resting brain activity of memory athletes in fMRI scans. Per researcher William Shirer, these techniques won't give a flawless memory for people, but people who want to remember something specific would be greatly benefited with these.

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