Experts encourage making what needs to be remembered, “stand out”, in one way or another. This certainly helps, but it can be hard work.
This week’s Neurotechnology Tip, provides a NO WORK strategy, to get the information you’ve just “learned”, to stick a little more, than it normally would.
The no work learning tactic
I know, I know……….. NO WORK, sounds a bit fishy – you may be thinking, no way, there is no such thing as a FREE lunch.
But it turns out taking a “lunch break”, at just the right moment, FREES up brain networks. The down time on the network, allows the new info to be uploaded completely.
The upload can then be saved somewhere inside the brain, for later use.
If you don’t complete the upload, invariably the info ends up not being saved on the brain hard drive.
Meaning that when you look for it later – it is gone !
Uploading memories so you remember more
Researchers tested upload strategies, on a group of older adults, between the ages of 61 and 87.
The study participants were told two short stories and instructed to remember as many details as possible. At the end of the story, the research team did a quick test to ascertain what had been remembered.
This was followed up with either a 10 minute “snooze” i.e. the sit still and contemplate your navel experience or a quick game of spot-the-difference between two pictures.
The contemplate your navel group, were told to rest quietly, while the experimenter sorted out the next test. The lights in the room were turned down and the experimenter disappeared, leaving them to their navel gazing.
Navel gazing did the trick
The participants contemplated grocery lists, day dreamt etc. in the darkened quiet room….
The navel gazers, remembered a whole lot more about the story 30 minutes later, compared to the spot-the-difference gamers.
Ditto, a week later.
Navel gazing, immediately after learning new stuff – served to cement the new stuff in.
Do a spot of navel gazing to remember more
So if you have lots to learn, a spot of navel gazing might just do the trick.
It really is NO WORK.
Just sit still, close your eyes for a few minutes, contemplate your navel and chill.
NB. Sitting still chilling does not mean use the downtime to check your phone for messages. No phone, no stimulation, no nothing.
The quiet moment of contemplation seals the deal, completing the initial upload of the data file, so that you have a much great chance of finding the data file later.
PS. You may need to provide your teacher/lecturer with the research article is you try this one out during class.Brief wakeful resting boosts new memories over the long term. Psychological Science (2012). 23(9):955-960. Michaela Dewar, Jessica Alber, Christopher Butler, Nelson Cowan and Sergio Della Sala.
To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below