The hot panic of realizing you forgot something is trickling and awful. What makes the feeling worse is the sinking thought that, yep, this probably could have been avoided if you had been more mindful or intentional in remembering. Now, new research seems to indicate you can head off that horrible forgetting sensation with sheer willpower and practice.
According to Science Daily, researchers from Nueron reported that after 40 days of daily 30-minute training sessions, individuals with typical memory skills doubled their memory capacity. After four months, without any additional training, their recall performance remained high.
Study participants were given a list of 72 words and asked to remember as many names as they could. Before the training they recalled an average of 26 words, and after the training they recalled an average of 62. “After training we massively increased performance on memory tests,” says first study author Martin Dresler, assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience at Radboud University Medical Center. “Not only can you induce a behavioural change, the training also induces similar brain connectivity patterns as those seen in memory athletes.”
Yep, memory athletes. These are the folks who can memorize the order of a deck of cards in seconds or can categorize and retain hundreds of matched names and faces. They seem like X-Men, but when the Neuron researchers scanned the brains of the people who received the 40-day memory training, they found similar brain connectivity patterns as the memory athletes in terms of how everyone was processing the recalled information.
The connections indicated an increased usage of what memory experts call loci training, where lists of information are associated with a remembered place in the mind. As users mentally navigate the place, they recall the list as various cues appear. This mode of strategic training lead to the greatest amount of recall in the Neuron study, which means it, might be your best bet to never forgetting an important date, name, or appointment again. Start practicing.