Health & Fitness

Don’t forget, you too can acquire a super memory

Kristen Sparrow • January 16, 2020

Don’t forget, you too can acquire a super memory

Photo of lamp from Kristen Sparrow Office
Tales from the Clinic

I’ve been interested in learning techniques for a few years now. I had to do a lot of memorizing in college (Biochemistry) and in Medical School and I had lots of tricks. But I’ve learned some new ones and can only wish that I had some of the resources available now.  Memory castle, is the one they talk about here.  But paced recall, summarizing chapters, making reading active by relating the new material to known material, chunking.  All help. I’ve yet to embark on a big project of learning, but the little I’ve done has already helped.

the researchers took 51 subjects who had never previously engaged in memory training and divided them into an experimental group and two control groups. Experimental subjects underwent six weeks of intense memory training for half an hour each day using the centuries-old method of loci strategy still popular with memory champions: They learned how to map new information such as numbers or names onto familiar spatial locations such as those in their homes. The active control group trained for a working memory task called the n-back that does not train long-term memory. Meanwhile the passive control group received no training.

After training, the experimental subjects improved significantly at memory tasks (whereas neither control group improved) yet did not exhibit any structural brain changes. Their brain-connection patterns during resting-state and task-based fMRI scans, however, became more similar to those of memory champs, a change that correlated positively with memory improvements. “I think the interesting part is that not only can you boost memory in a similar way behaviorally in normal subjects compared with memory athletes,” Dresler says, “but on the brain level you see a reflection of that behavioral increase, and you drive the brains of naive subjects into the patterns of the best memorizers in the world.”