The popularity of brain-training apps has turned the industry into a billion-dollar business. However, do brain-training programs really work? Evidence increasingly suggests that they do not.
Using mnemonic devices may help you to remember what you need at the grocery store.
Brain-training programs lead to improvement in the task that you have been practicing, but they do not appear to strengthen memory, intelligence, or cognitive abilities.
However, there are techniques you can use to help you learn to encode and recall important information, and these are called mnemonic devices. These methods can be your superpower when needing to remember people’s names — at a big event, for example.
Mnemonic devices are a shortcut that helps us to link the information we want to remember with a word, image, or sentence. It is a method of memorizing information that makes it stick in our brains longer and be recalled more easily.
Types of mnemonic devices include:
The method of loci, which requires you to imagine items that you would like to remember along a familiar route. Associate words or concepts with one of your locations along the way to make them easier to recall later.
Acronyms can be used as a tool to remember anything from the colors of the rainbow to the items on your shopping list. For example, you could use the acronym “CAME” to help you remember that you need to collect cheese, apples, meat, and eggs from the store. They are also far easier to use and can be deployed in a much broader variety of situations.
Rhymes can help you to recall information such as how many days there are in the month of June: “Thirty days has September, April, June, and November.”
Chunking is a way to break down large pieces of information into smaller, more manageable chunks of information, such as breaking down telephone numbers in the United States into three chunks, rather than trying to remember all 10 digits separately.
Imagery can help you to remember pairs of words, such as blue water, yellow sun, and green grass. By recalling a specific image, it can help us to recall information that we associated with that image.
The more you exercise your brain, the easier you will find it to process and remember information. The best workouts to develop new brain pathways are ones that are new and challenging.
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