Activities to Help With Memory

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    Imagination and Association

    • According to Tony Buzan, the three principles of memory techniques are association, imagination and location. Incorporating at least two of these principles into a memorization activity allows the brain to associate the information with additional stimuli, or "link" the information required with familiar sights, sounds or images. If you wanted to remember a short shopping list, for example, you could exaggerate each word to form a "mental story." Words are exaggerated into vibrant, imaginative stories, allowing the brain to associate colors, sounds, smells and exciting images with a word.

      The words also link to each other in a story. For example, if the first item of the shopping list was an apple, one imaginative image could be the sun rising in red and orange until it explodes from brightness and rains apples, which fall onto a small dog eating dog food, which is the second item. Continue this method for the rest of the list.


    • Repetition is the key to memorizing any information. This can be done by simply reading or writing information several times, until it is easier to recall and moves to the long-term memory. However, repeating information can also be engaging and interesting; consider repeating information to a simple beat while pacing around the room. You can also write information down with colorful pictures and images associated with the content; this gives your memory a visual reference to use in recall.

    Rhyme and Chunking

    • Rhyme has historically been used as a method of recalling and remembering information. Turning important information into rhymes, or coupling key phrases with other words to create rhyming couplets, is easier for the brain to remember. The mnemonic method of "chunking," used by the Ancient Greeks, can also be used to aid memory. Generally, the short-term memory can only retain seven chunks of information at any time. Group information into chunks, rather than trying to recall large strings of sentences -- for example, rather than trying to remember the number "19921001," the information can be chunked and spoken aloud as "1992," "10" and "0-1."

    Mind Mapping and Linking

    • Create mind maps from ideas and concepts you have, rather than trying to retain this information as one. Draw mind maps that are colorful and interesting, making use of all ideas and associated content. By writing down anything you associate with the concept -- or anything on the mind map -- you will create more links and associations for the brain; the mind map can be revised or repeated out loud later on, but it is important to incorporate vivid imagination and colors into the mind map to aid memory. The mind map can, in some ways, be considered a visual/written account of the "Imagination and Association" activities.

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