1. 40 seconds rehearsal
Rehearsing a memory for just 40 seconds could be the key to permanent recall, a new study finds.
When rehearsing a memory, the same area of the brain is activated as when laying it down, psychologists found.
Dr Chris Bird, who led the research, said:
“We know that recent memories are susceptible to being lost until a period of consolidation has elapsed.
In this study we have shown that a brief period of rehearsal has a huge effect on our ability to remember complex, lifelike events over periods of 1-2 weeks.
2. Reminders by association
‘Reminders by association’ are a great tool to help improve memory for something in the future, new research demonstrates.
Here are a few examples of ‘reminders by association’:
- A picture of your family by your desk reminds you to call them and tell them you will be late home.
- A piece of litter on the floor reminds you to put the bins out.
Little environmental cues like this were enough to double the number of people who remembered to perform some future action.
3. The aroma of rosemary
The aroma of rosemary essential oil can improve memory and the ability to remember future events, research finds.
For the study 66 people took various memory tests either in a room that was scented with rosemary or without.
Those breathing the scent of rosemary performed better.
4. Vegetables linked to 40% better memory
Eating vegetables — but not fruit — helps improve memory, research finds.
The study of 3,718 people over 65 living in Chicago asked how often people ate particular foods and administered cognitive tests.
Professor Martha Clare Morris, who led the study, explained the results:
“Compared to people who consumed less than one serving of vegetables a day, people who ate at least 2.8 servings of vegetables a day saw their rate of cognitive change slow by roughly 40 percent.
This decrease is equivalent to about 5 years of younger age.”
Green leafy vegetables showed the strongest association with a better memory.
Older people in the study got the greatest benefit from eating more vegetables.
5. Drink hot chocolate
Two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy, a recent study finds.
The research involved 60 people whose average age was 73.
They were given tests of memory and thinking skills and the blood flow in their brains was measured.
People who had impaired blood flow in the brain improved after drinking the flavanol-rich cocoa.
6. Good mood
Something as simple as getting a bag of candy is enough to improve memory, research finds.
In fact, anything that quickly puts you in a good mood can boost memory and decision-making.
Professor Ellen Peters, who co-authored the study, said:
“There has been lots of research showing that younger adults are more creative and cognitively flexible when they are in a good mood.
But because of the cognitive declines that come with aging, we weren’t sure that a good mood would be able to help older adults.
So these results are good news.”
7. Exercise 4 hours later
Long-term memory is boosted by exercise four hours after learning, a new study finds.
Exercising directly after learning, though, does not improve memory at all.
In addition, brain scans revealed that exercise lead to more precise representations of memories in the hippocampus.
The scientists are not sure yet why exercise after learning boosts memory.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
However, they write:
“Considering that the exercise intervention took place after learning, delayed exercise most likely affected memory retention through an impact on memory consolidation.”