How To Improve Memory

If you’re like me and have trouble remembering important things in your life, even when you write yourself notes, there is a scientific way to fix that.

Draw a picture.

According to a study published in the journal Experimental Aging Research, drawing forces your brain to process visual information.  This translates the meaning into an image with a physical act, which writing alone doesn’t do.  “It’s bringing online a lot of different brain regions that you wouldn’t bring online if you were just writing information out,” says study co-author Melissa Meade, a doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “We think this multifaceted approach of using the drawing technique benefits memory and the brain.”

This is even more important for older adults.  “In normal, healthy aging, you tend to see a lot of changes occurring to parts of the brain that are involved in memory functioning and language processing,” Meade says. “You don’t see as many changes occurring in regions that are involved in sensory processing of visual information” — so drawing may take advantage of these “relatively well-preserved brain regions” and boost memory.

Of course, some things are easier to write than to draw.  But Meade says there are real-world applications, like creating a shopping list.  But perhaps the most encouraging implication is the potential it could hold for adults with cognitive decline.  While more research is needed, Meade says preliminary findings suggest that even people who are beginning to suffer dementia-related memory loss benefit from drawing.  “When they remember any information, it tends to be information that was drawn,” Meade says. “We would really like to, in the future, have implications from this work for therapeutic interventions for dementia patients, to give them strategies to retain some of their memories that they’re losing so rapidly.”

As a senior citizen myself, I look forward to what the next study shows.

Taken from “Always Forgetting Important Things? Here’s How to Fix That, According to Science” by Jamie Ducharme ( http://time.com/5474432/drawing-helps-boost-memory/? ).

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