Under the effect of fatigue and stress, memory sometimes plays nasty tricks on us.
How to remember a historical date, the names of a group of people? Advice from a memorization coach.
Often presented as an “Athlete” of memory, champion of France in the field, Sébastien Martinez uses playful and clever strategies to learn information and keep it in memory. He gives us his tips.
How to learn and remember a historical date?
In what year was the duct tape created? When did man walk on the moon? Not easy to remember.
Sébastien Martinez’s advice:
✓ “Memory works like a spider’s web. It is therefore a matter of connecting what is unknown to what is known .
Take, for example, the date of the invention of adhesive tape: 1923. To memorize it, we begin by placing it in its context: the beginning of the 20th century. Then, to remember the number 23, just connect it to something that speaks to you.
For example, this is the jersey number of former basketball player American Michael Jordan. From these elements you will imagine a story , for example, that duct tape is used to tie up Michael Jordan.
✓ Then, we will have to review this information . Too often, we make the mistake of repeating the same information twenty times a day before giving up. Ideally, you should review once within an hour of learning a new concept.
Revising does not mean rereading, but questioning oneself, asking questions to be sure that you have understood correctly. Then we see her again a day later, a week later, a month later.
✓ After a few months, the story that served as your support, in this case the ribbon that ties Michael Jordan, will eventually fade. You will no longer need a mnemonic to remember it.
This is the reason why, when you are asked which is the capital of France, you answer Paris without thinking. ”
How to remember a list of ten words?
You go shopping with the intention of buying yogurt, carrots, ground beef, chicken, paper towels, soap, a broom, newspaper, sugar and chocolate. Your challenge: not to write anything down.
Sébastien Martinez’s advice: “The simplest strategy is to tell yourself a story using these ten words . It is about creating a link between the different products, trying to appeal to our five senses, which helps to encode the information. The wackier the story, the more memorable it is .
You can imagine that the carrot comes out of a giant yogurt. This carrot rushes to the hamburger. But a hen arrives and begins to nibble at the steak.
She gets it all over the place and needs paper towels and soap to wash herself. She then sweeps the broom and throws the garbage in the trash can already in the newspaper. This one is sold with a sugar sample which will be used to make you hot chocolate.
To remember this series of words, you can also use the place technique . You still rely on your five senses but, in addition, you appeal to your visio-spatial memory.
For example, you imagine your living room: the hen installed on the sofa contemplates the carrot placed on the coffee table, while your armchair has been transformed into a distributor of hamburger … ”
How to remember the names of a group of people?
During a reception, you are introduced to different people. This is the first time you meet them. But you absolutely must remember their name.
Sébastien Martinez’s advice: “To memorize well, you have to follow four steps: be motivated, understand the information, retain it and never forget it.
✓ The prerequisite for remembering a name is to attach importance to the person who bears it . Ask yourself what interest she has in your eyes.
✓ Often, we introduce people very quickly, without lingering. Do not hesitate to have the name repeated and to ask for its origin.
For example, the etymology of the name Fabre is associated with the profession of blacksmith.
✓ To memorize it, try to find a detail about this person : it reminds you of someone, it has a distinctive sign, a particular hair color … If it is a man called Boulanger, imagine -He holding in his hand a beautiful wand that smells good.
✓ Again, the five senses technique is effective. Each sense calls for a cerebral area. If the information is encoded using sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing, you are five times more likely to remember it.”
Got a word on the tip of your tongue?
You talk about the cinema with a friend and suddenly it’s blocked. What is this actor called? His name escapes you desperately.
Sébastien Martinez’s advice: “The first thing to do is not to focus on this name . The more you get attached to it, the more stress increases and the less you remember it. It is better to let go and give the brain time to work. It will come back. You can use memorial hooks.
For example, you look for the first letter of the word by reciting the alphabet. To find the name of an actor, think about his other films, think about the person who accompanied you to this session … The main thing is to find other paths . ”
Forgot where are your car keys?
With your head elsewhere, you have carelessly left your keys somewhere. But where ?
Sébastien Martinez’s advice: “Short-term memory is very ephemeral and unreliable. To find your keys, you will have to rewind the film upside down and redo the route you followed when you got home .
The important thing is to get rid of stress and slow down. More generally, you really have to get into the habit of doing one thing at a time, avoiding “multitasking”. Another effective measure: get in the habit of always putting your keys in the same place. ”
Taking short breaks helps the brain learn new skills
To learn a new skill, such as playing a new song on the piano, several tips are well known such as interspersing these periods of work with periods of rest to allow the brain to better consolidate information .
A trick whose effectiveness has just been demonstrated by a study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) on several volunteers whose brain activity has been mapped: it seems that the brain can create “flash” memories during wakingin order to promote learning.
The researchers found that during rest, the volunteers’ brains quickly and repeatedly replay faster versions of the activity observed as they practiced typing a code.
The more a volunteer replayed the activity , the better he performed in subsequent sessions. This suggests that taking short breaks is the key to learning as this habit reinforces memories. “Awake rest is just as important as practice in learning a new skill.
It seems that this is the time when our brain compresses and consolidates the memories of what we have just practiced. », Explains the scientific team.