How to Develop Photographic Memory
Struggling to remember that phone number? Having troubles memorizing the dates for the History exam? Seeking for a magic way to imprint the information on your brain quickly and efficiently?
Sadly, we don’t do magic. Luckily, there are some ways to help drastically improve your memory. Before we get down to business, let’s dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.
Though used interchangeably, the terms “photographic memory” and “eidetic memory” don’t mean the same thing. Eidetic memory is the ability to remember visual images for a long time after seeing them shortly. Photographic memory is a skill, that allows one to memorize impressive amounts of information (text, numbers etc) almost immediately after seeing them. It’s considered to be a popular misconception and a product of junk science.
If the controversy hasn’t changed your intention to improve your memory and get closer to a true “braniac” status, prepare to do some work and appreciate the results. With a bit of patience and practice you’ll definitely become the memory master.
Method of Loci
This technique requires a bit of effort and a lot of imagination. Basically, it’s a mnemonic device, strongly connected with spatial memory. There are several stages to it and we’ll walk you through each one.
Our brain remember visual images much better than soulless text or numbers. That’s why building associations facilitates memorizing process. Memory palace is where you’ll store the images. It doesn’t have to be fancy a all. The only requirement is that you know it and can easily find your way around. The house you’ve grown up in will fit perfectly. Once the place is chosen, move to the next step.
Paint the Pictures
Let’s go with the basics here: say, you need to memorize the list of groceries, which contains milk, avocados, soap and corn flakes. Take the three items and go a little crazy. Imagine avocado, swimming in the canoe down the milk river, floating down the stairs of your house. Then, it takes a machine-gun, and starts shooting… with cornflakes. They hit your Mom’s favorite vase, it breaks into pieces, releasing soap foam all over the place. There you have it: avocado, milk, soap and corn flakes!
We remember catchy images much better. The images you create may be ridiculous, scary, sexy, shocking – whatever works for you. Make sure to connect them with a certain location in your mind palace, use the vivid colors and prepare to be surprised with how much you actually can remember.
Take a Tour
Now, take a stroll around the palace. Use the mental “anchors” you’ve left around it and think of an element of your picture. After that you brain will conjure up the whole image, helping you recall the constituents.
That’s how you use the loci method. Unleash your creativity and have fun with it.
Mind Mapping is a powerful memorizing technique, effective particularly for non-linear thinkers. It involves drawing a scheme, with the key concept in the center with all the others surrounding it. The notions are organized into branches, which leads first to the important sub-concept and then, inevitably, to the central one. A well-organized mind-map is far more efficient than hours of repetition as it makes you think and build connections in your own way.
Yeah, this one is a bit sad. Alcohol deteriorates your learning abilities and memory. If you do want to facilitate the memorizing process to the greatest extent, go really light on booze (if you’re not ready to give it up entirely). The wisest choice concerning the beverage is red wine: it’s full of antioxidants and flavanols that help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and make your memory function better.
Ready to go tough? This technique has been used to train the intelligence for several decades already. To try it you’ll need: a room (preferably with no windows), a lamp (with a switch that is easy to reach), a book with the information you need to memorize, a sheet of paper and 15 minutes per day at least during a month. Got it all? Moving to the method then.
First, choose the paragraph you need to memorize. Then, take the paper and cut out a part of it that will cover all the page of the book except for the needed paragraph. Place the paper onto the page and turn off the lights.
When your eyes adjust to the darkness completely, turn on the light for a couple of seconds. The moment should be enough to see the paragraph in full concentration. Then turn off the light and repeat. The whole procedure may sound weird at first, yet soon you’ll get used to it and remember the text of the paragraph much quicker.
A good diet is everything. To literally nourish your brain, make sure you include enough products, containing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, potassium, Vitamins E and K. These elements will keep your brain alert, prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, boost your mood and ability to focus. Add sufficient amounts of broccoli, nuts, seeds, oily fish and whole grains to your food and get healthier with every meal. Here’s a student grocery list which contain everything you need for a healthy diet.
Get Pumped Up
Exercising has tons of benefits. Apart from toning your body and increasing general fitness, it helps you be more focused, make better decisions and remember information for a long time. While exercising, you accelerate the blood flow, making it bring more oxygen to the brain cells. In addition to that, the post-workout boost of endorphins will make you feel good about yourself, motivate you to work harder and practice all the techniques we’ve mentioned above.
Well, that’s pretty much it. Don’t give up and quite soon you’ll become a real memorization monster!