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25 October 2001

Tips to improve your memory

Those memory-jogging tips you've heard about, like linking names to facial features, apparently do work.

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Those memory-jogging tips you've heard about, like linking names to facial features, apparently do work.

That's the word from the University of Alabama, which studied 80 healthy people who were all over the age of 60. Men and women did equally well in using the tricks to improve their "memory task performance" by almost 30 percent. What's more, six months later their memory skills were still as sharp.

The successful techniques included:

Name that face. Trying to remember Art Lesinsky? Mentally change his last name into "losing ski" and then imagine a painting ("art") of his face, showing a ski flying off Art's nose.

Put things in their place. If you have several things to remember, mentally put them in different places, then "move" from place to place, picking them up as you go.

Divide and conquer. Also known as chunking, this technique works particularly well with numbers. You do it automatically with phone numbers, breaking them into chunks of three and four digits. You can use the same technique to remember personal identification numbers (PINs), ZIP codes and the like.

 
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