Information is remembered best when learned visually.
Remembering information is a vital part of getting and holding a job. In this article we’ll discover the way you learn that information can have a direct impact on how long you’ll remember it that information for.
Scientists have found evidence that humans have been around for approximately 4 million years. In that time, long before the printed word or even languages, survival depended upon understanding the physical world. As a result, our memories have been hardwired to learn quickly through seeing and doing.
The brain is a complex organ that we are only starting to comprehend. In an effort to understand why we forget information, psychologists came up with two main theories. The first was that memory traces simply fade with time. This sounds sensible since most things seem to fade over the years, but experiments have shown this theory to be wrong. Most people can vividly remember things that happened in their childhood, so memory traces don’t fade.
The second main theory is known as the interference theory of forgetting. The idea behind this is that old memories are sometimes crowded out by new ones. This has also been discounted because if new memories push out old ones, then the more we learn the more we are going to forget. Daft, eh?
Explaining how and why the brain actually retains and loses information is best illustrated through the example of a one-hour college lecture. At the very beginning of the class, you know nothing – 0%. At the end of the lecture you know 100% of what you know, however well you know it.
On the following day, if you have done nothing with the information you were taught, don’t think about it or read it again, you lose 50-80% of what you learned. Your brain is constantly recording data on a temporary basis: snippets of conversations you hear, posters you read. Because this information isn’t necessary and doesn’t come up again, your brain just dumps it.
After a week you remember even less and by the time a month passes you only remember about 2-3% of the original hour.
It is possible to change this sequence of information loss. A big signal to your brain to hold on to a specific chunk of data is if that information comes up again. When you repeat the same thing, your brain figures it is needed and should keep it. Exposing yourself to the same information repeatedly means it takes less time to access the information in your long term memory and it becomes easier for you to retrieve it.
When you want to hold on to something new that you have learned simply check it out the next day, the next week and the next month for 10 minutes to drive it home to your brain that this is something you have to know. In school and college this is called revision and in work, this is called knowing your stuff.
So we have learned that memory remembers information the more it is exposed to that information. But what is the best way to learn gather that information in the first place?
Studies have shown that people memorize information within 0.3 seconds of being shown it. By comparison, information learned by hearing it takes 5 seconds to process. This is why it is commonly recommended for students to write information they learn in class. The act of writing allows that student to better remember the information in the future. Some studies show exam scores can improve by up to 25% using this technique.
By this stage it should be clear that we learn something best by seeing and doing regularly. Our apps have been designed with this in mind. We understand that in the modern world people need quick access to visual information. That information should be animated or better still – interactive. This allows our app users to see, do and learn in a fun way.
Visual Memory Brain Tip.
Have you a big presentation coming up soon? Remember your information with the method of loci; a memory technique used by ancient orators to remember speeches and stories. It combines the use of organisation, visual memory and association.
First, identify a common path that you walk or road that you drive – a journey that’s familiar to you. It is essential that you have a vivid visual memory of this path and the objects or landmarks along the way. Next, imagine walking or driving along it and identify the specific landmarks that you pass, such as a monument or pub. The number of landmarks you choose depends on the number of things you want to remember. Now use this path to remember your material by mentally associating each piece of information with a landmark.
Author: Kieran Harlow
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