As a student, I understand how difficult it can be to sit down the day before an exam and
attempt to memorise the contents of an entire book. It’s near impossible, even with the
required amount of time to study it can be extremely difficult to accomplish. Memory ability
general differs from person to person but, according to new research published by Dresler et
al we can actually train our brains to become memory athletes or super memorisers, able to
take in vast amounts of information in very short periods of time.
In this study Dresler assessed the functional brain network organisation of 23 ‘memory
athletes’ who were of similar age, sex and IQ. Dresler and his colleagues performed tests to
see how well these memory athletes could remember a list of 72 words while having their
brain activity monitored. This kind of memory training is known as mnemonic training.
Dresler made use of the method of loci to carry out the test on the active group of
Subjects. The method of loci uses spatial memory and visualisation to train the brain to be
able to quickly and efficiently recall information. This test was then repeated on a group of
51 control subjects who were then divided into three groups, one group repeated this
activity for 30 minutes everyday, the second group underwent normal memory training for
half an hour every day and the third group did no training what so ever. These activities were
repeated daily over a six week period and upon returning to the lab at the end of the testing
period it was found that the first group of control subjects had actually improved their
memory capabilities and upon looking closer at the brains of these subjects it was actually
found that the connectivity within their brains had actually changed to allow them to
become better memorizers.
Upon being tested again up to four months after the initial study, it was found that the
results still remained the same, the first group had greatly improved their memory skills
compared to the other two groups, which just further proves that our brains are actually
capable of physically changing its connectivity to improve memory skill and performance
when provided with the correct method of practice or training.
Furthermore, this study shows us that with the correct methods we can actually teach
ourselves to become better at absorbing information and do it much more efficiently than
previously thought. These new findings could lead to brand new ways of teaching students
so as to streamline the learning experience and make it easier for students who struggle to
absorb vast amounts of information quickly. This skill would be extremely beneficial in a
multitude of fields and will hopefully lead to great advancements in the way in which we
learn in the years to come.