Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training

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.