What should we do when our memory fails?


What should we do when our memory fails?

It is something very frequent, more than normal, we try to remember something and we are not able. It occurs especially from a certain age, which is not the same in all people. Many times the solution consists in momentarily forgetting the matter, leaving it for a few minutes, but sometimes it is not valid.

Memory Research

According to research conducted at the University of Waterloo, the best thing for our memory to work at full capacity is to draw a picture of a fact or situation that we do not want to forget and not take written notes.

This is what Myra Fernandes, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo, says: “Episodic memory (the retention of new information) generally decreases as people get older, due to the deterioration of critical brain structures involved in memory coding and recovery, such as the hippocampus and frontal lobes. However, we know that the regions of visual-spatial processing of the brain, involved in the representation of images, are mostly intact in normal aging. Given this, we can say that the drawing could be particularly beneficial in this population, since it depends on the brain regions that are intact in the aging of the brain".

Research reinforcing the latest study

There has already been previous research that reinforces the results of this study. Previously, a work was carried out that indicates that university students remembered the information of the notes drawn better than those of the written ones. In addition to the elements themselves they also remembered the definitions of the words and the concepts that defined them.

To consider

In this last study, university students and seniors were invited to remember a total of 30 words. They were not told that it was an investigation related to memory.

After reading each word aloud, participants were invited to write it, draw the object it represented and, also, write adjectives related to that word. In the process, pause moments were carried out in order to distract the participants.

The last phase was to try to make each participant remember as many words as possible. As many young people as the elders remembered all or almost all the words they had represented through drawings. And it was the older people who got the best results.

This is what Myra Fernandes says: “Drawing a picture of some groceries that you need to pick up later, or of the food you plan to prepare, should help that information be remembered much better after it was written. In addition, the benefit does not seem to depend on the artistic ability of the participants, since we examine the quality of the drawings and find that it was not related to the size of the gains in memory".


The conclusion is clear: drawings must be made to remember a fact or object, and these do not have to be of high quality. It is clear that we will have to test and see if the particular results coincide with those shown in the study.

Source: Fast company

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