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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

After analyzing brain scans of hundreds of children over almost two decades, researchers have found that the brains of smarter children develop later in life than the brains of children with average intelligence.

In all children, the Cerebral Cortex grows thicker to a certain point and then thins out during the next few years. In children with average intelligence this thinning out starts at around age 7. In children with above average intelligence, the thinning out doesn't start until as late as age 13.

It is still unclear what factors, besides genes, may contribute to this difference, but environmental factors have not been ruled out.

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The Phonetic Mnemonic System has several advantages over some of the other mnemonic systems.

The Peg system is limited by the length of lists that you can use it to remember. The Phonetic system does not have this limit and can be used to remember very long lists.

The Loci system requires that recall be in sequential order. This is not always convenient. The Phonetic system allows you to recall items out of order and by number. In other words, you can recall the 78th item directly without counting through 1-77.

Another advantage is that the Phonetic system can be used to easily remember numbers. No other system can do this.

The big disadvantage of the Phonetic system is that it takes the longest to learn and is slow to use until you have mastered the technique.

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The Phonetic Mnemonic System can be used to memorize playing cards. This can be a helpful advantage when playing a game of cards such as poker or blackjack because you'll be able to remember all the cards that have been played. It can be difficult to remember the cards as-is but by assigning a keyword to each card, you can make them more memorable. Keywords can be assigned to playing cards in the following way:

The first letter of the keyword should match the first letter in the suit (Hearts=H, Spades=S, Clubs=C, Diamonds=D). Then, use the phonetic sound associated with the value of that card to form the word. For example, we know that in the Phonetic Mnemonic System, the 'n' sound is assigned to the number 2, so the 2 of hearts could be represented with the word 'hen.' Likewise, the 8 of clubs could be "calf" or "cave." For 10, use the phonetic sound for 0 (10 of diamonds = dice). For the cards higher than 10, we use the double-digit value (J=11, Q=12, K=13). For example: King of Spades = Stem.

Now, if you want to remember that a player just played the 9 of clubs and the 4 of hearts, just visualize a 'cop' with really long 'hair.'

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As we age, our thinking slows down. This reduces our ability to processes large amounts of information and transfer it into long-term memory. This is one reason why it becomes more difficult to remember things as we get older.

One way to improve your memory is to focus your attention on one thing at a time. This reduces the amount of information that needs to be processed by your brain which allows it to process it more effectively. Focusing your attention on something doesn't have to be difficult. Turning off the television in the background and minimizing interruptions are easy steps. If you are having a conversation with someone, look at them when they talk and try to repeat what they said if it was important. Try to finish one task before you begin another one.

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Eidetic imagery is the ability to retain an accurate visual image of a complex scene or pattern shortly after looking at it. The scene can then be described in detail for a short time. Eidetic imagery is a trait possessed by about 5% of children. The ability to form eidetic images is very rare past adolescence.

To produce an eidetic image, a person must study a scene for some time and must actively concentrate on this scene to retain it in memory. These images fade quickly when the attention is diverted to something else. Naming or identifying parts of the scene tend to interrupt the ability to form an eidetic image. Thus it is very difficult to form an eidetic memory of text.

Sometimes eidetic imagery is called photographic memory. This term is not exactly accurate because this type of memory is not formed like a photograph; eidetic images can be fragmentary and are not necessarily more accurate than normal memories. Additionally, photographic memory is a learned skill rather than a trait you are born with. For example, some people demonstrate impressive memory abilities, with feats like memorizing the number pi out to thousands of digits. Sometimes these people are described as having photographic memories. In reality, photographic memory is simply the successful application of effective memory techniques. In that respect, photographic memory is a learned skill that you can eventually acquire.

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