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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!

The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells, called neurons. There are over 100 million neurons per square inch of your brain! Neurons communicate to nearby neighbors via electrical and chemical signals sent between axons and dendrites.

An axon is a long slender projection from a neuron which transmits signals away from the cell and towards other nearby neurons. Bundles of axons make up nerves and are the primary way that signals are transmitted throughout the body. The axons in your spinal cord can be as long as 3 feet.

A dendrite is a projection from a neuron that receives signals from the axons of its neighbors. A neuron will have a large number of dendrites but only one axon.

The interface between a dendrite and an axon is called a synapse. The signal is transmitted along the axon as an electrical impulse. Once it reaches the synapse, the release of chemical neurotransmitters transmits the signal to the dendrites of other neurons. Each neuron will be have between 1,000 and 10,000 synapses.

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Everyone has had the experience where you have something on the tip of your tongue, but you can't remember it. One way to try to recall the information is to think around it. Another way is to stop thinking about it and let your unconscious mind process it for a while. Sometimes the fact will jump into your mind the moment after you stop thinking about it. Normally, once you remember the fact, it seems obvious and you can hardly imagine why you couldn't remember it in the first place.

This proves a few facts about memory. First, it shows that memory is not all or none. In other words, sometimes you can recall a partial or incomplete memory. Second, just because the information is in your mind doesn't mean you can recall it whenever you want. Organizational problems sometimes prevent recall for information that exists.

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There are generally three different ways that memory recall is studied:

1. Free recall refers to the ability to remember items in any order. An example would be remembering your grocery list. As long as you can remember each item, you are successful.

2. Serial recall applies to remembering items in order. Examples would be memorizing a speech or remembering driving directions to someone's house. Not only do you need to remember each item, but the order matters too. Naturally, this is more difficult than free recall.

3. Paired associate recall defines the type of recall where you are given the first word and must remember the second. Learning foreign language vocabulary is a good example. The benefit of this type of recall is that it is aided. In other words, you are given a clue to jog your memory.

When you are trying to learn something, you should identify which type of recall you will be required to demonstrate. This should affect how you study the material.

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Before you can permanently remember something, it must pass from your short-term memory into your long-term memory. The storage for these two types of memory is generally believed to be separated in the brain. This model of the brain is called the "Modal Model." Evidence in support of this model includes some conditions, such as amnesia, that affect short-term and long-term memory differently.

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"Your Memory : How It Works and How to Improve It" is an excellent book by Kenneth Higbee. He explains many different memory systems and how they can be applied to your daily needs. One exceptional quality of this book is that it objectively compares the different systems and discusses scientific research that has been conducted about memory.

See this book at Amazon.com

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