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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!

There is no evidence that significant learning can occur if you are not consciously aware of the process. Thus, learning while in deep sleep is not possible. Learning when you are barely asleep is possible, but it isn't very efficient because it's difficult to avoid waking up or falling into deep sleep. In any case, learning during light sleep only works for simple facts and the facts must be reinforced while awake.

Some studies show that you remember less if you study shortly after waking up, so it might be a good idea to give yourself some extra time in the morning before doing any memory-intensive tasks. Other studies show that people can remember information better if they go to sleep immediately after studying it. Perhaps this is because the mind continues to process the information during sleep.

Additionally, numerous studies have shown that you cannot remember material if it is presented in a subliminal manner. So, subliminal learning and subliminal advertising is not effective. When it comes down to it, there is no shortcut to learning the old fashioned way.

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You may remember that most memory problems occur at the retrieval step in memory. There are four common explanations for why we often fail to retrieve the information that is recorded in our minds.

One type of forgetting is a result of repression. This usually only applies to traumatic or unpleasant experiences that we are motivated to forget.

Another type of memory problem is related to the accuracy of recalling certain memories. As we age, memories may become distorted to reflect the way we want to remember them or the way other people have remembered them. Sometimes couples who have been married for a long time remember things that happened to the other person as if they had happened to themselves.

A common type of forgetting is due to interference with another memory. Something you learn now may interfere with a memory from the past, and vice versa. The more similar the memories, the more likely they are to interfere with each other. For example, remembering this week's grocery list may make it harder to recall what was on last week's grocery list. Memory techniques can be employed to reduce interference.

The last type of forgetting is due to your inability to find the right cue to find the memory. This results in the "tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon where you know that you know the information and you just need something to jog your memory.

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Long-term memory differs from Short-Term Memory in several ways. From a practical point of view, it is mostly permanent and has an almost unlimited capacity. The recollection of childhood memories through hypnosis or other methods shows the permanence and large capacity of long-term memory. Additionally, it cannot be disrupted by things that can affect short-term memory. From a biological point of view, each type of memory has a different nerve chemistry and is affected differently by various drugs and diseases.

There are three types of long-term memory. The first is called "Procedural Memory." This is how you remember skills such as riding a bike or dialing a phone. The second type of memory is called "Semantic Memory." It helps you remember facts such as the color of your hair or your mother's name. The last type of memory is called "Episodic Memory." This kind is how you remember personal memories such as your last birthday party.

Each type of memory can benefit from different memory techniques. Most students are interested in improving and using their semantic memory. Elderly people are frequently more interested in their episodic memories and babies are very active in using their procedural memories.

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In order to remember something, three things must happen. First, you must receive and learn a piece of information. This is the "Recording" step. Second, you must store this information in your brain (the "Retaining" step). Lastly, you must "Retrieve" the information out of your brain in a useful way.

The mind has a huge capacity to record and retain memories but it is not so good at retrieval. In fact, most memory failures occur at the retrieval step. Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do to directly improve retrieval, but learning good techniques for recording and retaining information will indirectly improve retrieval because the information will be more organized.

A good analogy is a library. If the books were randomly put onto shelves, it would be impossible to find anything. The library records each book in the card catalog and organizes the shelves so that retrieving a particular book is an easy task.

Proper "Recording" improves "Retrieval." Using good memory techniques will help you improve the way you organize information in your mind.

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Memory performance may not decline with age as much as people think. Some studies show that visual memory skills decline with age but that verbal memory skills remain steady. Other studies show that people can compensate for decreased learning ability by drawing from their life experiences. Since older people have more experiences to draw from, they are better able to reconstruct a partially forgotten memory.

Probably the biggest thing that affects memory performance is mental activity. Elderly people who remain mentally active perform better on memory tests than those who do not exercise their mind on a regular basis. Use it or lose it!

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