6 Techniques to Sharpen Your Recall


Piggyback. Help your recall by linking fresh material to an already-established memory. Want to remember your neighbor is from New York? Think about your trip to the Big Apple and connect the two.  

Rehearse, recall, repeat. Ever forget someone’s name right after you met them? How embarrassing! You’re not alone, though. People may forget as much as 80% of newly learned information within a few days. But repetition can help you retrieve the information later on.  

So next time you meet someone, say their name out loud and repeat it several times in the conversation. Or try subbing them into “The Name Game,” a song from the 1960s. “Shirley, Shirley, bo-ber-ley, bo-na-na fanna, fo-fer-ley, fee fi mo-mer-ley, Shirley!” Who could forget a name after that? 

Memory palace. Be like Sherlock Holmes and use this strategy — also called the method of loci — to make your memories stick.  

Start by picking a familiar place, like your house or a well-known street, to be your “palace.” Then map a route through the space, placing the information you want to remember in distinct spots as you walk through. You’ll follow this path each time to keep those memory triggers in order.

Maybe you want to remember your sister lives in Chicago. Using a mind palace of your childhood home, you could envision the city’s famous sculpture, “The Bean,” sitting on an armchair. When you imagine walking through your palace, you’ll see the silver sculpture and remember Chicago. You’ll find three more great memory tips starting on page 213 of The Ageless Brain for Seniors: 1,001 Secrets to Keep Your Brain Young, Your Memory Sharp, and Your Mind Healthy.


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  • FC&A Staff Writer