New research has shown that exercising short-term memory can increase fluid intelligence. This is a quite a breakthrough because for years scientists firmly believed that a person’s intelligence was set in stone at birth and had no potential to increase.
Memory is typically broken down into two categories- short-term and long-term. Short-term (also called working memory) enables a person to retain information like a street address or the number on a store receipt. It allows memory of between three and nine pieces of data (like words or numbers, etc.) for twenty seconds, give or take. If a person doesn’t quickly transfer that data to be stored in long-term memory by writing it down or registering it with a mnemonic, the information is forgotten.
Brain games and memory exercises are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. If you can improve your working memory, it’s possible to not only think more clearly in general, but to also increase intelligence to some degree.
The classic card game “Memory” can act as an effective and simple exercise for building short-term memory muscles. All you need is a standard deck of cards, someone to play with, and concentration. The point of the game is to collect more matching pairs of cards than your opponent. It requires a sharp memory because the cards are routinely face-down and their identity is shown only briefly before being turned back down.
Entire websites like Luminosity have been dedicated to brain games to keep people mentally sharp and exercising their working memory. Other websites like LearningRX go even further, incorporating not just brain training games but various other learning resources as well. Experts recommend “playing” these brain games for at least twenty minutes a day in order to see a substantial differences over time.
Other ways to improve memory come from lifestyle and habits. Some people don’t realize that the habits which affect the condition of their body also hugely impact the condition of their mind.
Getting proper sleep helps mental clarity (and thus memory) enormously. Physical exercise can also make a significant difference in a person’s mental performance. Neuroscience published a 2010 study on primates that discovered that regular exercise increased blood flow to the brain and aided the monkeys in learning new skills twice as fast as monkeys who weren’t exercising.
If you want to improve your memory, eating foods that enhance brain power and avoiding those which hinder it is something to be very mindful of. Antioxidant-rich foods like broccoli, walnuts, and curry contain compounds that can preserve your brain health and possibly stimulate the production of new brain cells.