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Ancient technique can dramatically improve memory

A memory technique invented by the ancient Greeks can make dramatic and long-lasting improvements to a person’s power of recall, according to research that suggests many of us have extensive untapped memory reserves. After spending six weeks cultivating an internal “memory palace”, people more than doubled the number of words they could retain in a short time period and their performance remained impressive four months later. The technique, which involves conjuring up vivid images of objects in a familiar setting, is credited to the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos, and is a favoured method among so-called memory athletes. The study also revealed that after just 40 days of training, people’s brain activity shifted to more closely resemble that seen in some of the world’s highest ranked memory champions, suggesting that memory training can alter the brain’s wiring in subtle but powerful ways. Nils Müller, a neuroscientist at Radboud University and a co-author, said: “One of the initial questions was whether memory athletes have very differently wired brains. Do they have an innate gift that just can’t be taught?” The answer, perhaps surprisingly, was no. Prodigious feats of memory such as recalling hundreds of binary digits or a Sherlock-like ability to put a name to a face are likely to be mostly down to hours of training and using the right mnemonic techniques, the scientists concluded.

Read More: The Guardian

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