Thanks to memory we use in everyday life our own experience and that of previous generations. Is it possible to somehow improve it? What does it depend on? Let’s try to answer these questions.
Short-term and long-term memory
Memory has two components – short-term, or operational, and long-term. Students manage to “load” in their memory a lot of information that vanishes just after exam. Patients suffering from so-called senile forgetfulness remember in detail events that occurred in early childhood or many years ago, but are unable to keep in mind what happened half an hour ago.
The possibilities of memory are limitless. It is believed that an adult can remember from twenty to one hundred thousand words. Some people have a phenomenal memory. Alexander the Great was able to remember the names of all his soldiers. Mozart was able to play and write down a melody he heard once. After listening to the “Miserere” Allegri (in 9 parts), he managed to write down by memory the whole score of this musical composition, kept in secret by the Vatican. After the second audition Mozart found in his record a few wrong notes. An Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini possessed the same musical memory and remembered every note out of 400 scores. Winston Churchill knew by heart almost all the works of Shakespeare. Dominic O’Brien, a British mnemonist and an author of memory related books, was able to remember card location of the whole pack in 38 seconds. Bill Gates remembers hundreds of codes of the programming language designed by him.
Human brain starts remembering from the womb
According to scientists, memory of the human fetus begins to work 20 weeks after conception. During tests an acoustic signal was sent through the mother’s abdomen, and then an ultrasonic scanner was used to examine reaction of the fetus. It was found that fetus responds to the sound, slightly moving body or legs. When sending a signal 10 minutes or even a day later, the fetus was able to easily recognize the familiar sound. Scientists believe that in principle a person can remember what was happening to him in the womb.
Memory is individual
Memory is influenced by many factors. Some people better remember what they saw, other – what they heard. These are the phenomena of visual and auditory memory.
It’s a well-known fact that feelings play an important role in remembering things. In a state of emotional splash memory sometimes can calls things, forgotten a long time ago.
Motivation is very important too. If a person who considers himself totally incapable of learning languages, finds himself in a stressful situation in a foreign country he easily learns language.
In many ways, ability to memorize depends on learning skills. British scientists used a special scanner to examine the frontal lobe of the brain (which gives us information about body’s position in space) of taxi drivers and people of other professions. It was found out that taxi drivers have it much more developed. In fact the better a driver knows the city and the shorter way he can find to travel from one location to another, the bigger is the size of the frontal lobe of his brain. The gray matter volume doesn’t change, it is just distributed differently.