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Memory: its boundaries and your abilities

Memory: its boundaries and your abilities

Have you ever tried to remember your day before yesterday? Just do not rush to answer.

Recall not a long-awaited advance payment or a compliment from the boss, but to recreate your path from bed to bed to the smallest detail. It turns out that not everything is so simple … or not everything is so important?

Memory sets many puzzles, and sometimes plays with us evil jokes. Otherwise, why do you learn a poem on a page in half an hour, and English has not been moving from a dead center for a year already?

Or how is it that you remember each person in the face, and you still dictate your mobile number according to a piece of paper? Of course, you can put up with such quirks, but at other times it hurts to feel like a round high school student. Although with age, quite different questions arise: after 30 years of mental abilities are beginning to fade, and at the end of the tunnel we are waiting for hopeless degradation?

Fortunately for us, memory can be improved and preserved.

Neuroscientists got to the brain not so long ago, so there are still a lot of white spots. But it is precisely known that memory is short-term and long-term. “Short-term memory can be compared with the operational memory of a computer where only current information is processed,” explains Vladimir Zakharov, professor of the Department of Nervous Diseases of the First Moscow State Medical University.

THEM. Sechenov. – It has a limited scope, which is reduced to the formula “7 plus or minus 2 structural units”.

This means that the average earthling can simultaneously think about any 7 things, his more talented fellow – about 9, and less fortunate – about 5. Long-term memory is more like a hard disk, where everything that once was learned has been learned. From this repository, we periodically squeeze the necessary information and drag it into RAM to solve the problem.

A long-term memory has no limit, but this does not mean that everything is fixed in it. “We are able to perceive information consciously and unconsciously,” says Oksana Lysenko, a psychologist, author of a training on memory development at the Moscow Center for NLP. – In the first case, we seem to mark the knowledge gained with ticks and, if necessary, we can extract them from the “repository” with an effort of will and even remember where they came from. Unconsciously, we assimilate much more information, but it is available only to our intuition, therefore not everyone can use it. ”

Man cognizes the world around him with the help of five senses. “In neuro-psychology, it is customary to talk about three types of memory: visual, auditory and motor, which is also called tactile or kinesthetic, but theoretically one can assume the existence of taste and olfactory memory,” says Vladimir Zakharov. The easiest way we perceive visual images, because 80% of the information we absorb with our eyes.

At the hearing, smell, touch and taste, we rely much less often and in vain. “Often, when learning a foreign language, adults use the same memorization strategies that they used at the school desk,” comments Oksana Lysenko. – For example, many people are suspicious of audio courses, because they are sure that if you do not write down all the new words in your notebook, you will not be able to remember anything. However, unusual strategies can be more effective than old ones – the main thing is to allow yourself to go beyond the usual. ”

Memory: its boundaries and your abilities

Scientists identify as many as five of its types, and the inhabitants are only two: memory is either good or full of holes. To explain such an injustice, you will have to answer a more intimate question: why are some people smart, while others, to put it mildly, not very? “Our cognitive abilities, including memory, are determined primarily by genes,” says Vladimir Zakharov. “But much depends on how the first years of life passed.”

If in early childhood there was enough food for the mind, there will be plenty of forehead. If you miss this time, it will hardly be possible to blossom with talents.

However, there is good news. “With age, the memory mechanism is modified, but it does not affect the final result,” explains Vladimir Zakharov. – Of course, the reaction speed is dulled. The ability to maintain active mental activity for a long time also decreases. So, if a son is able to learn the entire course of lectures the night before the exam, his father will not cope with the task.

Over the years, the ability to do several things at once is also impaired, that is, working with different sources of information at once. But the irrevocably lost gifts of youth more than compensate for experience and worldly wisdom.

An adult achieves the same goal, but with much less effort, because he knows how to effectively manage his time and set priorities. ”

There is a more scientific explanation for this phenomenon. “Scientists have proved that if health does not fail, the brain reaches its peak of activity at 60,” comments Oksana Lysenko. – Of course, the neurons of which it consists are not restored, but the processes connecting them grow all their life. When these processes join, the synapse turns out.

The more synapses, the better the brain is developed. This means that with age, the tasks are solved more efficiently, and the necessary information is retrieved from the storage faster. ”

We can feel the formation of synapses physically: at the moment when it seems to us that “the brain is boiling”, we become, if not smarter, then wiser for sure. Connections between neurons are formed when we work in the intellectual field: we make discoveries for ourselves, solve problems, play chess, solve a crossword puzzle, learn a foreign language, watch educational programs.

And in this direction the road is open for everyone.

Memory: its boundaries and your abilities

Everyone at least once in his life complained about his memory, and our relatives are ready even now to make a thousand and one accusations to her. But by what criteria to judge, is everything in order with us?

Memory disorders are true and imaginary. The imaginary ones are connected with false theory put forward by Plato and flourishing until the last century. He thought that memory is a dimensionless wax tablet, on which everything he saw and heard is imprinted forever. “For any cognitive activity, three conditions are necessary: ​​proper organization of work, motivation and effort,” explains Vladimir Zakharov. – Memory always implies active work, as well as solving a mathematical problem.

You will not be able to read the conditions and immediately give an answer. It is necessary to think, concentrate, apply knowledge — in other words, to do intellectual work. ”

Until scientists learn how to sew chips with Wikipedia, we will have to strain ourselves to remember something, and in order for knowledge to continue to shine, we will have to observe the ancient commandment: “Repetition is the mother of learning.” Tested by science: every time we read a familiar text, the connections between neurons are strengthened, nerve impulses pass through them faster, so we remember the information more firmly.

Diseases that cause true memory disturbances usually begin after 70 years. “The most common cause of such disorders is Alzheimer’s disease,” says Vladimir Zakharov. “At the same time, unlike motor dysfunctions, memory dysfunctions deprive the patient of a human appearance, because he loses the capacity for higher brain activity.” Among the risk factors in the first place is old age, in the second – genetic predisposition, in the third – cardiovascular diseases and head injuries.

Significantly reduce the chances of a bright memory of smoking, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle.

Up to 70 years, the alert is only in the event that there are problems with the memory of recent events. If you do not remember that yesterday you went to visit your best friend, it is better to consult a doctor.

But if you forgot to do what you had planned, because you were tired at work, worried or played Cinderella, this is a duty situation. “Operational memory can be occupied not only by thoughts about vital matters, but also by our experiences, as it happens in stressful moments,” Oksana Lysenko comments. – When emotions are going wild, we can forget to turn off the iron or to congratulate the husband on his birthday.

Interference in the work of our memory causes not only stress and fatigue. Sometimes, unconsciously or consciously, we understand that we really do not need this information, and prohibit ourselves to overload the brain. But there are purely psychological reasons.

When the desire or motivation is obvious, and learning the genealogy of the house of the Romanovs is still impossible, our fears and prejudices prevent us. “A person gives himself an installation:“ I can’t remember it, ”comments Oksana Lysenko. – Either because it is “too difficult”, or because “so much will not fit in the brain.” Often, we acquire “thanks to” the school to “not remember the fear” and “not to know the shame of something”.

Constant emphasis on mistakes and a punitive red pen erect psychological barriers that we continue to fight in adulthood. “Many teachers take responsibility for learning, and responsibility for motivation is completely shifted to the student, while everything should be the other way around,” adds the psychologist. “If you encounter such a problem, it’s important to know about yourself and draw the appropriate conclusions.”

Sometimes we are hampered by the “excellent student syndrome”, that is, the craving for perfectionism. “This trait can also develop through the fault of the school, where it is indecent for the fours to enjoy,” continues Oksana Lysenko. – The habit of executing yourself for not having reached the maximum discourages any motivation. Any goal at the end of the path promises us pleasure, but if we know that we are in for sadness, the taste for life is lost. ” It is important to allow yourself the right to make a mistake and not be afraid to take the first step.

There are things that can be realized only on personal experience. When we understand that we have just understood the film in English, without reading the subtitles, it becomes clear that anything is possible in this world.

Memory: its boundaries and your abilities

1) One of the easiest ways to improve memory is to develop synesthesia. This ability to use multiple information storage systems at once, for which the five senses are responsible, makes it possible to “glue” images of a different order.

As a workout, imagine what color your city in which you visited, or what taste 33 letters of the Russian alphabet.

2) The “instant photo” exercise can be performed while walking. Stop, turn your head to the right, close your eyes and describe the picture you see to yourself.

Open your eyes and see what is out of focus. Now turn your head to the left and take a second “snapshot.”

Perception and attention will escalate after 2 weeks.

3) Bearing in mind the formula “7 plus or minus 2”, it’s better to start playing with matches with five pieces. Squeeze them into a fist, throw on the table and try for 3-5 seconds to remember the resulting pattern. Cover the picture with a sheet of paper and play it back next to it from memory.

If you do not remember where the match lay, trust your intuition. When you bring the number of matches to the maximum, that is, up to 9 pieces, paint them in different colors, complicating your task.

4) In the writings of Mozart, many sounds in the range of 5000−8000 Hertz, which have a beneficial effect on the brain. Disks can be put both during employment, and after them to recover forces. If classical music is not to the court, listen to the beat of the metronome, setting the tempo 1 beat per second.

After 4 minutes, you will be in the alpha rhythm state and will be able to memorize 25% more information than usual.

5) Over age and genes we have no power, but we can take care of the health of the cardiovascular system with our own hands. Search for salvation should be in sport and a healthy lifestyle.

In cardiovascular diseases, blood circulation is impaired, which can lead to ischemic stroke (brain infarction), after which parts of the brain die off due to lack of oxygen. Such strokes and cause memory impairment.

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