While researching for a new program I am developing, I came across some interesting facts and figures that I hope you also find helpful. Or at the very least might explain why we all forget things so quickly.
· For better memory retention we have to be really interested in the topic. In a coaching session, attention spans vary from 2 to 10 minutes maximum. Therefore, coaches and trainers must vary what they say and do at least every 10 minutes.
· Engaging the amygdala, the emotional response part of our brain, will greatly boost memory. Playing music, smelling favourable smells, or having a visual stimulus engages the amygdala.
· To better recall that memory, you need to have the same stimuli involved that you had when you were learning. (Children may indeed learn more with music playing softly in the background but they must have that same music playing to recall the facts, music isn’t allowed come exam time.)
· The brain cannot multi-task, sorry ladies. What it can do though, and women are definitely better at it than men, is have three things present in the mind which makes us think that we can multi-task. In fact, all of us can only truly focus on one thing at one time.
· Most people forget 90 per cent of what they learn in a classroom within 30 days. The majority of information is lost within the first few hours. (Now I don't feel so bad, I thought I was just stupid.) To retain information, you must go back over it a few times in the following hours and days.
· A typical brain can hold seven new pieces of information for about 30 seconds. If it is not accessed or used in some way within that 30 seconds, it will be lost.
· At first, a memory remains flexible and subject to changing. Hence, if you have a bad experience you should seek help to allow you to change the memory - or reframe it. (Emergency personnel use black humour to do this.)
· Your brain will change information and insert false information to organise your memory into patterns. Essentially, it makes things up or adds information from somewhere else if the pattern doesn't work adequately for your brain to assimilate.
· Long-term memory is held in the hippocampus - our hard drive - for about 11 years and then it goes to another part of the brain. (I thought it fell out onto my pillow when I slept.)
Why is all of this important for me, apart from explaining why I can never find something when I don't put it where it should be, to genuinely learn there needs to be stimulation, early use of the new information and continuous reinforcement.