Short Term Memory Techniques


The amazing thing about your brain is that it takes in, processes and remembers everything it sees and thinks about. Just think of the information stored away in your brain after all the things you have experienced in your life. They are all in there! However as you also know it is not so easy to bring them out again. Just imagine your eyes, ears, fingers, taste buds and nose being little recording devices and recoding everything as you experience it. Then the film it is all being recorded onto being piled willynilly into a big box sitting at the back of the room. That is what happens with the great majority of the experienced information you take in during a day. It is as if your memory is a series of files with some very neatly kept ones with good labels and pegs on it that the information is organised into, then some ones which might be a little cluttered and not quite organised but it is still possible to find things if you look hard enough and then the great boxes full of files that are completely jumbled up and random and even hard searching would not be able to find what you wanted in there.

So the key ,of course, is organisation. And to help you do that there are a series of really useful lists that you can use to link your new information to. We have already got one very helpful in one in the form of the 1 to 10 list. Here are another couple that will help you power up your short term memory by giving you ‘labels’ for your files!

Think of your body. You know it well and it can provide you with a great list of pegs that you can easily access to link new information to by creating vivid, silly pictures making one new thing attach to each known thing. For example, run through your body and see how we can form the Body List.

1. Toes

2. Knees

3. Buttocks

4. Love handles

5. Shoulders

6. Arms

7. Fingers

8. Collar

9. Face

10. Hair

Easy wasn’t it? You now have this list to hand to link to anything new.

Next here is another way to make a list you can have in the back of your mind when you want to perform some memorisation on new information. This involves thinking about rooms you know well and assigning different items in each room to be the hooks to create your Room List. Here we go with an example:

Room 1 – Kitchen





Rubbish bin

Room 2 Lounge







And so on…. you can have as many rooms as you like.

What you have to do now is to keep going over these lists so that they are automatic in the way that your 1 to 10 list is now automatic. These will be even easier to remember because they are based on things you know really well and form a natural order (hint; when you are making your room lists anchor them by using your own kitchen/lounge/bathroom layout so start at the door – what do you see first, then second, then third….) This means that your Room list might have a different order to someone else’s but that doesn’t matter. It needs to be in the order that works for you. Make sure you keep going over the lists to the stage where you can call them all out by name. Once you have that done you can start playing about with new information by linking it to these and see what works best for you. 

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