UCLA researchers say focusing attention is half the battle in improving memory. Their study shows that formal memory training can improve your recall.
They followed 115 people over the age of 80. Everyone in the class experienced significant improvement in many areas, including retention and recognition.
"If you are able to participate in some type of formal memory training course, you reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Karen Miller of the UCLA Memory Fitness Program.
Focus. That's the first part of the technique. Look, snap and connect an image.
For example, if you parked your car in 3-B, take a mental snap shot and maybe create the picture of three bees buzzing around your car.
"That's the look, paying attention to where we parked, the snap, which is visualizing our car and the bumblebees, and then putting them together for the connect," Miller said.
How would you remember seeing arbitrary words like "Rock" and "Plate?" Imagine something dramatic.
"You come up with maybe a china plate and you have this rock smashing into the plate," Miller said
Drama or becoming emotionally engaged is part of the memory trick.
"The more emotionally stimulating something is, the more likely you're going to remember it," Miller said.
A good attitude helps, too. The study shows people do better if they feel positive about their memory skills.