To improve your memory, a neuropsychologist reveals the best method

To improve your memory, a neuropsychologist reveals the best method

No, the brain does not only use 10% of its capacities. No, you do not necessarily have more visual learning than oral… Mathieu Hainselin, neuropsychologist and member of the Scientific Council of the B2V Observatory of Memories wants to put an end to these “neuromyths”, some of which can limit our learning.

Stop aux neuromythes !

Overall, neuromyths are widely held but erroneous beliefs about how the human brain works. These misconceptions are often based on real scientific elements but misinterpreted, truncated, or not updated. Result: despite advances in research, they persist within society.

One of the most emblematic examples is that we only use 10% of our brain. This attractive idea popularized by works of fiction (numerous superhero comics or the film Lucy by Luc Besson) suggests that we have enormous untapped potential. But as Neuropsychologist Mathieu Hainselin reveals, research put an end to this myth a long time ago: “Over the past fifteen years, the study of the resting network (or default mode network) has shown that in reality, even when we are not doing anything in particular, most of the brain is active, and not just 10%…

Damaging consequences for education

These neuromyths are often maintained by complex mechanisms such as the authority effect, the familiarity bias, and even an integration into our personal identity. Thus, the neuromyth linked to preferred learning style is very present with reflections like: “I’m visual, I see the page of the book again“. A limiting belief that is not without consequences.”This neuromyth of preferred learning style is probably the one that has the most damaging impact on educational practices, because it leads to depriving oneself of very effective learning strategies. Indeed, these are based in particular on multimodality, that is to say the fact of combining several channels to learn: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.” specifies the neuropsychologist.

Good in his body, good in his head!

The best strategy for learning

But then what are the most effective learning and memorization strategies? According to Mathieu Hainselin, Neuropsychologist, there are two main keys:

  • Test your knowledge: This helps improve your retrieval skills, which are essential when you want to find what you have learned for a conversation or an exam. “This process of testing yourself involves facing your own failure, which can be stressful, and much less “comfortable” than rereading, where you just check the familiarity of the course on the surface. In practice, you can prepare cards with the question on one side and the answer on the other and test yourself with quizzes. It’s even better with several people orally, because we combine writing, reading, speaking and playing…” specifies the neuropsychologist;
  • Space out your learning over time: Instead of revising all at once, it is more efficient to split and spread the revision time over several days. The ideal is to couple it with tests, thus doing “spaced recovery”. “The more we repeat the retrieval path in memory, the more it trains our brain to find the information and the less effort we have to produce! If we increase the time between sessions, this makes it possible to better combat progressive forgetting, because when a memory is going to be forgotten, we reactivate it…” said the expert.

Concretely, it is advisable to carry out a schedule of revisions and tests. “Teachers can help their students by preparing a “question bank” to review and anchor content, and by asking them a few questions before starting the lesson. New digital tools (platforms) make it possible to carry out surveys in real time and obtain the percentage of correct answers, a good indicator also for the teacher” concludes Mathieu Hainselin.

In the absence of having 90% of our brain left to use, we can very effectively increase our learning and memorization performance, by adopting strategies that have proven themselves!