Memory Enhancement

Need to Memorize Something? Audio Recall is Not Your Best Asset

Need to #Memorize Something? Audio Recall is Not Your Best Asset #memory

A new study by researchers at Univeristy of Iowa suggests you are far better at recalling information from some of your senses than others. Namely, people are wired to be much better at recalling sights and tactile sensations than audio information.

According to the study's press release:

"Participants were exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, and tactile sensations. They were then asked to listen to pure tones through headphones, look at various shades of red squares, and feel low-intensity vibrations by gripping an aluminum bar. Each set of tones, squares, and vibrations was separated by time delays ranging from one to 32 seconds.

Although student's memory declined across the board, when time delays grew longer, the decline was much greater for sounds and began as early as four to eight seconds after being exposed to them.

In a second experiment, the researchers tested participants' memory using stimuli they might encounter on an everyday basis. Participants listened to audio of dogs barking, watched silent videos of a basketball game, and touched and held objects blocked from view, such as a coffee mug. The researchers found that between an hour and a week later, students were worse at remembering the sounds they had heard, but their memory for visual scenes and tactile objects was about the same."

Need to #Memorize Something? Audio Recall is Not Your Best Asset #memory

Our minds are wired to excel at visual and tactile memory, but not auditory memory. On a practical level, this is good to keep in mind when you are trying to commit something to memory, or help others do the same.

When you are teaching somebody, try reinforcing the concepts with a visual aid. If you want to remember something, try creating an image of it. You can do this on paper, or in your mind's eye.

Encoding information as symbolic visuals in your imagination is a common technique used by memory competition participants. Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein, describes how in his popular TED talk.


By understanding and navigating our minds' strengths and weaknesses, we are better equipped to fulfill our goals. When it comes to memory, most people can achieve seemingly superhuman feats by leveraging the extraordinary strengths of the human brain.

The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. Josiah Hultgren is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a NeuroCoach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain. His mission is to help create a more vibrant world and apply neuroscience in ways that help people reach their highest potential. The content was derived from the Neuro Coach Pro Certification Program training created by Mark Robert Waldman.


Achilles’ Ear? Inferior Human Short-Term and Recognition Memory in the Auditory Modality
Bigelow J, Poremba A (2014) Achilles’ Ear? Inferior Human Short-Term and Recognition Memory in the Auditory Modality. PLoS ONE 9(2): e89914. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089914


Yawning is The Fastest Way to Hack Mental Stress and Focus

 Yawning is The Fastest Way to Hack Mental #Stress and #Focus

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.

Olympic athletes yawn before they race. Musicians and speakers yawn before they go on stage. Snipers get trained to yawn before they pull the trigger. Pack animals yawn together to establish communal empathy. This is because yawning is the ultimate stress and focus hack.

Here are 10 reasons to yawn frequently:

1. Stimulates alertness and concentration
2. Optimizes brain activity and metabolism
3. Improves cognitive function
4. Increases memory recall
5. Enhances consciousness and introspection
6. Lowers stress
7. Relaxes your upper body
8. Fine-tunes your sense of time
9. Increases empathy and social awareness
10. Enhances pleasure and sensuality

Yawning clears away the fogginess of sleep and increases cerebral blood flow. After yawning, you quickly benefit with enhanced mental efficiency and a heightened state of cognitive awareness. In fact, yawning appears to be the fastest way to lower mental stress and anxiety. 

Many neurochemicals get released during the yawning experience that are essential for motivation, memory recall, and voluntary decision-making. In fact, it’s hard to find another activity that positively impacts so many brain functions. So, If you want to maintain an optimally healthy brain, make it a habit to yawn whenever you want to relax or enhance your ability to concentrate on a task.

It has a similar effect on a person as having a cup of coffee. It helps your brain shift between the highly focused demands of decision-making and restful daydreaming states that give you access to creative problem-solving. It even regulates the time clocks in your brain, helping you to sleep better at night. Yawning helps you to wake up and stay alert during a stressful work day.


Yawning also appears to be a primitive form of empathy and is found in many mammals. There is a connection between frequent yawning and increased emotional empathy. That’s why we recommend that yawning a few times before entering a stressful business meeting or discussing a sensitive issue.

We recommend you yawn as many times a day as possible. When you wake up? Yawn. When you're confronting a difficult problem at work? Yawn. Whenever you feel anger, anxiety or stress? Yawn. 

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Yawn before giving an important talk, yawn before you take a test, and yawn whenever you feel bored. Do it mindfully, paying close attention to how it affects your mood and awareness.

Conscious yawning takes a little discipline to get past our social conditioning that it is rude. Another barrier is the “excuses” that people sometimes use: “I don’t feel like it,” “I’m not tired,” and a favorite, “I can’t.” Of course you can. All you need to do to trigger a deep yawn is to fake it four or five times. Try it right now, and you’ll see how each yawn feels more pleasant and relaxing.


A Mindful Yawning Experiment:

This exercise only takes two minutes, and works better if you are standing up. 

  1. Begin by taking a slow deep breath and then yawn. You can fake them at first, and if you make an “ahh” sound during exhalation you should be able to trigger a series of real yawns on your fourth or fifth try.
  2. As you continue to yawn, pay close attention to the sensations in your mouth, your throat, your chest and belly, and don’t be surprised if your eyes start watering. 
  3. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or disoriented, stop, sit down, and rest. Continue to yawn another ten or twelve times, and then pause, noticing the different body sensations you are having. Do you feel more relaxed and alert? 

If you feel tired, it probably means that you are exhausted from overwork. If you’ve been particularly stressed or anxious, you might find yourself yawning a great deal over the next half hour, or even throughout the day after you’ve tried this yawning experiment. It means that your brain needs more blood circulation to improve neural performance. Enjoy the yawns, knowing that it’s a special treat for your busy brain.

Check out Mark Waldman's free 6 Days to Enlightenment email series for information on how you can access enlightened states often and easily.

Can Sex Make You Smarter?

Can Sex Make You Smarter?

A recent study found that rats that engaged in "chronic" sex (once daily for 14 days) developed more powerful brains. The rats gained a greater number of brain cells and neurons in the hippocampus- a region associated with memory. 

Negative stress (such as anxiety) suppresses neuron growth and weakens the hippocampus. So the researchers set out to examine whether sex, a rewarding stressor, also changed the brain.

After male rats had had sex once a day for 14 days, the researchers measured neuron growth, brain cell proliferation, and dendrite complexity in the hippocampus. Rats were then tested for improved functioning with novelty suppressed feeding and an elevated plus maze. They found significant improvements on all fronts.

These findings suggest that sex and other rewarding experiences, reduce anxiety, protect the mind, and improve the brain.


Sexual Experience Promotes Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus Despite an Initial Elevation in Stress Hormones

Leuner B, Glasper ER, Gould E (2010) Sexual Experience Promotes Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus Despite an Initial Elevation in Stress Hormones.PLoS ONE 5(7): e11597. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011597