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Another quick, easy way to improve your memory:

During recall, match your emotional expression to the one you had when you learned the material:

Two studies examined the general prediction that one’s emotional expression should facilitate memory for material that matches the expression. The authors focused on specific facial expressions of surprise. In the first study, participants who were mimicking a surprised expression showed better recall for the surprising words and worse recall for neutral words, relative to those who were mimicking a neutral expression. Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1, showing that participants who mimicked a surprised expression recalled more words spoken in a surprising manner compared with those that sounded neutral or sad. Conversely, participants who mimicked sad facial expressions showed greater recall for sad than neutral or surprising words. The results provide evidence of the importance of matching the emotional valence of the recall content to the facial expression of the recaller during the memorization period.

Source: “Well, slap my thigh: Expression of surprise facilitates memory of surprising material.” from the journal “Emotion”

Good general rule of thumb: Across the board it’s been shown that replicating the elements/environment of how you learned something help in recall.

This was mentioned in the post covering a neuroscientist’s recommendation for the most effective use of caffeine.

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About Eric Barker