Ever notice how you can remember your grandmother’s freshly baked cookies in the oven or the first time you got up on stage in front of large audience?
Emotions play a large role in our ability to remember things. A study by Duke University shows that both positive and negative emotions are effective at not only allowing the person to be able to the store the memories, but also for the ability to retrieve them (source: webMD).
The study required various women to view 90 images that were either “pleasant,” “unpleasant,” or “neutral.” Brain scans were performed for each viewing. In a different session, the women were then shown the same pictures and asked which ones they remembered. Each of the women were better at recognizing the pictures that caused emotional responses.
Given this study, it can be argued that in order to increase your ability to remember everyday events and objects, you should associate information with meaningful events. Whether you are reading a textbook, studying for a test, or trying to remember something without writing it down, relating the information to something that is relevant to an event in your life will help increase your ability to remember.
For example, when you are trying to remember definitions of words, make a story about your dreams, friends, or family using those words you need to study. You will most certainly remember a great majority of those words, if not all of them. The more outrageous, meaningful, or hilarious you make the story, the more likely you will remember the words or other objects/events you need to remember.