Image: brighamandwomens.org

Another year is coming to an end and quite sadly some fond memories of the year with it, as we most likely won’t fully remember them in the coming years.

As much as we often try to keep these memories with us till whenever, our memory more often than not fails us.

But with a couple of memory manipulation tips as suggested by Dr. Julia Shaw, a scientist, psychologist and senior lecturer at London South Bank University, you can hold on to those memories for as long as you want.

According to Dr. Shaw, the idea of memory manipulation is for someone to be able to “go into your memory – or you yourself could go into your own memory – and manipulate it.”

Shaw explained that a memory is “a network in the brain. When you look for a memory you send a little probe into your brain to find the memory, spreading activation.”

An easy way to think about this is by imaging the brain as a galaxy and the memory network is made up of stars that are constantly moving.

The connection between stars can easily be distorted and broken, which is what happens when we forget something. “Maybe you forget a detail, or you add in a detail when someone mentions it to you. These connections change all the time,” explained Shaw.

When we think of memories, it’s usually in reference to our personal experiences, but the quality of memories can have implications in politics and even criminal cases. When it comes to manipulating people’s memories, changing what people remember can have real-life implications. “The biggest way to hack someone’s memory is to get someone to confuse their memory so to get them to repeatedly picture something happening that didn’t. If you do that, you can make people think they did things that never happened.”

So how do you stop someone corrupting your memory? “If you can understand how to manipulate it you can also harness it.”

Now, here is how to boost your memory:

Make a big memory trace

Try to think of what it feels like to be there, what it looks like to be there, what it smells like to be there. What are you feeling right now? Get a multisensory experience that you can put down in the brain that’s as large as possible.

Write things down

Realise how fallible memory is, and that you’re going to overestimate remembering things in the future, and make notes as quickly as possible and without anyone else, so your memories haven’t been corrupted by other people’s stories.

Make it weird

Try to make associations between things that aren’t normal. Make the memory weird and exceptional. Your memory is better at remembering exceptional things because you’re engaging with the information for longer.

Author: Yemi Olarinre