Whoever said studying was best accomplished quietly sitting alone in the library?
Former US President Abraham Lincoln was famous for his impressive memory among many other qualities. Wonder what his good memory secret was? Reading out loud, according to the Library of Congress.
In fact, reading and repeating words aloud provides timeless benefit, scientists say, especially when it comes to developing a good memory.
Repeat after me. A recent study published in the fall of 2015 found repeating words aloud can improve verbal memory, particularly if these words are repeated audibly to another person.
Past studies supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH)have shown benefits of reading aloud for memory and neuroplasticity (aka the brain’s ability to physically change), but what these particular findings show is that repeating words out loud directly while facing another person, has greater effects in terms of information retention and recall than sitting silently and reading them.
Good memory study: Results
Participants in this study were asked to repeat the words written down on a sheet of paper in four different ways. First, just repeating the words in their head. Second, repeating the words silently. Then while moving their lips. Then, repeating the words aloud, while also looking at a screen. And finally repeating the words aloud, while directly facing another person.
In each situation, the subjects wore headphones that simply emitted white noise to mask their own voices and avoid auditory feedback.
People with the highest verbal memory recall were those that repeated the words out loud directly to another person, while those that simply repeated the words in their head, had the lowest memory recall.
Functionality of speech helps us all better remember
This study seems to imply that when humans are trying to remember something, if we verbally use our function of speech and we act it out and we interact over the word with another human being, we seem to remember this experience imprint better.
This makes good sense and it’s a good way of practicing memory recall, according to SaludMovil’s Dr.Mosquera.
How we make memories in different ways
When reading, we use our visual pathways to form memory links. We remember the material because it was something we physically saw and looked at.
People who have photographic memory for example are extraordinarily good at making these kinds of memory connections. For the rest of us, relying only on visual memory may leave us with many gaps.
The most effective way to make a memory
When reading out loud, we not only form auditory links in our memory pathways along with visual links, but also we create a memory link to the actual production of the word.
According to a leading expert in memory research, if the word or content is different, it makes it easier to remember as a distinctive memory.
Repetition and recall aloud particularly useful in dementia cases
The memory boosting technique of repetition aloud can be effectively used with middle-aged or older people, especially those who may be struggling with focus and recall.
People with early onset dementia may benefit greatly from techniques like practicing words of a new language out loud. When we teach an old brain new tricks we know that it will help slow age-related mental decline. So exercise your body and exercise your mind!
When you should give it a try
So, next time you are at the dinner table with your family, perhaps talking about something you’ve read that day on the internet or even bringing your SAT word flash cards to the table, be sure to make eye contact and verbally express it.
The likelihood that it will be processed and recalled much better for everyone involved is much greater if you didn’t say anything at all.