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Drawing Something Will Help You Remember It

If you're trying to memorize something—say, your grocery list—research says you're better off drawing the items than you are writing them down. In a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers from the University of Waterloo presented participants with a list of simple words, like apple, and gave them 40 seconds to either draw or write the word. Later, they gave participants 60 seconds to recall as many words from the list as possible. "We discovered a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written," the study's lead author, Jeffrey Wammes, said in a press release. "Participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words." Drawing even beat out writing when participants added visual details or doodles to the letters. And you don't need to be a brilliant artist or have a lot of time to devote to drawing to reap the memory benefits, research says. In the study, the quality of the drawings was irrelevant, and the memory improvement kicked in even when participants only had 4 seconds to create their sketch. Learn more techniques for improving your memory with the videos below.


Want To Remember? Draw

More on University of Waterloo's study, and how you can make drawing work for you.

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The Memory Palace Technique

Some memory experts swear by this technique. Here's how to make it work for you.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The memory palace technique works well when you visualize a familiar space, such as your home. 00:43

  2. The brain remembers wacky or weird images more easily. 00:55

  3. People who can perform extraordinary feats of memory tend to rely on spatial memory more than the average person. 02:32

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