Most people can only store between four and different seven items in their short-term memory, but it doesn't have to be this way.
There's a brilliant technique called chunking that involves grouping a number of items into one larger whole to help you remember much more. Keep reading to learn more about it…
Chunking is one way to get past the limit in your short-term memory
So how does chunking work? It’s simple – you just have to create something more meaningful from a seemingly random bits of information to make them more memorable. One example is trying to remember a phone number by making a word (or words) out of the letters on a phone’s dial pad. Another is remembering a list by creating a word out of the first letters, like FLOAT if you need to remember to buy fennel, lettuce, onions, avocados and tomatoes.
Research supports the value of chunking: In one study, an undergraduate volunteer went from being able to remember a seven-digit sequence to remembering an 80-digit sequence after 20 months of practice using chunking. The volunteer was a track runner, so he grouped numbers as running times. For example, 3,492 because three minutes and 49.2 seconds.
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Many memory champions use chunking to assign meaning to difficult-to-remember things to remember them better.
Chunking isn’t just a memory technique, though…
Chunking is much more than just a memory technique – this pattern-recognition is the source of human creativity. Think about it: In everyday life, you naturally seek to find and create patterns to connect disparate things together.
The takeaway here is to try see the patterns and connections and make something more meaningful out of the parts you’re trying to remember. The more you practise the chunking, the more you feed your creativity and, in turn, boost your brain and improve your memory. Amazing!
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