Expert Outlook: Learn Why People Forget and Strategies to Use for Successful Remembering
There are many reasons we forget things. Sarah A. Raskin, PhD, has spent her career studying why people forget and what we can do about it.
By Erica Weber, PhD, Research Scientist, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research
Last summer, Sarah A. Raskin, PhD, shared her research on memory and brain health strategies in an online webinar* entitled “Managing Your Memory.” Her presentation explored the different types of memory tasks people face in their everyday lives and provided helpful strategies for successful remembering.
Dr. Raskin is a board-certified neuropsychologist and the Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where she researches improving prospective memory (or “remembering to remember”) in people with brain injuries. Some of the more salient points Dr. Raskin covered are listed below.
External and environmental memory strategies: Many devices can help support your memory, ranging from basic and low-tech (like notebooks and paper calendars) to customizable, high-tech options (like smartphones and tablet apps). You must use these strategies consistently so they become part of your everyday routine. Put these items in a highly visible area so you can easily find them.
Internal strategies: Mnemonic devices, like using acronyms, are helpful to organize the way you add information to memory or your brain. One example is recalling the letters “PEMDAS” for the mathematical order of operations (e.g., Parentheses; Exponents; Multiplication and Division; Addition and Subtraction). Visualizing the information you want to remember can help form a more robust memory.
Spaced practice: When and how often you practice remembering can have a big impact on how well you remember information. Spaced practice over a longer period (as opposed to “cramming”) improves the encoding of information and helps in recalling it when needed.
Finally, Dr. Raskin stressed that overall healthy living is important to support your brain health and memory function. This includes getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. If it’s good for your body, it’s good for your brain!
*“Managing Your Memory,” was presented as part of a speaker series on August 1, 2022. This series is supported by Kessler Foundation, the Northern New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury System, and by a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Grant #90DPTB0003.