Memory improvement tips

By Tony Lam

  • SumoMe

artiests' names

Imagine you are picking up an oil painting with the signature “Renoir” at a flea market. The guy is selling for $10. Are you going to buy it ? How about if the price is $500? Will you pass it ?

Renoir signature

It is a true story happened couple of years ago. The girl attracted by the puppet in a box together with the painting Paysages bords de Seine in a flea market in the Shenandoah Valley priced at $7. Actually, the painting is done by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the impressionist style. She bought the box and about to throw the picture in the trash when her mother stopped her and decided to submit the painting to an auction house.  Finally, the auction house estimated price of the painting to be between $75,000 to $100,000 !!!

There may be hundreds and thousands of valuable paintings at flea markets, yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores waiting to discover.  You may probably miss them if you can’t recall the signatures or names of artists. How good is your memory to remember them?  Here is a simple test for you. Below table shows the signatures and the artists’ names. Study the data for 3 minutes, try your best to remember the artists’ names (either first, last or full name) and the eBay prices. Then, cover up the second and third column and write out the names and prices for each signature.

SignaturesArtists NameseBay price
Bessie Pease GutmannGallery
Maxfield ParrishGallery
Charles H. SawyerGallery
David DavidsonGallery
Frederick “Fred” ThompsonGallery
Marc ChagallGallery
Sam SavittGallery
John Taylor ArmsGallery
Thomas Hart BentonGallery
Wallace NuttingGallery

How many can you remember ? If you score poorly, don’t worry.  Good memory can be acquired by suitable training and exercise. I am assured by a pharmacist who speaks seven languages and can speak out the name of every customer she met. Not only the pharmacist, but her adopted siblings have good memories too.  They give the credits to their father who used a special method to teach them how to remember when they were young.


How to improve memory

Memory is like muscle, without constant practices or exercises, its ability will be weaken or shrunk. By applying suitable systematic training, everyone can strengthen his or her memory to a certain level.  In the book of  “How to develop a brilliant memory”, Dominic introduces three basic memory tools:  Association, Location and Imagination method with examples and exercises. I’m surprised to find that I have been using some techniques for a long time.  I learned it bit by bit without knowing how powerful when they are connected together. I wish our school system has this kind of systematic memory training to our kids. It will easier for them to study.

Here is a tip for you to remember a long password with numbers, characters, or symbols and remember it, applying the association method.

Think of a personal experience that you won’t forget and put it together in a sentence. For example, I walked 30 minutes to (2) Gomes (elementary school )with (my sister) Mary every day. The password can be set as “Iw30m2GomeswMed“. Whenever I recall scenery of what I saw when I walked to school every day with my little sister, I can easily remember the long password.

The book also mentions about Number-Rhyme System. It is to relate each number with a key image with a word that rhymes with it. For example, wine could be used to rhyme with the number 9 . Use this to memorize the following item of trivia :

Queen Victoria of England had nine (wine) children.

I recommend you to read the book, learn the methods and do the exercises. In the meantime, play some memory enhancement games such as Trivia Pursuit card Game or Pexeso online games to practice your memory skills and stretch out your memory capability.

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