Sharpen Your Sensory Memory and Sharpen Your Recall

Struggling to recall a memory may occur because you failed to register what was going on during the original experience. Thus, it is important to enhance your memory by paying more attention to your sensory experiences. When you put clear images into your mind about what you see, hear, touch, taste and smell, the easier it is to establish a vivid and easily recollected memory. So improve your memory by doing these suggested exercises to sharpen your senses.

Exercise Your Visual Sense Memory

Select a familiar object (pineapple, chair, item of clothing) and study it intently. Then look away and draw the object with as many details as you can while saying out loud the many details you are trying to incorporate into your drawing. Next, describe the features, out loud, that you cannot capture on paper because of limited drawing abilities. Note: you do not have to be able to draw to do this exercise. It is about recalling visual detail, not skilled artistry.

Exercise Your Sound-Sense Memory

Focus on the diversity of sounds around you. Go to a quiet place and listen. How many different sounds do you hear? How many sounds can you distinguish? Try to identify each individual sound.  Now concentrate on only one sound and write down all the things that make it different from all the other sounds. Is it a higher-pitched sound? Do you hear a rumbling or beating sound? Is it a screeching sound or a low-hum sound? The more specific you can get with your descriptions, the more you are training your ear.

Exercise Your Touch Memory

Set out objects of similar size such as: a tennis ball, orange, potato, onion, ball of yarn, baseball, sponge, round bottle, can, etc. Sort the objects with your eyes closed and, keeping your eyes closed, identify them by touch alone. Do not pick up, handle or manipulate the objects in any way. Touch an object with only two fingers of either hand. Note the objects’ different textures. Do this with a partner. Have them pick out the objects, that way you won’t have any beforehand knowledge of what you are going to touch.

Exercise Your Taste and Smell Memory

Take a number of spices in their containers and set them out on a table. Identify each spice by it’s smell alone (do not look at the spice label). You may find several of these spices difficult to distinguish by smell so try tasting them as well. Select some unusual spices, here are some examples: minced onion, parsley, orange peel, cumin, chervil, sweet basil, sage, black pepper, mint, cinnamon.

Think Smart A Neuroscientists Prescription for Improving Your Brains Performance(pp. 78-85). (2010). New York, NY: River Head Books.