Moving your body is one of the best memory improvement strategies.
Manuela Macedonia and Thomas Knosche at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have discovered that language students remember significantly more words when they are taught with movement to accompany them. What’s more they were able to use the words more readily when creating new sentences.
They got 20 volunteers, over 6 days, to learn an artificial language called Vimmi, designed to make the results of the study easier to interpret.
Half of the material was taught using written and spoken instructions with exercises, while the other half was taught along with body movements accompanying each word. Basically, the students were asked to act the words out.
Now, of course, as babies, we don’t learn new words in isolation, but in conjunction with being shown an object or observing an action. But it turns out, to the surprise of the researchers, that moving about also helped students to learn abstract words, such as ‘rather’, which has no obvious action belonging to it.
Using fMRI scans, Macedonia and Knosche were able to demonstrate that acting out a word creates a more complex representation of the word in the brain, and that makes it more easily retrieved.
But if you are a member of Genius Material, you already know this, and you are encouraged to act out your notes and to use note-making methods which use movement, space and location. And it’s no coincidence that we suggest that when you test yourself, you close your eyes in order to see your notes in your mind’s eye and you write your notes in the air as you talk them through out loud.
So now you have the scientific backup that incorporating movement into your revision is a great strategy for improving your memory.