Do you want to improve your memory? Your grades?

Are you worried about your memory? About getting older? About your risk of developing Alzheimer's?

This site, together with its companion site, About memory, offers hundreds of articles and research reports on improving your memory and learning, and how memory can falter. Mempowered focuses on user-friendly advice, while About memory collects and organizes the research, and provides articles of how memory and the brain work.

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Book cover
Book cover
Book cover
Book cover
Book cover
Book cover
book cover
Book cover
Book cover
Book cover

Recent Blog Posts

  • My Memory Journal: journal & guide to improving your memory
  • Make Your Own Memory Journal: digital version available for immediate download
  • Prices slashed on all Wayz Press memory and study ebooks, for the holiday period
  • New articles with tips on improving your sleep, and advice on building cognitive reserve

My Memory Journal

My new book for the new year (sorry, I did try to get it out sooner!) is My Memory Journal. This is a paperback, a journal that's also an everyday memory strategy, with instructions on how to use it, plus a brief discussion of a memory strategy or habit that you can focus on each week. The Memory Journal covers six months, so there are 26 such "Focuses". The Focuses cover such topics as: Mindset, Goal-setting, Cognitive load, Sleep, Visualization, Senses, Monitoring, etc. There's a page for each day, so the whole thing comes in at about 266 pages. At the moment the book's only available at Amazon, and directly from Createspace (I get maximum royalty there), but in the new year I'll see about widening that.

At the same time as a group of French parents and teachers have called for a two-week boycott of homework (despite the fact that homework is officially banned in French primary schools), and just after the British government scrapped homework guidelines, a large long-running British study came out in support of homework.

The study has followed some 3000 children from preschool through (so far) to age 14 (a subset of around 300 children didn’t attend preschool but were picked up when they started school). The latest report from the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE), which has a much more complete database to call on than previous studies, has concluded that, for those aged 11-14, time spent on homework was a strong predictor of academic achievement (in three core subjects).

I was listening to a podcast the other day. Two psychologists (Andrew Wilson and Sabrina Galonka) were being interviewed about embodied cognition, a topic I find particularly interesting. As an example of what they meant by embodied cognition (something rather more specific than the fun and quirky little studies that are so popular nowadays — e.g., making smaller estimations of quantities when leaning to the left; squeezing a soft ball making it more likely that people will see gender neutral faces as female while squeezing a hard ball influences them to see the faces as male; holding a heavier clipboard making people more likely to judge currencies as more valuable and their opinions and leaders as more important), they mentioned the outfielder problem.

I have previously reported on how gait and balance problems have been associated with white matter lesions, and walking speed and grip strength have been associated with dementia and stroke risk. Another recent study, involving 93 older adults (70+) has added to this evidence, with the finding that those with non-amnestic MCI were much more likely to be slow walkers.

The study involved 54 seniors with no cognitive impairment, 31 with non-amnestic MCI and eight with amnestic MCI. Passive infrared sensors fixed in series on the ceilings of participants’ homes enabled their walking speed to be monitored unobtrusively over a three-year period.

Those with non-amnestic MCI were nine times more likely to be slow walkers than moderate or fast walkers, and more likely to show greater variability in walking speed.

We all like simple solutions. However much we may believe we are ‘above’ black-&-white dichotomies, that of course we understand that every situation is complex, nevertheless we have a brain that can only think of a very very few things at once. So it's unsurprising that we are drawn to solutions that can be summed up simply, that can fit comfortably within the limitations of working memory.