How to make your brain work at full capacity: 5 scientific methods tested in practice

Want to improve your well-being and performance? You have two choices. First: do yoga and defend a PhD. This approach is effective, but it takes many years and ends with baldness. Second, use built-in cheat codes to force brain activity without any dissertations or uncomfortable poses. We will explain how this is done. The following methods are different degrees of complexity, but do not carry a threat to life, health or ecology. In addition, scientists confirm that they do work!

1. Memorize lists by the method of Loki

We do not know how to memorize long lists, no matter how sad it is. Think: when you go to the grocery store, how many goods can you remember without a cheat sheet? Three? Five? That more? Well, yes, of course - and then you come home and realize that you forgot to buy kefir, because of which, Yeshkin cat, and started a trip to the store.

All this is rather strange if we consider that we don’t have any problems with regard to memorizing many things in life. For example, we can easily recall the location of hundreds of different places in the city, even if we do not know their address. Do you even know the address of your favorite bakery? In the same way, we remember the location of hundreds of different household trinkets - from “still clean” socks to the fridge. None of us ever thought about compiling a list of all our junk, but when a neighbor comes in to borrow a flashlight, we usually know where to find it - usually in a closet with a burnt-out bulb. Now, if we could just as well remember everything that we want ...


You can easily find your way because a huge part of your computing power is used by memory to study the surrounding space. These same powers can be used to memorize long lists. Real mnemonics use this method from time immemorial.

How it works: first of all, we choose some place that we can imagine without difficulty - our home, quarter, anything. Then mentally simulate a walk in a familiar place, and individual items in the list are associated with specific points of the route.

Suppose you are trying to memorize a list of products by selecting a neighborhood to visualize the list. What is there first on the list? Condoms? Introducing the scattered condom walkway leading down the stairs. Then beer - we represent a neighbor in a trip near the entrance, you can even without pants. Next on the list are ravioli, which means that ravioli grow on the trees in the yard instead of cones. Let your imagination work. The more absurd, the better, because absurd scenes are easier to remember.

At first, it will seem like a waste of time, but only at first - until you realize how easy it is to memorize lists. It all comes down to the attraction of spatial memory. Moreover, you will see the benefit immediately, since the method does not require many years of practice. During one study in 1968, American students were offered to memorize a list of 40 items by associating each with a place on the campus. Not only that, on average, they memorized 38 points, but the next day, students were able to recall 34 items on the list.

In another study, German retirees tried to memorize a similar list by association with Berlin sights. Before using Loki’s method (that’s what he called it), they could remember three words on average. By associating the word "father" with the Berlin Zoo, retirees were able to raise the figure to 23 words in the list. And yes, it is not at all necessary to associate a piece for each item. Seriously, try it.

2. Keep information in memory using rational repetition

Time has the vile habit of abrading files in our memory at random. So it turns out that remembering the Pythagorean theorem - in any way, but it’s easy to list the second composition of the Jamaica national hockey team. For the same reason, students are so fond of preparing for exams on the last night - this is not only because of the characteristic sloppiness, but also because of the fear of forgetting some of the material when preparing in advance for, say, a month. So it turns out that they push all the information into the head at the last moment, knowing that immediately after the exam it will evaporate. Still nothing, if it is not students of medical university ... Do not give a scalpel.

What we need is a way to memorize a lot and for a long time, but without unnecessary problems. In other words, the scientific method of optimizing the temporal and energy costs by increasing the amount of stored information to the maximum level within the limits of biologically acceptable norms. Elementary!


The process of information loss by the brain can be measured using the so-called “forgetting curve”. For all, it is slightly different, but the same curve. The bottom line is that the more time passes, the more you forget, and the most quickly forgetting occurs in the first few days. If you want information not to be lost, there is an excellent method for this. We will have to spend more time than in the case of the Loki method, but if work or a diploma is at stake, it is worth it. In general, it is necessary to find out at what speed you forget the data, and to adapt with the help of "intelligent memorization" using the "rational repetition" method.

Suppose you learn Spanish, and in four months the session is coming. The most primitive version of meaningful memorization will require writing Russian words and their Spanish counterparts (which are the goal) on the cards. In addition, you will need three cardboard boxes (in case of a shortage of boxes, you can simply distribute the cards in three heaps, it does not matter) with marking:

  1. Daily
  2. Weekly
  3. Monthly

Marking indicates how often you have to look at the cards in a particular box. "What else! I can remember already!" - you say. You can, only for a while. But in order to determine how much we need our boxes. So, the goal of the method is to reduce the time spent on memorizing as much as possible.

At first, look at the maps every day. Those that you remember, move from the daily to the weekly box. A week later, review the cards in the weekly box. Those that are not remembered, put back in the box for daily inspection. Every day the number of cards in the daily pile will decrease. After a couple of weeks, you will notice that some cards sit in a weekly box. You can try to move them to the monthly box. At the end of the month, we check the third, monthly heap and if something is forgotten there, we throw the forgotten into the weekly. As a result, all cards must migrate to the last box, and the words firmly in memory. Stretching validation periods serves to save time. Why cram a certain word every day, if it is enough to do it once a week or a month?

Naturally, the repetition periods in our example are purely conditional. If the exam is in two weeks, then you can sort the material into three other groups: once a day, once every two days, once every three days. The main thing - gradually increase the length of the period between views.

And yes, the method works, and how! One Polish scientist named Peter Wozniak conducted an experiment on himself, during which he memorized a meaningless set of several thousand syllables. It turned out that he was able to remember this abracadabra three years later! So, if you see a homeless man on the street, muttering some absurdity under his breath, he straightens his forgetting curve with rational repetition. Do not believe - ask for yourself!

3. Write down (even if you will not re-read)

Well, quickly, when was the last time you wrote something? When signed in the passport? When you parked in the second row and left a note to those you blocked - and so you parked, went for the matches, here's the phone number? Any of the selected works of Esenin (or, alternatively, Mayakovsky) on the wall of the entrance? In this age of smartphones, SMS and social networks, few have already been able to at least blackmail the prodigal bosses with the help of notes delicately drawn from a hand on a piece of paper. And it’s a pity, because by the same token we sacrifice an effective method of using motor memory to memorize abstract information.


The process of writing by hand causes a surge of activity of the nervous system, which is not worth even dream of those who simply "hammer on the clave." During an experiment conducted at Indiana University, first-grade pupils who studied the alphabet were divided into two groups. The first showed the letters and explained what was happening, and the second was also forced to practice writing those letters. When the kids were stuffed into a magnetic resonance tomograph, the brains of the “writers” glowed like Chernobyl cabbage. Brain activity was not only enhanced, but also resembled a picture of quite adult homo sapiens, although without adult stupidities, such as "since I'm in this box, maybe check your cholesterol level?".

In other words, this method is similar to the Loki method described above. It is similar in the sense that we can use an additional part of the brain to help with memorization. The keyboard was invented because typing is faster and easier than writing by hand. But at the same time, we sacrificed the unique ability of the manuscript to imprint information in memory. Remember those same cards with words to memorize? Instead of printing the cards, sign them by hand. Plus memorization is guaranteed.

Studies confirm that this method is especially effective when working with completely incomprehensible letters or numbers: programming languages, characters, hot water bills, etc. To repeat: complex hand movements engage the motor memory, enhancing the memory effect.

So, you can eat and remember with your head. But that is not all! The following example will be of interest to those of us who have a pronounced temperament.

4. Control emotional surges with non-dominant hand.

We all know at least one uncle who likes to stay because of sheer nonsense - traffic lights, a confused order in a diner, the upcoming apocalypse. Usually these are cute guys, until they have a roof, and they do not roll a pensioner into a pancake with an asphalt roller because her dachshund marked the wrong door.

There are, of course, a lot of all sorts of psychotherapeutic tricks for instant calm, which your class teacher has taught you (“Stop and count to ten!”), But which do not work, because at the moment of brutality, there are several is difficult. What you need is to increase the barrier of resistance to the desire for physical violence, until innocent people or Poland suffered.


This method came up with guys from the University of New South Wales. Being serious scientists, they overshadowed jazz and kittens in sunglasses, and instead suggested that especially violent hobbits use their non-dominant hand more often. No, the essence of the experiment is not that the right-handed person will calm down if he takes the mount in his left hand. Everything is a little more interesting. The subjects were asked to change the roles of the hands for a long period and to perform quite ordinary tasks that do not pose a threat to humanity - open and shut the doors, pour coffee, write anonymous nasty e-mail to the authorities and so on. After a couple of weeks, the participants in the experiment showed an increased level of emotional control, even when deliberately trying to wreak them out.

How can this be? The fact is that "colorful" behavior depends not only on the emotional level, but also on the level of self-control. This is both good and bad. Bad because self-control is not unlimited. Good because it is a physical process. In other words, self-control can be pumped out like biceps.

Habitual methods of dealing with temperamental behavior include meditation, psychotherapy and a straitjacket. In this case, a person is put face to face with a whole bunch of small household irritants, which allows him to develop immunity to nervous breakdowns, without crossing the line. After all, it is not very convenient to do the usual things with an unusual hand, isn't it? But there is no one to beat for it with a griddle. Have to get used to.

The result of the experiment was the increased resistance of the test subjects to strong stimuli. This method is unlikely to help Ambidextram, but they should be reassured by the fact that in the event of a shootout, they can fire with two hands at once.

And finally:

5. Increase immunity by looking at pictures.

It would seem that we have no way to control our own incidence, not counting diet and hygiene. But we are not here to learn, how to eat tofu and pick it out of your teeth? Want to strengthen the immune system - look through the medical encyclopedia. It is not necessary to read, there will be enough pictures.


Your brain controls everything, including the immune system. And we know that certain kind of pictures can cause all sorts of somatic reactions - saliva at the sight of a sandwich, an erection at the sight of the Miss Universe, etc. And if you have pictures of sick people in front of you, the body includes defense mechanisms to the fullest.

Scientists from the University of British Columbia showed their victims a slideshow with entertaining pictures of patients to measure the immunity levels of the test subjects before and after. So, the whole ten minutes, the students spent looking at patients with leprosy, tuberculosis and enuresis. At the end of the experiment, it turned out that the leukocytes in the guinea pigs understood what was required of them, and began to produce interleukin 6 (IL-6), a protein produced to fight infections and burns.

If you think that such a reaction can simply be attributed to an increased level of stress, then you did not guess. Although, in this case, the test subjects were not forced to take part in the experiment under the threat of being shot, another group of applicants were shown pictures with evil guys directing a wide range of firearms at them. The level of IL-6 production in the latter group increased by only 6%. But for those who looked at the sores, already by all 23%.

From the point of view of evolution, everything is clear here - if you see that the cave brethren falls dead to the left and right because of the prehistoric flu, then it makes sense to quickly develop immunity, so as not to experience the charms of mortal agony on itself. So, these doctors of yours powder your brains by hanging cute pictures of wonderful landscapes and funny clowns in the waiting room. Would you like to help, would hang the results of the autopsy of a patient with bubonic plague.

Watch the video: 4 Exercises to Test How Fast Your Brain Is (February 2020).


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