Memory Is Not a Gift. Memory Is a Skill

Advertisers tout supplements. Organic growers push blueberries. But, because memory is a skill and not a gift, for true memory improvement you must train your brain.

The belief that memory can be trained is not new. The Greeks, and later the Romans, developed some of the most prodigious memories the civilized world has ever seen. Memory was ranked as one of the most important disciplines of oratory, a flourishing art at the time. They lived in an age with no paper, so people couldn’t readily refer to notes. Speeches were committed to memory and lawyers depended on their memory in court. Poets, whose role in society was paramount, regularly drew on their enormous powers of recall to recite long passages of verse.

Today, external aids supplant memory. We rely on calculators, cell phones, smart phones, computers and the Internet to assist memory recall, with the result that people get very little training in developing and improving their memory skills. In children, the result can be underachievement in school.

According to researchers from Durham University, who surveyed over three thousand children, what appears to be inattentiveness or low intelligence in children who underachieve at school, may just be poor working memory.

Working memory is the ability to hold information in your head and manipulate it mentally. You use this mental workspace when adding up two numbers spoken to you by someone else without being able to use pen and paper or a calculator, or when remembering a new telephone number, PIN number, web address or vehicle registration number.

Important information is gradually transferred from working memory to long-term memory. The more the information is repeated or used, the more likely it is to eventually end up in long-term memory. Unlike working memory, which is limited and prone to rapid decline, long-term memory can store unlimited amounts of information indefinitely.

The Durham researchers found that ten percent of school children across all age ranges suffer from poor working memory, seriously affecting their learning. Without appropriate intervention, poor working memory in children can affect long-term academic success into adulthood and prevent children from achieving their potential.

Edublox programs follow a holistic approach and improve not only working memory and long-term memory, but also short-term, visual, auditory and sequential memory.