Why do we stand in front of an open refrigerator door?
How often have you walked halfway up a set of stairs just to stop and wonder why you’re going up them in the first place, or stood in front of an open refrigerator door looking at its contents trying to remember what you wanted to snack on?
Have you found that by retracing your steps and going back to the original place where the thought occurred, helps you to remember? This is called reintegration, by reinstating the original conditions of when the memory was formed; we are better able to recall the original thought. We tend to forget when trying to recall something in circumstances different from those in which we learned it. So retracing your steps to the original spot where the thought took place often enhances your memory.
(There is a school of thought; which recommend studying at the same time in the same location and at the same desk to help capitalize on this).
So these short memory lapses are normal and don’t take a lot to fix, however it could be a problem if this happened on a transatlantic flight, and also very expensive! All joking aside, it’s not a big deal to walk back to the original room where the memory was formed, but it’s a perfect time to practice crazy ridiculous nonsensical associations. As I’ve said many times before, all memory systems are based on forming ridiculous images between what you wish to remember and what you already know. This is why you probably know the shape of Italy and not the shape of Benin…just a wild guess. It’s because you have associated the shape of Italy to something you already know.
So in these simple instances, and to avoid retracing your steps, you need to form a crazy association between the thing we wish to remember, the book upstairs on the bedside table or the half finished apple pie, and the thing we already know, the stairs, which we know we will be walking up, or the refrigerator, which we know we will be opening. So we combine the two in a crazy union….simply imagine walking up the stairs and they are covered with gigantic beautifully leather bound tomes, perhaps tripping you up as you fight your way past them, or visualize opening the refrigerator door and a huge apple pie flies out and hits you in the face or see hundreds of apple pies doing the same thing.
Now you can go eat some apple pie and read your book knowing you have increased your memory power…don’t forget the ice cream?
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