Revival of the Past

Sarah Muntaz

The brain consists of three main parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brainstem. The cerebrum is responsible for interpreting touch, vision, hearing, speech, reasoning, emotions and learning. The cerebellum is located under the cerebrum and coordinates muscle movements and allows for a person to maintain posture and balance. The brainstem includes the midbrain, pons and medulla and is responsible for carrying out functions that we as humans do without question, such as breathing and digesting (“Brain Anatomy, Anatomy of the Human Brain”).

It is often argued that the brain is an organ and not a muscle. However, it can be trained like one. The more you exercise a muscle, the more fit you become. Currently, a common practice for memory improvement is playing brain games via apps, such as Lumosity. Though these games claim to “train your brain,” there are memorization strategies that have been proved successful since the Greco-Roman times. The loci method has been used by the Greeks and Romans to help orators memorize their lectures. As the word loci means location in Latin, the loci method of memorization involves associating parts of the speech with certain items in different locations. When the person wants to retrieve these memories, they imagine going to a location, seeing the item, and remember the memory associated with it (“Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci” 2013).

Though this technique has been used since the ancient times and people would prefer using apps and playing games in this day and age, it was proven successful in a recent experiment. The experiment involved using people who rank highly in World Memory Championships and people who have average memory. When shown a list of 72 words, after 20 minutes the people with average memory could only recall 39.9 words whereas the other group could recall 70.8. Then, the group with average memory were split into three separate groups with one set training their memories using the loci method, one group receiving no training, and one group receiving a different kind of memory training. After six weeks, the group that used the loci method to train their memories improved their memories so much and even scored close to those who rank highly in World Memory Championships (Sanders “Brain training turns recall rookies into memory masters” 2017).

To read more about the experiement, click here  http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(17)30087-9.

“Brain Anatomy, Anatomy of the Human Brain.” Brain Anatomy, Anatomy of the Human Brain. Mayfield Brain and Spine, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

“Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci.” RememberEverything. N.p., 03 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Sanders, Laura. “Brain training turns recall rookies into memory masters.” Science News. Science News, 08 Mar. 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Edited by: Daryn Dever, Kaylynn Crawford, & Shreya Singireddy