Under the Hood

Note-Taking: Good Or Bad For Memory?

How Human Memory Works: Why The Brain Remembers And Forgets, Plus 3 Ways To Improve Memory
Memory formation explains why the brain chooses to remember some things and forget others. Youtube

Note-taking or the practice of writing down notes or pieces of information in a systematic way has been helpful to many people since time immemorial. It’s an act that is quite common for almost everyone, but this could change given the latest finding that note-taking could actually be bad for our brain’s memory.

A research paper published not too long ago claimed that instead of being beneficial, note-taking could actually lead to intentional forgetting. For the study, the researchers conducted experiments to test if people who take notes give better outcomes when tasked to remember information.

Based on their findings, researchers Michelle Eskritt and Sierra Ma of Mount St. Vincent University in Canada concluded that the participants of their experiments who did take notes adopted this “intentional-forgetting strategy” when asked to store certain types of information.

Basically, the researchers claimed that because the human brain is wired to recognize when a piece of information is being documented, it scraps this information intentionally once it is no longer needed.

The brain is also said to assume that there is no need to recall that information once it has been written down. According to Entrepreneur’s interpretation of the study, the brain becomes more forgetful because it thinks that the information can just be viewed through the notes whenever needed.

So now that note-taking’s efficiency in storing information in the brain has been tainted, what’s the best way to enhance the brain’s memory? The answer is actively engaging with pertinent information.

In the school setting, students learn and easily recall concepts and various ideas when they actively participate during discussions, experiments and presentations. They also gain better understanding of things by discussing ideas with their peers.

At the workplace, this translates to active participation in meetings and tentatively listening to colleagues. Being critical about what’s being openly discussed also helps the brain recall better. It quickly learns that what you are hearing or analyzing frequently is of paramount importance, so the brain gives it more attention than the rest.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, it’s high time for you to cut down your reliance on note-taking. Boost your brain’s memory by actively learning more about the ideas you wish to remember for a very long time.

How Human Memory Works: Why The Brain Remembers And Forgets, Plus 3 Ways To Improve Memory Memory formation explains why the brain chooses to remember some things and forget others. Youtube

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