How to Think Faster and Multitask Better
If you want to upgrade your brain like Eddie Mora from Limitless, then unfortunately you won’t find it to be as easy as taking a single pill. Instead, you’re going to have to look at more arduous and lengthy strategies, including such things as brain training or improving your overall health.
If you choose to go the brain-training route though, there is one especially effective and ‘easy’ method that you may find helps you to see the kinds of results you’re looking for. That method is to focus your training on working memory. But what does that actually mean?
What is Working Memory?
The traditional view of memory split out capacity for storing information into three separate categories. Those were: working memory, short-term memory and long-term memory.
Short-term memory was described as containing all the information that you remember for a while, but that would ultimately be ‘sent to trash’. This includes such things as people’s names, or what you had for breakfast. Long-term memory meanwhile includes all that information that you will remember indefinitely: the names of your friends, the night you proposed, how to tell the time etc.
Working memory, based on this description, was effectively your brain’s equivalent of RAM. This is where information would be stored that would only be required for a very short amount of time. The most popular example is a phone number that you are going to write down.
In turn, the working memory – based on the traditional view – could be broken down into a ‘visuo-spatial scratchpad’ where we would visualize things and a ‘phonological loop’ where we would repeat things to ourselves in a bid to not forget them.
Today though, psychologists are recognizing that working memory has much more in-common with visualization in general. This is our ability to internalize information, whether that’s memory, imagination or something else.
In short, this is our ability to create a representation of the world whether for predictive purposes or something else. In conversation, this means keeping track of what’s been said and what’s next. In sports, it means knowing where everyone is on the pitch. When working, it’s what allows us to multitask and switch between different things. This is nothing short of crucial for your ability to work quickly and effectively.
How to Train It
The good news is that there is a proven method for increasing working memory and that is to train using something called the N Back test. Use this and you can gradually improve your ability to hold information in your mind with incredible results.
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