Mirco Vacca/ShutterstockCrossword puzzles and exercise are just a few of the habits that improve memory best. But to really give your brain a boost, you might want to take a simple tip to heart—and it’s nothing you learned in school.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada have uncovered what may be the easiest way to improve your memory ever. Their research, recently published in the journal Memory, suggests that reading out loud yourself can increase your recall skills by up to 15 percent.
In the study, scientists asked 95 participants to test four methods for learning written information: reading silently, hearing someone else read, reading aloud, and listening to a recording of oneself reading. Their results? Participants who read the information out loud showed the best retention rates—a five to 15 percent boost in learning speed, in fact. You may want to add these brain-boosting foods that can improve memory to your diet, too.
“Say the information that you want to remember out loud and you’ll have a higher likelihood of remembering it. Yes, it’s that simple!” psychologist and study co-author Colin MacLeod told Inc. via email.
The combined effect of speaking and hearing oneself talk is the key to giving your memory a boost, scientists say. Called “the production effect,” reading out loud allows our brains to save that information in our long-term memories.
Granted, learning five percent more information might not sound like a huge improvement at first, and the study was small. But compared to a pricey gym membership or stacks of crossword puzzles, it’s incredibly simple (and cheap!) to just open your mouth and talk. Don’t you think?
So the next time you’re prepping for a big exam or cramming for an important office presentation, spend some time yakking it up. Trust us, it might make you a genius. And by the way, you might want to study up on these habits of people with impressive memory while you’re at it.