If you’re like me, you sometimes blank when someone asks what you did the past weekend (am I right?). Or maybe you find yourself forgetting the one thing you told yourself you needed from the grocery. Thankfully, science has a trick up its sleeve in order to sharpen up your memory skills, and it couldn’t be easier: Just say things out loud.
A recent study sought to find out the secret to remembering stuff that you read (which often seems to go straight into a black hole in your brain). According to a study in the scientific journal Memory, researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada asked 75 students say 160 words out loud and recorded them doing it.
Their memory was then tested two weeks later, but this was right after they studied half of those words again for an imminent test. They were instructed to use four different methods of studying: reading the words silently, hearing a recording of someone else say the words, listening to an earlier recording of themselves reciting the words, and reading the words out loud to themselves.
After taking the test, one approach reigned supreme: reciting words out loud, which resulted in 77 percent correct answers. Researchers credit this to the use of motor-processing skills used as you recite words, which makes for active processing, according to BPS Research Digest. This approach also uses visual processing since you read the words and it’s self-referential (since you say the words yourself). Surprisingly, reading to one’s self in silence was the lowest performer.
So basically, now you don’t have to feel self-conscious if your roommate finds you talking to yourself.