Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute
English, I’m Neil. This is
the programme where in just
six minutes we discuss an interesting
topic and teach some
related English vocabulary.
And joining me to do this is Rob.
Rob: Hello… err sorry Neil, how long did
you say this programme is?
Neil: Six minutes … it’s 6 Minute English, Rob.
Rob: Right. OK. Sorry, what’s
your name again?
Neil: Neil! My name is Neil, Rob. What’s
happened to your memory?!
Rob: Sorry, Neil – too many things on my
mind, it’s affecting my short-term
memory, but what
I can remember is that in this programme
we’re talking about improving
Neil: We are and I think you might find it
quite useful! Storing information
is an important
function of our brains and scientists
are always looking at ways to
improve it but also to stop it
deteriorating – or becoming worse.
Rob: Yes, and we all know that memories –
that’s the noun for things
we remember from the
past – are nice to have but also important
for remembering who people are,
where things are kept
and how things look.
Neil: Soon we’ll be discussing a new idea
for improving your memory but not before
I’ve set today’s quiz question.
There are many ways we can improve
our memory but one way
is through the type of food we eat.
According to the BBC Food website,
which type of food
supports good memory function? Is it…
a) eggs, b) spinach, or c) bananas?
Rob: Well, as a kid I was always told that
spinach was good for me – Popeye ate it
to make him strong – so I’ll say b) spinach.
Neil: Well, I’ll have the answer later on.
Now, let’s talk more about
improving our memory.
Memory is the ability to encode, store and
recall information but a number of factors
can affect people’s memory processes
including health, anxiety, mood,
stress and tiredness.
Rob: That’s why, for example, if you’re
taking an exam it’s important
to get a good night’s sleep
and to keep healthy. But Neil, when
you’re revising for an exam, what helps
you to remember facts?
Neil: I tend to write things down again and
again and again and again.
Rob: Well, that’s one way. But people have
different styles to help them remember.
According to the BBC’s iWonder guide,
there are three different styles – visual,
auditory and kinaesthetic,
that’s learning by ‘doing’ and practicing
something over and over again.
That sounds like me.
Neil: But recently, a new study has
come up with a method that could
possibly be the best way to improve your
memory and that’s by drawing.
Daryl O’Connor, who’s Professor
of Psychology at the University of Leeds,
has been speaking about it on
the BBC Radio 4 programme, All
In The Mind. See if you
can work out why…
Daryl O’Connor: The authors certainly
argue that one of the things that
happens by drawing
these particular objects, that it leads to
this increased contextual representation
of the object in one’s mind…
It makes a lot of intuitive sense…
the idea that if you have encoded
something in a greater level of detail,
you’re more likely to remember it…
It’s much stronger than just remembering
writing down the words.
Neil: OK, so let’s try to explain that.
Drawing something leads to increased
contextual representation of the object.
When something is contextual,
it is in the situation where
it usually exists.
Rob: So as you draw something you are
creating a picture in your mind
about what it is, how you use it and
where it is used. I wonder if
this means artists have good memories…
Neil: Maybe. Daryl O’Connor says that
when you draw you are encoding
something in a greater
level of detail, more than you would by
just writing things down.
Encoding is changing
information into a form that can
be stored and later recalled.
Rob: That’s because as you draw,
you’re thinking about different aspects of
the object. He says it makes
intuitive sense – intuitive means it is
‘based on feelings rather than
facts or proof’ – so, you just feel
it is the best thing to do.
Neil: Of course this is just one more way
to improve your memory. I’ve also
heard that doing
crossword puzzles and Sudoku
can help, especially when you’re older.
Rob: Yes, as we get older we can often
have more difficulty retrieving information
from our memory – and people with
Alzheimer’s find it very difficult
to encode information – so any way
to keep our memory working is a good
thing. Basically we need brain training!
Neil: Brain training and eating the right
food, Rob! You might remember that
earlier I asked you, according to
the BBC Food website, which type of food
supports good memory function?
Is it… a) eggs, b) spinach, or c) bananas?
And Rob, you said…
Rob: I do remember and I said b) spinach.
Neil: And that is sort of the wrong answer.
In fact they were all correct – they are all
examples of food that can help support
good memory. Apparently, foods rich in
B vitamins are important as they
provide protection for the brain as we age
and support good memory function.
I think it’s time to change my diet!
Now on to the vocabulary
we looked at in this programme.
Rob: So today we’ve been talking about
our memory – we use our memory
to remember things
and ‘memories’ is the noun for things
we remember from the past.
Neil: Then we discussed a learning style
known as ‘kinaesthetic’, that is learning
by ‘doing’ and
practising something over and over again.
Rob: We heard from Professor
Daryl O’Connor, who talked about
contextual representation – when
something is ‘contextual’,
you see it in the situation
where it usually exists.
Neil: Next we talked about ‘encoding’.
That is changing information
into a form that can
be stored and later recalled.
Rob: And we mentioned ‘intuitive sense’ –
having an intuitive sense means
doing something ‘based
on feelings rather than facts or proof’ – so,
you just feel it is the best thing to do.
Neil: And finally we mentioned
Alzheimer’s – a disease affecting
the brain that makes it
difficult to remember things and
it gets worse as you get older.
Rob: Well, there are lots of new words
to remember there – but that’s all
for this programme.
Neil: Don’t forget to visit us on Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
and our website:
bbclearningenglish.com. Bye for now.