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Memory 101: Learn the Different Types Of Memory and How to Keep It Strong

Remember information for the short-term, long-term and the rest of your life

Find Your Memory Bump

This stroll down memory lane should take about 10 minutes. All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil or pen.

Step 1: Write the words listed below on a blank sheet of paper, leaving a few lines between each one:

HAND PLANT WALK
WATER STORY MUSIC
LIGHT PICTURE FISH
HOUSE BIG POWER
ANIMAL LETTER FLY

Step 2: For each word, jot down the first specific memory that springs to mind. The memory can come from any period of your life, from early childhood to the recent past. Jot down a few details about each memory.

Step 3: Once you've got a memory for each of the 15 words, go back and try to recall how old you were at the time of the memory. Be as specific as you can!

Step 4: Tally up the number of memories that came from each of the decades in your life.

Decade of Life # of Memories
Ages 0-10  
Ages 11-20  
Ages 21-30  
Ages 31-40  
Ages 41-50  
Ages 51-60  
Ages 61-70  
Ages 71-80  
Ages 81-90  
Ages 91-100  
Ages 100+  

Step 5: Your memory bump is the decade or decades with the most memories.

Explanation

If you are at least 40 years old, it's likely that the largest number of memories you generated came from your teens (ages 11-20) and 20s (ages 21-30). Unlike many other aspects of memory performance, which generally decline with age, this bump of memories tends to remain stable into the ninth and tenth decades of life. Scientists don't agree about why people can remember these years so well. What do you think explains it?

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