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Wait, What? Strengthen Your Memory

11:16 PM, Sep 20, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- A new CBS show, 'Unforgettable,' aired Tuesday night.

Poppy Montgomery stars as an NYPD detective with a flawless memory. She not only remembers her every moment and emotion, but is physically incapable of forgetting.

Turns out, that's a real gift known as superior autobiographical memory. It hit the spotlight when 60 Minutes ran a feature on the only seven people known to have the gift.  One of those is actress Marilu Henner, who is now a consultant on 'Unforgettable.'

While the rest of us don't have that kind of memory, we're helping get answers on how to improve your memory.

We put four people in Greensboro to an un-scientific test. We showed each person a sequence of five playing cards, took them away, and asked them to remember what cards they were and the order in which they were.

All of them remembered the first two cards, no problem. Then it got a little blurry. Two of the four eventually remembered all the cards, although only one remembered them in the order they were shown.

Elon University Assistant Psychology Professor, Amy Overman, Ph.D, gave some tips about strengthening your memory.

She said making something you have to remember personally meaningful to you helps. She said our brains like pictures, and mental images are also helpful. She also explained a technique called the 'memory palace.' Remember the objects you have to remember in different rooms of your house.

With us relying more and more on our smartphones to do the remembering for us, Overman said, "Mostly it's bad. Some people think because you can play games that are good for your brain that it's beneficial, but it's actually pretty harmful not to be using your brain, so the more practice in the real world you can get, the better off you'll be."

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