Easy ways to improve your memory

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - According to a recent report, the average person misplaces up to nine items a day, and spends about 15 minutes each day looking for them.  It seems to happen just when it's not supposed to, like when you're late for work.

Experts say stress, fatigue, and multitasking can cause us to make these errors and say it's a breakdown at the interface of attention and memory.  We've all forgotten stuff like our keys, cell phones, or other important things. However, there are ways to train your brain to find things faster.

Experts say it all has to do with encoding your brain. First, pay attention when you put something down. If your state of mind at retrieval is different than it was during encoding, that could pose a problem.

For instance, if you were hungry when you walked into the house and put your keys down, when you look for them later, you're no longer hungry so the memory may be harder to access.

Also, try physically and mentally retracing your steps. Think back to your state of mind when you walked into the house. Experts say the more you can make your brain at retrieval like the way it was when you lay down that original memory trace, the more successful you'll be at it.

The best way to remember where you put something, according to experts, is to find a regular spot for it and somewhere that makes sense. If it's reading glasses, leave them by the bedside.

In a recent study, researchers in Germany found that the majority of people surveyed about forgetfulness and distraction had a variation in the dopamine D2 receptor gene, leading to a higher incidence of forgetfulness. According to the study, 75 percent of people carry a variation that makes them more prone to forgetfulness.

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