28 November 2015

The BIG Reveal - After

Remind Me Again How Not to Forget

Many years ago I met a woman whose last name was Barb Gowdy. I needed to remember her name because I would be seeing her often at meetings. In order to remember, I knew I had to find a mnemonic (memory trigger) to associate with her and thus recall her name at the next event. Ms. Gowdy was dressed in not so stylish clothes; in fact, I saw her as frumpy. Then, dowdy snapped into my mind and it rhymed with Gowdy. Perfect mnemonic. The next time I met her, I knew her name and greeted her with ease, "Hello, Ms. Dowdy, so nice to see you again."

Most of the time a mnemonic works better than this failed word association I had employed. Looking back, I wonder that I didn't somehow associate her with Gaudi, the artist who designed Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I'd like to think I'm creative enough to have thought of some connection between this Gowdy and the unfinished cathedral. Or I could have worked out something with Barb. The ideas I have now are endless.

The mnemonic name recollection exercise has been around longer than I can remember. I guess not everyone knows about it, though everyone tends to forget names. The BBC has an explanation of how our memories work and how to make the brain's association patterns work in our favor to remember the names of those we meet.

They've included one important tip "It doesn't matter if the links you make are outlandish or weird. You don't have to tell anyone. In fact, probably it is best if you don't tell anyone, especially your new friend! But the links will help create a web of association in your memory, and that web will stop their name falling out of your mind when it is time to introduce them to someone else." Always remember NOT to say out loud the link--the trigger word--instead of the name you need to remember.