Memories are not a one-way street. Some stay for a while, others never last. Can you recall that coffee you drank last week? Probably, not. Okay, what about your first kiss? You might keep remembering it for many years.
The brain has the power to collect, store, and remember information. In the brain, our memory has a cache file filled with data, some of which are short-term whereas others are long-term. Scientists claim that there are seven forms of memory. Each of them has special usage in how we recall information. You can click on https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/types-of-memory to read about them.
Furthermore, memory stores knowledge as information, and the ability to retain it depends on our level of comprehension. Comprehension is someone’s ability to understand something well and recall it later for personal use. Without being able to comprehend properly, the knowledge we acquire can be tagged useless. Now, let us discuss what each means in broader terms, how they relate with one another, and how we can improve them for memory retrieval
Knowledge vs Comprehension – How Do They Relate?
Knowledge is being aware of a particular information. It can also mean getting acquainted with truths, principles, and things. Comprehension, on the other hand, is our ability to understand information and recall it for other purposes.
The memory that retains information the longest is known as long-term memory. It is usually beneficial if people, especially students, can access information quickly. To be able to do so, you need to grasp the meaning of the knowledge gained. In this regard, efforts are needed on our part.
To illustrate this, imagine you were given random quizzes by a professor every Tuesday. Now, every Tuesday you are sure to write this quiz. Discussions after each quiz are focused on what happened on that day. If this becomes a common occurrence, your memory may only focus on what happened on the set day of each quiz.
Imagine if after the semester ends, this professor decides to compile all quizzes together as a test. He gave no one prior notice. How well will you pass? And why would you pass? Let’s explain this illustration better.
The random quizzes are knowledge we gain. Our ability to understand is left to the efforts we put into improving that knowledge. After we comprehend the information (quizzes), we will be able to access them from our long-term memory during the test. In a simpler term, without comprehension, knowledge is useless.
How Can We Improve Our Comprehension Ability?
We have established the fact that without understanding information, it will be hard to recall it when needed. We will now discuss some proven ways we can improve our comprehension ability.
1. Repeated Reading
Our brains have nerve cells, also known as neurons, that act as a passage, vessel, and electrical wiring. These neurons send information like signals to their neighbors. This connection is known as Synapse.
If the synapse becomes stronger due to one neuron continually passing signals to the other, it results in lasting memory. The information becomes retrievable by the brain.
To improve comprehension and retention, therefore, repeat information as long as you necessary. Try to summarize this knowledge into simpler terms that you can understand. The more you rehearse this, the more it stays in your memory for a long time.
2. Present Knowledge in Different Ways
To improve comprehension ability, we need to use more than one learning concept. Reading from a book is a common way of gaining knowledge. Other ways can be in form of an illustration, video, and audio narration.
Research has shown that we learn things in different ways. Some can gain knowledge faster when it is an illustration, others find audio narration appealing. Some people get a better understanding when they view things. Each of these means of disseminating information can emphasize similar points, yet this appeals to different people in multiple ways.
If your information is meaningless, you won’t be able to retrieve it for a later purpose. The art of accessing knowledge from long-term memory involves adding meaning to the information we receive. Knowledge becomes long-term when it has a meaning.
4. Summarize Large Lessons
To retain knowledge, learn to arrange long, complex information into bits. A large-sized lesson can be overwhelming to process, but when divided into bits, you can gradually read, understand, and retain the information for long-term use. Summarizing or breaking into bits helps to remove unnecessary ideas, leaving a well-structured and organized knowledge that is easy to assimilate.
5. Get Enough Sleep
When we sleep, the brain processes our memories. It divides memories into the short and long term. Also, when we do not get enough sleep, our cognitive ability reduces. We will find it hard to retain or learn new things.
6. Reduce Stress and Distractions
When learning new things, avoid being under stress. It can affect the way the brain processes or stores information. In the case of distractions, we need to stay in a quiet place to retain knowledge faster. Noise, our phones, and multi-tasking are all distractions that can make learning difficult for us. When we distract our brains from processing memories, it affects how well we recall them.
7. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eat antioxidant-rich foods. It will help in keeping the brain functioning. These foods include apples, vegetables, bananas, carrots, chocolate, and garlic. Also, healthy fats such as omega-3 that are found in nuts and fish are brainpower healthy.
8. Exercise Regularly
Sleeping well and eating a proper diet are very essential in retaining memory. But daily exercises are helpful too. During exercise, there is an increase in how blood flows into the brain, which improves cognitive performance. Constant exercises like jogging will improve memory and reverse memory loss caused by aging. You can click here to learn more about improving memory.
By improving how you comprehend and retain knowledge, it becomes easier to retrieve information from our long-term memory. Keep in mind these eight helpful tips; they are proven to improve memory retrieval.