1st Edition

How Memory Works--and How to Make It Work for You

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ISBN 9781462520374
Published August 4, 2015 by Guilford Press
278 Pages

USD $14.95

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Book Description

Do you wish you could remember the names of people you just met? What if birthdays, anniversaries, and online passwords rarely slipped your mind? Robert Madigan is an expert in the "memory arts"--practical, proven methods for improving the ability to retain and use information. Like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, it's important to exercise memory in simple ways every day. Dr. Madigan explains the science of how memory works and presents innovative mnemonic devices and visualization techniques that will help everyone--from students to seniors--sharpen their mental skills; avoid embarrassing lapses; and remember faces, appointments, facts, numbers, lists, and much more.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Art and Science of Memory
I. The Basics
1. Four Ways of Remembering
2. Working Memory: It's Short-Term Memory and More
3. Attention: "The Secret of Good Memory"
4. How Dragons Make Strong Memories
5. How We Recall Memories
II. Memory Applications
6. Paths to Better Memory
7. Remembering Names
8. Remembering to Remember
9. Remembering Facts
10. Remembering Numbers
11. Remembering Skills
12. Remembering Life
13. The PARIS Mnemonics
14. The Memory Palace
15. Mindsets and Memory

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Robert Madigan, PhD, until his death in 2017, was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he was an award-winning instructor. He taught memory classes in college and community settings for more than thirty years.


"Anyone interested in how memory works--and what can be done to enhance our capabilities and offset our limitations--should run out and buy this book. Dr. Madigan has achieved a difficult combination: writing a book that is accessible and lively, but that also is based on research. He provides an engaging account of the 2,000-plus-year history of memory enhancement techniques and a step-by-step, how-to-do-it guide for readers who want to learn those techniques."--Robert A. Bjork, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, UCLA

"A very readable, accessible 'owner’s manual.' Should we care about memory in this age of smart phones and mobile computing? Yes! Dr. Madigan engages with contemporary technology throughout the book and shows why it is still important to stay mentally fit. Many lapses we might blame on a 'poor memory' actually result from not using memory in ways that work. Exercises help readers apply the principles explained in each chapter--and experience the benefits."--Catherine Fritz, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Northampton, United Kingdom

"I had the privilege of learning the memory arts firsthand from Dr. Madigan. The techniques he taught our class helped me excel in school and beyond. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for the challenge and satisfaction of maximizing his or her mental capacity, or aspires to be independent of external memory aids. Prepare to be amazed by what your brain can do!"--Benjamin Kelley, DO, resident ENT surgeon, Detroit Medical Center

"This book is unique in combining up-to-date scholarship, the insights of generations of memory experts, and powerful techniques to help you improve your own memory. The structure and writing style make the book easy and enjoyable to read. Even in an age when we can rapidly access facts from the Internet, there are many ways that developing better memory skills through practice can help us function more successfully."--Peter Morris, PhD, Department of Psychology (Emeritus), Lancaster University, United Kingdom