What is the best exercise to expand working memory? I had been pondering the question for a few months and was frustrated with the answers. I read through many internet articles and ordered books from Amazon.
The common answer: you can expand working memory with computer games; however, it is best if you start at a young age. One book that I was most hopeful in providing the solution, the co-author and husband, developed a computer game for this purpose. (If you are interested, it is called Jungle Memory.)
Computer games are fine; however, like many, I spend a lot of time working on the computer and do not care to spend more time playing computer games.
I emailed Dr. Anthony Metevier of the Magnetic Memory Method and asked him if he knew of a natural way to expand working memory. Though his answer shouldn’t have surprised me, it did: memory palaces.
Andi Bell’s video below provides an excellent overview of the workings of a memory palace.
At the time I emailed Dr. Metevier, I had been memorizing the table of contents of a book. This particular book had 52 chapters and I had memorized the first 26 using the link method.
I decided to test the memory palace method using a vacation condominium I was staying at at the time. I was astounded at how quickly I memorized the last 26 chapters of the book.
How does a memory palace allow you to expand your working memory? Through images. After all, “a picture is worth 1000 words.” By stacking images, it is indeed possible for working memory to hold more information. Images allow you to compress a large amount of data into a small space. When linking information to a known location, you build a bridge for that information so that it can be retrieved from long-term memory at a later date.
If you have an interest in building your working memory with memory palaces, I would encourage you to consider the magnetic memory method. In my opinion, Dr. Metevier has developed the best set of tools and rules for building memory palaces.