Improve memory, do your chores
October 21st, 2010
04:12 PM ET

Improve memory, do your chores

This week, as we've watched news and trends on brain matters, we've seen some fascinating studies and perspectives about how to bolster memory, make mundane tasks more fun, and improve decision-making. Here's a sampling:

Fonts of remembrance
You may think you like reading in easy-to-read fonts, such as Arial, but it turns out that people remember information better if they have to think about it harder. A study in the journal Cognition by Daniel Oppenheimer at Princeton University shows that, in high school classrooms, students retained material better if they read it in a font that is slightly harder to read, like Monotype Corsiva. This was true for both humanities and science classes. Here's the full scoop from the Economist.

Improve your memory fast
Speaking of memory, here's how to improve your memory in 15 minutes. Time writer John Cloud subjects himself to the same kinds of psychological research he writes about, including a mild form of electroshock therapy.

The key to self-control: Fun
You might be better at doing chores if you change how you think about them. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that when people perceive a task to be fun, they are more likely to exercise self-control about them. TIME's Healthland reports.

And that may play out in the real world among kids who consider learning to be fun. Tomorrow, CNN.com will feature the story of five high-achieving young people and how their parents have helped them view education in a positive light.

Behind the numbers
Harvard researcher Daniel Gilbert, who's spoken to CNN in the past about happiness, had a fascinating opinion piece in the New York Times suggesting that our reliance on certain numbers to make decisions is irrational. Did you know that "$7.22" sounds bigger than "$7.66" because of the vowel sounds in the respective numbers?

soundoff (672 Responses)
  1. Wadaduga

    Tell me the woman in the picture wants to see me on Thursday at 7:00. I'll remember that!

    October 21, 2010 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Opinion

      I've seen so many comments like this. It's so obvious how CNN is using models for random articles. Who are these people? Why do you get these random models for random articles? It's so odd. But I'm sure it attracts way more readers.

      October 21, 2010 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
    • wada2

      I confess I felt the same way. She's yummy in a wholesome forget me not way. Dang.

      October 22, 2010 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
    • Improve Concentration

      HAha -geez

      Improve Concentration

      October 30, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  2. Swimtiger

    {Did you know that "$7.22" sounds bigger than "$7.66" because of the vowel sounds in the respective numbers?}...So that's why they charge us $7.66 because $7.22 sounds bigger and we might not buy it at that price.....Maybe I'll shop with my eyes more than with my ears.

    October 21, 2010 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teri

      Honestly, I would think it's more because we perceive $7.66 to be "just under" and $7.22 to be "more than." Never mind that it's just under 8 and more than 7. "Just under" is more appealing than "more than." Vowel sounds? Really? Please.

      October 21, 2010 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • A. Nony

      $7.22 sounds larger than $7.66 ? What idiocy! One reads the price tag....As for "just under" vs "just over", I suppose this is why so many things are priced at $N.99 instead of $(N+1).00 But really, are people so stupid? I suppose they are.

      October 21, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      It's funny because $15 sounds like $50 but $50 is much larger than $15. Still.....no one cares!

      October 22, 2010 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
  3. virgincapt

    cheap, insignificant article. just filing the pages. Nothing substantive presented.

    October 21, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Richard

      I like how she references an article about how to improve your memory in 15 minutes... but neglects to mention the machine is not commercially viable because it costs $10k.

      October 22, 2010 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
  4. bill

    She is learning how to grow weed legally in Cali!! Sorry Wadauga she is with me tonight.That is why she did not call.

    October 21, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Improve Concentration

      Geez you guys

      Improve Concentration

      October 30, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
  5. bustedagain

    I forgot what to do to improve memory....LOL

    October 22, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Julie

    Think of chores as fun? Gee. I never thought of THAT. Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down eh?
    What this country REALLY needs is a remake of Mary Poppins with Johnny Depp in the title role.

    October 22, 2010 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larquin

      That would be a movie remake that I would definitely go see! LOL

      October 22, 2010 at 09:16 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Except it would be called Mary's Poppin Somethin

      October 22, 2010 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
  7. Lurker

    >>>"Speking of memory," Really? Was this written by a child? I'm 16 and can write better than this. Son, I am disappoint.

    October 22, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Korreon

      Disappointed. Nerd. Why read this at your age? Ahahahahahaha

      October 22, 2010 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Why not, if you could look at a page and memorize everything it would make school a breeze

      October 22, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
  8. Lurker


    October 22, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. kurler

    yeah...and you've just mispelled your first word and had the last in wrong tense. Nice writing "better" stories "than this" while biting that dirty [thumb]nail of your feet.

    October 22, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Monicasmom

    I actually enjoyed this posting! i love these little psychological tidbits! hope to see more!

    October 22, 2010 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. sean

    Brainwash yourself to make tasks seem more fun huh? What do I have to lose? I'll try it...

    October 22, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Constantine

    I think this is a good way to help someone improve concentration

    October 23, 2010 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. commojoe

    One of the most interesting articles I've seen in a little while; thanks for the info on possible help with memory. I've known of TMS for awhile now, but this tDCS sounds very interesting and promising for increases in memory and maybe brain power.
    I live near St. Louis and some major universities like Washington University or even other major medical centers that have significant research facilities, and this article has given me good ideas to check out to ward off the possibility of CJD. Thanks again.

    October 25, 2010 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. freddyjr

    Improving our memory can really improve our grades and performance in life. Great post!

    July 17, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Congratulations! She is beautiful. I love the birth story tanhks for sharing it. It is so sweet and Travis did an awesome job with the photos. You've motivated me to get mine edited and organized. These first few weeks are so sweet and are such a blur. I hope you are getting some sleep. We will have to talk soon!

    August 2, 2012 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Thanks for sharing your info with the world. How many blog posts does your team usually create in any given week? You have to make sure your content is easy to read and understand. I just don't have any idea where to go from here. The more you understand about customers, the better off you will be.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.