With day-to-day stresses on the up, it’s no surprise that people’s memories are starting to fail – we can’t remember all the things, can we? And while the right amount of sleep, food and exercise can help improve memory, a new study suggests that repeating things out loud can be beneficial too.
The study, published in Consciousness and Cognition unveiled that repeating aloud can boost verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person.
The research took 44 French-speaking university students and asked them to read a series of lexemes (a basic lexical unit of language) on a screen. The individuals wore headphones that emitted “white noise” to disguise their own voices and help to eliminate auditory feedback.
They were then asked to do four things: repeating in their head, repeating silently while moving their lips, repeating aloud while looking at the screen, and lastly, repeating aloud while talking to someone. After a short distraction task the participants were then asked to recall the lexemes they said, from a list that included other lexemes that weren’t used in the test.
And the results? There was a distinct difference between speaking aloud in the presence of someone else, compared to the other exercises. Repeating in one’s head without gesturing was found to be the least effective way to recall information – interesting!
“The simple fact of articulating without making a sound creates a sensorimotor link that increases our ability to remember, but if it is related to the functionality of speech, we remember even more,” author and professor, Victor Boucher said.
“The production of one or more sensory aspects allows for more efficient recall of the verbal element. But the added effect of talking to someone shows that in addition to the sensorimotor aspects related to verbal expression, the brain refers to the multisensory information associated with the communication episode,” Boucher stated. “The result is that the information is better retained in memory.”
“We knew that repeating aloud was good for memory, but this is the first study to show that if it is done in a context of communication, the effect is greater in terms of information recall,” Boucher explained.