Are you losing your memory? Do you have “brain fog”, “baby brain” or are you just getting older? Brain fog can be caused by a number of things including chronic illness, long COVID or the menopause. However there is another reason we’re starting to forget more things- it’s called digital amnesia. Read on to find out more about digital amnesia and what we can do to help improve our memory:
What is Digital Amnesia?
Nowadays, as we entrust our phones with all the things we used to remember on our own, we’re effectively diminishing our memory. Before mobile phones, we remembered everybody’s house phone numbers off by heart. Today, one in two people can’t remember their children’s phone number, one in three can’t even remember their partner’s phone number. Often we find we can still remember those home phone numbers from the past though as they’re still so deeply ingrained. In a survey 60% said that they still remembered the phone number of the house they lived in when they were ten years old. Just like 53% of the respondents questioned, I don’t know my children’s numbers off by heart as I’ve never needed to learn them. However, I do still know Dave’s from memory but I think that’s only because he’s had a mobile phone and the same number since we met over twenty years ago when I didn’t have a mobile phone of my own to rely on to remember it for me.
How Can we Train our Ability to Remember?
The good news is, we can turn our digital amnesia around by training our ability to remember. How can we do this? Learning languages can help the brain improve concentration and aid memory, as explained in the infographic below “SOS memory: does learning languages help the brain?” by Babbel, the world’s first language learning app.
Plato on Writing and Memory
Take a look at the infographic above. It’s interesting how Plato’s aversion for writing is apt today, and explains how writing and using digital memory is the culprit of taking away some of our memory today:
“And so it is that you by reason of your tender regard for the writing that is your offspring have declared the very opposite of its true effect. If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls. They will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.
What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only the semblance of wisdom, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much while for the most part they know nothing. And as men filled not with wisdom but with the conceit of wisdom they will be a burden to their fellows.“
from Plato’s Phaedrus
The Advantages of Learning a New Language
This infographic also includes fun facts about polyglots and the language of space. I am so impressed with Muhamed Mešić who speaks so many different languages. He was very wise to learn so many different languages as learning a new language has has many advantages and can even help us to improve our memories over time.
How to Help Improve Memory
Useful tips and practices to help improve our memories (and incidentally to help us learn a new language) are:
- Short lessons
- A new routine
- Spaced repetition
A Swedish study proved that learning a new language helps improve our memories. It showed that those who take language courses are better at remembering names of the people they just met. Don’t get a big head but learning a new language has been shown to make your brain grow too!
Learn a new Language
Learning a new language is such a useful skill whether you learn as a hobby or for work or travel. It’s good fun too and if it helps us turn around our digital amnesia it’s a “no brainer”!
Are you learning a new language? If so which language? What new language would you like to learn?