How good is your memory? Have you got a memory like a sieve or maybe you are able to bear in mind (=remember) even the things you don’t need? Are you trying to boost (= increase) the potential of your brain? First of all, you need to realize that there are many types of memory, which are connected to various functions of the brain. You may have developed some memory types better than others. You could be good at remembering numbers and dates, but have problems associating people’s faces with their names. You may find it hard to learn things by heart (= memorize), but it is no problem for you to recognize (= identify) a piece of music after a few sounds.
In terms of duration, three main types of memory have been identified. To begin with, there is short-term memory, which lasts a few seconds and you need it to remember the beginning of a sentence until you get to the end of the sentence, for example. Then you’ve got medium-term memory, the example of which would be trying to remember that you have to buy milk, but as soon as you buy it, it’s no longer important for you to store (= keep) that memory. In other words, it lasts just as long as you need it. And finally, there must be some memory that lets you keep in mind (=remember) significant events from your life or things that are around you all the time, which you don’t want to forget. Long-term or permanent memory performs this function. There are people who have exceptionally good memory as well as forgetful ones, whom you need to remind to do things or they will forget. It has been proved, however, that we can do some tricks to improve our memory. So, why don’t you find out some and give your memory a chance?
More contexts for the new words:
- Finding the job gave him a great boost. (= helped him to feel more positive or confident)
- This place has many nice associations for me. (= memory or feeling that is connected with a particular place, event etc.)
- He reminds me of my uncle. (= is very similar to him)
Add the missing vowels (a, e, I, o, u) to complete the sentences.
- You can ……………………. STR this file on your hard drive.
- The study found that many people ……………………. SSCT science with men.
- The demonstration was an attempt to ……………………. BST the minister’s popularity.
- I can still ……………………. RMMBR every word of our conversation.
- I didn’t ……………………. RCGNZ him with a beard.
- As her Alzheimer’s disease progressed, she became increasingly …………………….. FRGTFL.
Use the pictures to complete the questions. Then answer them.
- What advice would you give to people who have a memory like a ?
- When did you last learn something by ?
- What do you have to in mind today?
ENGLISH IN USE
The text above is full of modal verbs you need when you express different degrees of probability. Take these sentences:
You may have developed some memory types better than others.
You could be good at remembering numbers and dates, but have problems associating people’s faces with their names.
There must be some memory that lets you keep in mind significant events from your life or things that are around you all the time, which you don’t want to forget.
There are, of course, other modals that you could use for this function, so let’s take a look at them, starting from the most certain and going on to the least certain:
He MUST be a doctor. (= I’m sure he is one.)
He CAN/COULD/MAY/MIGHT be a doctor. (= it’s quite probable)
He CAN’T be a doctor. (= it’s just not possible)
Note that in this context, the opposite of 'must' is 'can’t'. There is no significant difference between 'could', 'can' , 'may' and 'might' in this context.
A/ Can you really remember the names of all your primary school teachers?
B/ Of course I can. I have A MEMORY LIKE AN ELEPHANT.
If you have a memory like an elephant, you have a very good memory. This is the opposite of the expression from the reading text – a memory like a sieve.
PHRASAL VERBS CLOSE-UP
- When you JOT something DOWN, you write it down so that you can remember it later.
Jotting down vital information will really help your memory.
He jotted down my name on a piece of paper.
- When you FIGURE something OUT, you are able to understand something or to solve a problem.
I couldn’t figure out what the lecturer was talking about.
I can’t figure out where I’ve put the keys. Do you remember?
Match the sentence halves.
- We had to figure out a) so that you don’t forget.
- Jack has a memory b) like an elephant.
- Jot down the dates c) the connection between the two facts.
Mnemotechnics are the memory techniques which can facilitate the process of committing items to memory, and – more importantly – retrieving them from storage. One of the simplest techniques can help you prepare a long speech without jotting down any information. It involves visualizing the elements of your presentation against a familiar background, e.g. located at your home. For instance, if you are to deliver a presentation on making a cake, you could imagine a bag of flour perched upon the door, a blender on the table, and a fire burning in the window. Afterwards, you take a virtual walk of your house, noticing all the items and thus remembering what your speech is about. So in our example, as you imagine entering your house, you notice the flour – and this lets you tell your audience about the necessary ingredients. Then you chance upon the blender, which means that you should mix all the ingredients. Finally, the fire in the window symbolizes the baking of the cake. It’s really easy – a piece of cake!
– to facilitate – to make easier
– committing – sending
– retrieving – getting back
– perched upon – located on
– chance upon – meet by accident
KEY TO EXERCISES