If you’ve ever forgotten something immediately after learning it, you’ve probably experienced “fluency” With this simple trick, you can counteract your brief memory loss and avoid any negative consequences.
Photo by Keenan Pepper.
Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel, psychologists at Washington University and co-authors of Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, explain that something called “fluency” can mess with your mind when you’re trying to remember the things you’re seeing. Essentially, it’s that feeling you get when you’re reading something and you quickly glance over it because you automatically assume it will be easy to remember. Drake Baer at Business Insider gives an example:
Say, for instance, you’re at the airport and you’re trying to remember which gate your flight to Chicago is waiting for you at. You look at the terminal monitors — it’s B44. You think to yourself, Oh, B44, that’s easy. Then you walk away, idly check your phone, and instantly forget where you’re going.
To avoid the fluency trap in that situation, you should read the gate number, turn away from the monitor, and ask yourself “what’s the gate number?” Now you’ll either recall the number or realise you looked at it and never actually committed it to memory. The same thing can happen with learning people’s names. They can go in one ear and out the other if you’re not careful. You can’t always prevent fluency from happening, but you can avoid it’s negative effects if you’re aware of it.
4 strategies for remembering everything you learn [Business Insider]