What can you do if you need to remember, or better yet memorize, something important?
According to new research published earlier this month in the scientific journal Neuron, stop studying in your office. Or in your home. Or anywhere you’re familiar. Study in a place that’s new to you.
While that might seem odd, since studying in an unfamiliar setting sounds distracting rather than conducive to learning, the opposite turns out to be true.
A fresh environment activates the dopamine system in your brain, and dopamine promotes associative learning, triggering feelings of reward that increase your brain’s ability to absorb and retain information. (Associative learning is connecting a stimulus or action with a positive or negative outcome; think connecting the dots.)
In short, the natural buzz you get from being somewhere new–or as the researchers call it, experiencing “inconsequential novel stimulus”–helps you learn more quickly.
I – Word Understanding
Conducive – making it easy
Dopamine system – a type of neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure
Buzz – feeling high
Inconsequential – minor
Novel – new
II – Have Your Say
1. What are your secrets to fast learning? When do you need to learn fast?
2. If you are to go somewhere “new” to learn fast, where would it be and why?
3. Some studies suggest that a cafe’s environment is the perfect background for learning or working. Have you tried it yet?
4. What do you think about studying / working at a library? Is there a public library near your place?