Early research projects focused on gaining a better understanding of the relationships between memory impairment and how well individuals judge their own memory ability after brain injury. This is important because of the potential for dual disabilities after brain injury: poor memory and learning, and not knowing that memory is impaired, called ‘metamemory’. If you think your memory is fine, then you are not likely to try to improve it or compensate for it using strategies. So let’s go into Physiological Psychology and Memory, Metamemory, and Language after Brain Injury a little deeper on this page.
Early studies showed that there were learning situations in which adults with brain injury were as good as those without brain injury at judging their memory, but that when uncertain about their memory adults with brain injury were overconfident.
Those whose brain injury included frontal lobe injury, however, were not as good at judging their memory as those with brain injury but without frontal lobe injury. Follow-up studies showed that even though their memory for stories was worse than adults without brain injury, those with brain injury were just as good at judging their memory for stories.
Unfortunately, we also found that being good at judging your memory for one kind of material (e.g., stories) does not mean you are also good at judging your memory of words regardless of brain injury. Importantly, we found that the link between assessing your memory and making strategic decisions remains intact for many after brain injury. Furthermore, we found that the biggest benefit to boosting memory came when adults with brain injury selected items themselves that they wanted to restudy. We also found that the cognitive-behavioral model of relaxation might have a positive effect on enhancing memory.
9 Ways to Boost Mental Agility
Everybody can develop a more agile — and creative — mind, says University of Minnesota cognitive neuroscientist Wilma Koutstaal. All that’s required are some simple changes in the way we approach the content and processing of our thoughts. Here are her nine key tips:
- Regularly expose yourself to new things, including new environments. Novelty is an important stimulus for the brain — and for creative, agile thinking.
- Vary the level of control in your thinking. When your thinking feels “stuck,” try harder to exert control — or try less hard.
- Vary the level of specificity in your thinking. Avoid what William James called “vicious abstractionism” (taking statements out of their context), but don’t get too bogged down in specifics, either.
- Reward yourself — and others — for using varying levels of control and specificity when problem-solving and innovating.
- Capture ideas as they happen. Because our mental accessibility to our environment is always changing, reconstructing ideas that occurred even a few moments earlier can be difficult.
- Develop ideas in parallel rather than one at a time. Doing so will help keep you from overinvesting in a single idea or version of an idea.
- Pay attention to your inner voices — your sensory perceptions, mood, memory, and knowledge.
- Use and respond to your environment as part of your mind. The environment is not entirely separate from your mind, and it is often easier to control.
- Capitalize on the interplay of intrinsic motivation (doing something for the love and joy of it) and extrinsic motivation (doing it for financial or other rewards). Realize that each can contribute to creativity.
As we know, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an empirically-based psychotherapy that’s also used for treating childhood mental health problems. to learn more about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and CBT, check out this post.