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Improving short-term memory?

  1. Mar 4, 2004 #1
    Have you ever gotten up off the couch when a commercial comes on and headed into another room to do something only to foget halfway into the next room what you got up to do?
    Then, somehow during the process of trying to remember what you got up to do, you completely forgot even what room you were heading to.
    So then you find yourself wandering from room to room looking at random objects hoping to trigger something to remind you why the hell you got up.
    Eventually you have to give up because the commercial is almost over and you really don't want to miss any of whatever movie you were watching (at this point you forgot what movie you were watching, but you do remember that you were really into it and don't want to miss any of it).
    So you sit back down on the couch feeling confused and frustrated.
    The movie starts again and you remember why you didn't want to miss any of it (especially this pivotal part).
    As soon as this happens, you remember why you got up before.
    So now you are faced with the decision of having to miss three minutes of the movie to do this thing, or face the very likely risk that by time the next 13 minutes pass before the next set of commercials come on you will forget it again.

    Has this ever happened to you?
    This place is where I live most of my life, and despite many years of effort, it never gets any better.
    I have a few things that I do for specific scenarios like this (such as keeping a pen and index cards near the couch so I can write what it is I want to do in 13 minutes) but the problem itself never goes away.
    Any advice?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2004 #2
    Um, I'd have to say seek professional help. I do some pretty dumb stuff myself (just look at some of my recent posts to find a nice little example), but it's usually because I'm stupid, not because I forget things quickly. It sounds like an honest-to-god genuine problem that needs to be fixed.

  4. Mar 4, 2004 #3
    Already there.
    I am on Ritalin for ADD.
    It helps my focus a good deal, but the memory problems are still there (short and long-term, but short-term memory is more important to me, so I want to start there).
  5. Mar 4, 2004 #4
    I would reccomend a vitamin B complex suppliment and also fish oil. B deficiencies cause memory problems.

    If you "live" there, in that constant short term memory problem place, your doctor might be amenable to having you checked out at a sleep clinic to make sure you are actually sleeping properly at night. Sleep that is interfered with by any one of a number of conditions can lead to attention and memory problems.
  6. Mar 4, 2004 #5

    jimmy p

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    WOAH man, that's freaky, it happens to me too!! I will run upstairs to find something and forget what im doing upstairs. Then i run back downstairs in a state of confusion until i remember. Which doesnt usually happen till I have left my house. Also i tend to pick objects up as well to see if it sparks anything. The most annoying time was when i went back up and down the stairs like, 3 times until i remembered.

    I'm not on medication though. Maybe i should do. One_raven, do you have like 1-2 second blackouts?? i tended to occasionally but now they are more frequent. I thought it was blinking but it wasnt cos i dont close my eyes for that long when i blink, things just go black and then a coupla seconds later i "wake up" again, still standing in the same place. I'd say i have a bout 10-12 of them a day, ranging in times. Could these occurences be linked?
  7. Mar 4, 2004 #6
    Those blackouts dont seem normal, but I do occasionally (once or twice a week) lose my bearings and forget what I was going to do. When that happens I conclude that it wasn't important and do something else. It reminds me of Homer Simpson's quote: "Now, the happy time between the lie and the time it is found out"
  8. Mar 4, 2004 #7
    That happens to me to. There are forms of compression for a human brain to remember short term memory. You can find them yourself or you can learn from someone that found them by reading a psychology book. I also forget things very easily. After I read a section of a psychology book on memory I found out that it is possible to remember what you want. There are a few things that effect memory:

    you must be curently aware;
    the hapier you are the better you remember
    good night and long sleep keeps memorys in short term part of brain function better
    Work then relax then work again and relax again instead of working until you finish a job (e.g. studying) this will help you remember better.

    You can learn more from psychology books.
  9. Mar 4, 2004 #8


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    I am always forgetting things like that. I will go upstairs to do something and by the time I reach the top of the stairs, I won't remember why. For me it's letting myself get distracted. I need to stop thinking so much (letting my mind wander) and focus on the task at hand.

    I actually have excellent short term memory, if it is something I am paying attention to.

    I know a LOT of people that have this problem.

    Chopnik, the blackout thing isn't normal, you might want to see a doctor.
  10. Mar 4, 2004 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    Nope, never. I have excellent short term memory, and I am not easily distracted. Yep, I am always fully cognizant of what I am doing.

    *ding dong*

    Oh, hold on, there's someone at the door.
    OK, I'm back. What was I talking about again? Oh yes, the Mentor pay rate. When is Greg going to give us a raise anyway? I've been doing this at the same rate for about a year and a half. Hell, I'm still waiting for the keys to the exceutive washroom. You know, if I don't get those keys soon, I just might start to think that this "executive washroom" doesn't even exist. Are the rest of you with me? Come on, Mentors, unite!

    Whew, good thing I didn't forget what I was talking about.

    That would have been embarassing.
  11. Mar 4, 2004 #10
    Ooh.. executive washroom. Sounds classy. Mentors got the luxury thing going on.

    Too bad all rest of us shmoes have to use the standard PF restrooms. They need some cleaning, and the graffiti is getting out-of-hand (people keep spray-painting huge forumulas on stuff like QED, QCD, misc theories, etc.) And why in the world did someone set up a laser interferometer (bouncing off of bathroom mirror) in there?!

    Pfftt... executive washroom, they got it made. Now where was I?
  12. Mar 4, 2004 #11


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    Tom...that was HYSTERICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You mean that the love and adoration of all the PF members isn't reward enough??? :wink: Ok, the Executive Washroom is pretty cool... And since I heard Greg just got a new Lambourghini (per Monique, I believe), it's the least the mentors should get.

    Motai, you always crack me up.
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