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How to Pull Off Amazing Feats of Memory


Tests like Monkey Ladder, Paired Associates, and Digit Span really challenge your memory abilities. But did you know that some people have made a sport out of remembering things? The World Memory Championship happens every year, and I'm always blown away by what these people can accomplish.

For example, one discipline is a digit span test, similar to ours except that competitors have a whole hour to memorize as many digits as they can, then two hours to recall them. Can you guess how many digits the current world champion, Alex Mullen, was able to recall?

Over three thousand!

I'm happy when I remember more than six.

You can read a brief interview with Mullen here, including hints at the strategies he used to pull off such a feat. Have you used any strategies to increase your performance on memory tests? I'd love to hear them—let me know in the comments.

This post was written by Mike Battista, a staff scientist at Cambridge Brain Sciences.