- Handwritten notes: Taking notes the old fashioned way may lead to greater depth in understanding, as opposed to typing. Researchers Pam Mueller of Princeton and Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA quizzed a sample of students a half hour after taking lecture notes either by hand or on a computer, and found that although both groups remembered about the same amount of facts, those with typed notes performed worse on understanding conceptual ideas (Herbert, 2014).
- Dress up: while there aren’t many more opportunities post-grad where you can get away with showing up in pajamas, studies show that what you wear may affects your attention. Professor Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University found in a study of 58 students that those wearing a lab coat made half as many mistakes in a color naming Stroop Test of “Selective Attention” (names of colors do not match their ink color) compared to those who wore street clothes. In another test, students wore identical coats. Half were told they were wearing a doctor’s coat and the other half told they were wearing a painters coat. Asked to determine the differences between two slightly different images in a short amount of time, those in the “doctor’s coats” recognized more differences than their peers! (Landau, 2012)
- Get artsy: Visit a museum. Students who visit art museums demonstrate better critical thinking skills with increased social tolerance and empathy, and even reduced stress! Causal evidence between viewing art and such desirable effects was documented after the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, through randomly assigning scheduled school field trips to the museum and surveying students after visiting the museum (Bowen, et al., 2013). Take a day trip to Balboa Park for the best San Diego has to offer. Each Tuesday offers San Diego residents free admission to different museums! Just bring your School ID (or driver’s license).
- Go ahead and doodle: doodlers are actually more engaged in listening than non-doodlers. Dr. Jackie Andrade compared doodlers’ and non-doodlers’ retention of name recall after they listening to a short tape in which they were instructed to imagine a friend had called them about a party and spoke about. She suggests that doodling may stabilize a person’s arousal to an optimal level for listening by decreasing boredom and the mind’s desire to drift off or daydream (Andrade, 2009).
- Indulge in chocolate or a glass of wine: small amounts in your diet may be good for your memory. Research has demonstrated that resveratrol, a substance found in dark chocolate and red wine may aid in the formation of memories. In a recent study by Veronica Witte, six months of administering 200 mgs of resveratrol to overweight adults increased activity within the hippocampus leading to better memory retention, and also reduced levels of blood sugar as indicated by brain imaging and blood sampling (Lewis, 2014).
Andrade, Jackie. (2009). What does doodling do? Applied Cognitive Psychology. Retrieved from: http://pignottia.faculty.mjc.edu/math134/homework/doodlingCaseStudy.pdf
Boardman, Samantha. (2015). 20 secrets of successful students. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positive-prescription/201508/20-secrets-successful-students
Bowen, Daniel H., Green, Jay P., Kisida, Brian. (2013, November 24). Art makes you smart. The New York Times. Retrieved from:
Herbert, Wray. (2014). In on paper: some notes on note taking. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/ink-on-paper-some-notes-on-note-taking.html
Landau, Ian. (2012) Could wearing a lab coat make you smarter? Everyday Health. Retrieved from:
Lewis, Tania. (2014). Red wine compound may improve memory. Livescience. Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/46139-red-wine-compound-may-improve-memory.html