Test and Improve Your Memory Skills with a simple game designed to show the difficulties in quickly remembering a simple list. In addition it provides practice to improve the players memory skill.
Tap the okay block above and you will be shown two tiles one after another. The task is to simply recall what order they appeared in. Once the blocks become dim you repeat the sequence you just saw. If you are correct you will proceed to the next level of skill where an additional block is added for you to recall. The sequence of blocks is different in each round.
On average players get to around 5 tiles before making a recall error.
The game gives the player a clue as to a strategy that might be used to recall correctly the order in which tiles appear. Since the tiles are arranged on a five by five grid there is a spatial element to the order. If the player is able to associate the path traced by the tiles that appear with an existing memory the player is likely to progress quite far in the game.
The game is made harder because the sequence of tiles is different on each attempt. This removes the ability to learn the tiles from earlier sequences by rote and rehearsal. In addition the tiles presented are identical making it harder to find associations at each step. However again that provides the player with an opportunity to invent attributes - maybe assigning a name or number to help record the sequence in the players mind can help.
When your body experiences a period of stress, it generally is one of two types, either acute or chronic stress is experienced. The most common form of stress, acute stress, is experienced with a release of adrenal steroids. During such an experience your short term memory will become impaired. The human brain has limited short term memory resources and there is competition for them from sources of stimulation. So under an acute stress scenario when your resources are depleted the more external stimulation you are exposed to the more difficult it will be to recall even recent items of information. Your processing of working memory is also affected during acute stress making it harder to focus your attention and consolidate memories in your long term memory.
The second type of stress, chronic stress, can be brought about by exposure to glucocorticoids (steroids that can be given to treat asthma, allergic reactions and dermatitis). These steroids are produced naturally by the body in response to the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secreted by the anterior pituitary gland in direct response to stress. The glucocorticoids result in an increase in cortisol in the brain. This is one of the most well known stress response hormones. When cortisol levels remain high for a long period, the state of chronic stress is entered. An area of the brain called the hippocampus will reduce in volume and you will experience problems with hippocampal-dependent memory. This affects directly for instance your spatial and contextual memory performance.
If you are able to isolate the source of the stress you experience you could expect your memory to be improved. In addition when learning new memories they will form more easily if you are under lower stress. Reduction of drugs that cause the stress may not be an option and meditation is suggested to help increase control over the resources available to the brain by improving attention and self-regulation. In fact an MRI scan of people who consistently perform mindfulness meditation such as Buddhists show these people to have a larger hippocampus and an increased cortical thickness compared to a control group of persons who do not perform such mental training.