Have you ever felt annoyed with yourself, maybe for forgetting to do an important task, or for leaving the house keys behind? If so, acting out things you are supposed to remember or pretending that you are actually doing it, can help you recall, suggests a research.
The findings showed that alternative enactment techniques, such as acting, can improve patients’ prospective memory — where you have not remembered to take the action you had planned.
This involves recreating an action one would like to remember, and pretending that you are actually doing it, in as much vivid detail as possible, the researchers said.
A failing prospective memory can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to lead author Antonina Periera, psychologist at the University of Chichester in the UK.
“The study suggests that enactment techniques are effective in improving prospective memory,” she added.
In the research, published in the journal Neuropsychology, the team examined the prospective memory performance in nearly 100 participants, which included patients with mild cognitive impairment aged 64-87 years, healthy older adults aged 62-84 years and younger adults aged 2-18 years.
Participants of all age groups reported improvement in prospective memory, especially the older subjects with mild cognitive impairment in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, after the enhancement technique.
The researchers confirmed that prospective memory erodes as we get older and that enactment techniques might support those with a poor prospective memory.
Encouraging people in this category to adopt enhancement as a means to enhance prospective memory could result in them leading independent, autonomous lives for longer.
The enactment techniques “can have very long lasting effects and work even for people with cognitive impairment. Acting is the key,” Periera noted.