In spite of all these reasons for forgetting, people can still remember a vast amount of information. In addition, memory can be enhanced in a variety of ways, including rehearsal, overlearning, distributed practice, minimizing interference, deep processing, organizing information, mnemonic devices, and visual imagery.
Practicing material helps people remember it. The more people rehearse information, the more likely they are to remember that information.
Overlearning, or continuing to practice material even after it is learned, also increases retention.
Learning material in short sessions over a long period is called distributed practice or the “spacing effect.” This process is the opposite of cramming, which is also called massed practice. Distributed practice is more effective than cramming for retaining information.
People remember material better if they don’t learn other, similar material right before or soon after their effort. One way to minimize interference is to sleep after studying material, since people can’t learn new material while sleeping.
People also remember material better if they pay attention while learning it and think about its meaning rather than memorize the information by rote. One way to process information deeply is to use a method called elaboration. Elaboration involves associating the material being learned with other material. For example, people could associate the new material with previously learned material, with an anecdote from their own lives, with a striking example, or with a movie they recently saw.