A recent study looked at 2 forms of cognitive training that are used to help people with mild cognitive impairment to improve their memory and learning: mnemonic strategy training and spaced retrieval training.

Mnemonic strategy training aims new information to prior knowledge through key words, rhyming words, or acronyms. For example, Please excuse my dear Aunt Susie (PEMDAS) is a common mnemonic for remembering order of operations in pre-algebra meaning: parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, adding, and subtraction.

On the other hand, the goal of spaced retrieval training is to gradually extend time between retrieval activities or assignments.

Researchers found that both trainings were highly effective in the short term. However, each training turned to engage the brain in a different way.

While mnemonic strategy training increased activity in brain areas often affected by Alzheimer’s and demonstrated a clear advantage in memorizing, spaced retrieval training showed that the brain was able to process the information more efficiently.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

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