Experts say electronic devices could hinder short-term memory - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Experts say electronic devices could hinder short-term memory

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

These days we use our electronic devices for a lot. Technology makes things like finding driving directions, sending emails, and staying connected with friends easier. However, a recent study shows there could be a downside when it comes to our short-term memory.

Like many of us, Beverly Stevener is constantly connected.

"I start off the morning with the iPhone,” Stevener said. “Facebook. Guilty.”

Stevener spends her day at the Fireworks City tent in Miner.

"If somebody comes in, I just slide it under the counter and take care of business then slide it back under when they leave,” Stevener said.

However, she also uses her devices for more than entertainment.

"I think it's a good way of keeping track. It's easy to lose a piece of paper, but people aren't going to lose their phones, hopefully,” Stevener said.

Seth Keith uses his phone for lots of things like lists and reminders.

"The fan at the top of our stairs in our bedroom needs to be fixed or replaced, so I can actually just pick it up and within just two or three touches of the buttons I can remember that I've got to do that and when I'm done I can delete it off there,” Keith said.

However, according to recent research, this can have a slight downside.

"The information is not put in the short-term memory which is not transferred to the long-term memory because our attention is shortened,” Physiologist Dr. David Van Pelt with Applied Psychological Center said.

Dr. Van Pelt says, though, that's nothing to worry too much about.

“Our overall capacity of memory has not reduced, but our utilization of long-term memory has decreased as technology has advanced, because we have not had to rely on it as much,” Dr. Van Pelt said.

Still, he says, it's important to stimulate our minds and memory in other ways.

"[Do things like] memorizing a song, reading books, writing things down,” Dr. Van Pelt said.

Gadgets can help with that too.

"I’m going to grab my Nook and I'm going to get back to reading one of my stories,” Stevener said.

They can even free up time for thinking about other things.

"I don't have to remember the addresses, I can if I need to but yet I think it's more important that I remember other things,” Keith said.

Dr. Van Pelt says it is not a bad thing to use your phone or other device as a way to help you remember things. However, he says it's also important that we take some time away from technology- that helps clear our minds and strengthen our thought processes. He says it's also important that you do not rely on cellphones for things like emergency numbers, in case the battery dies or it breaks. 

Dr. Van Pelt recommends the following tips to combat the memory side effects of reliance of technology.

1. Choose to spend more time offline

2. Pursue a hobby that demands concentration (playing an instrument, learning a new sport, building models, crocheting

3. Develop your listening skills – listen to a news story and tell a friend about it using the journalist’s words

4. Promote your visual judgment - Complete a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle

5. Improve your focus and memory – Write down all the things you saw today (remember everything you can)

5. Limit drinking and smoking

6. Associate new information with things that you already know.

7. Add new information to your mind in smaller bundles

8. Repeat it. - Repeat it over and over again - “over-learn”

9. Chunk it. - separate pieces of information - Divide the large amount of information into smaller chunks

10. Use as many senses as you can when encoding information.

If you're interested in programs that help improve your child's memory or learning ability, visit these sites:

· Champions for Children

· Brain Gym

· Learning RX

Check out the following Apps to stay organized to help you complete important tasks and improve your productivity

· Due

· EpicWin

· Clear

· Evernote

· Dragon app

· Remember the Milk

· Momento

· MindNod

· Dropbox

· iReward

· HomeRoutines

· 30/30

· TaskHammer

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