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Why We Forget & How to Train Your Brain to Remember with Dr. Charan Ranganath

Charan Ranganath is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California at Davis. For over 25 years, Dr. Ranganath has studied the mechanisms in the brain that allow us to remember past events, using brain imaging techniques, computational modeling and studies of patients with memory disorders. He has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship. He lives in Davis, California.

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Why do you remember some things and forget others?

When it comes to memory, your brain is programmed to forget. That’s why it’s not only important to train your memory, but understand the complex mechanism of how your brain actually records and retrieves the past. Your memories make you who you are. And because of the way your brain transforms memories, you can use them to understand the present and imagine the future.

I’m excited to go on a deep dive into this topic with our guest today, Dr. Charan Ranganath. Dr. Ranganath is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at UC Davis. For over 25 years, he’s studied the mechanisms in the brain that allows you to remember past events. He’s here to talk about his brand-new book, Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold on to What Matters.

There is extraordinary overlap in the brain between the systems that operate your memory and your imagination. You can use this overlap to make better choices that can lead to better memories. That in turn, can open new opportunities in your life. Listen in as Dr. Ranganath goes into how the brain records and retrieves the past, and what you can do to make your memory stronger.

I invite you to join me in a world of limitless learning possibilities. Through my revolutionary Kwik Brain accelerated learning programs, I’ll guide you towards rapid growth and extraordinary achievements by unlocking the secrets of productivity, memory enhancement, confidence-building, and more. Unleash your true genius at http://kwikbrain.com and use code PODCAST15 at checkout for an exclusive 15% discount on any of our transformative courses as a thank you for being a loyal listener.

To learn more about your brain type and how to use this knowledge to create lasting change, visit kwikbrain.com/animal-quiz, and take the quiz today.

"Memory is a resource, a perfect co-pilot, but you don’t want it in the driver seat."

Dr. Charan Ranganath

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**This week’s show notes are taken from the video — enjoy!**

  • Here’s how you use memory to ground you in the present and make decisions about the future. [3:21]
  • This is the difference between the experiencing self and the remembering self. [7:08]
  • Why do you misremember or distort your memories? Dr. Ranganath explains. [9:34]
  • Memory can play a key role in study habits and learning. Here’s how. [12:11]
  • If you really want to enhance and solidify your learning, you have to have this. [15:13]
  • Cramming or pulling an all-nighter to learn does this to your memory. [17:28]
  • This is why you forget and what you can do to remember more. [20:13]
  • More information doesn’t make it easier to remember something. But adding this does. [23:27]
  • These are the two keys to remembering better. [24:56]
  • This is the link between music and memory. [26:27]
  • Is AI potentially going to interfere with memory? This is Dr. Ranganath’s perspective. [29:53]
  • Take a screen shot, tag us (@jimkwik & @thememorydoc), and share one takeaway from this episode.
  • To keep in touch with Dr. Ranganath, you can sign up for his newsletter, here.
  • Don’t forget to buy a copy of his book, Why We Remember, here.

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