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Repeating words aloud to another boosts memory recall

repeating words aloud

You should read this if you are preparing for your exams, trying to memorize a speech or just trying to boost memory recall. A new study has found that repeating words aloud to another person can increase your verbal memory. Victor Boucher, a professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation at University of Montreal said that the results of his study will be published in the next edition of the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

“We knew that repeating aloud was good for memory, but this is the first study to show that if it is done in a context of communication, the effect is greater in terms of information recall,” explained prof. Boucher. [Read more Eating fish weekly makes kids more intelligent and sleep better]

To demonstrate their findings on how to boost memory, Boucher and Alexis Lafleur, a doctoral student in neuropsychology asked 44 French-speaking university students to participate in a series of tasks.

For the first test, the participants were asked to read a number of lexemes from a computer screen. Lexemes are words written as they are found in the dictionary. During each stage of the test to boost memory, participants had to wear headphones that emitted “white noise.” This mechanism would mask their voices and thereby avoid auditory feedback.

For the next stage, participants were asked to repeat the words in 4 experimental conditions – repeat the words in their mind, repeat them silently by moving their lips, repeat the words aloud while staring at the screen and repeat the words aloud to another person. [Read more Learning foreign languages may sharpen our minds]

repeating words aloud

In the final stage of the test to boost memory recall, participants were made to engage in distraction task. After the completion of distraction task, they were shown another list of lexemes – some of which were shown to them before and some of which were not.

The results showed that performing the exercise aloud produced the highest verbal memory recall, while the least effective way to recall information was by repeating the lexemes in one’s head without gesturing.

According to Prof. Boucher, the simple way of communicating without making any sound generates a sensorimotor link that boosts our means to remember. But, we remember even more if the procedure is associated with the functionality of speech.

Another set of experiment was conducted in the test to boost memory recall. In this, the students were asked to repeat “non-words,” or chains of syllables that are not part of lexemes, in each of the four conditions mentioned before. [মধুর যত মধুর গুণাবলী]

The results showed that the students, repeating the non-words aloud to another did not show any higher verbal memory recall than repeating them in any of the other conditions. Boucher explains this as the brain’s inability to associate non-words with verbal memory. He noted that previous studies done by his team showed that the eloquence of a sound leaves a sensory and motor mark in the brain.


Boucher concluded by saying that a more coherent recall of the verbal element is created by the production of one or more sensory aspects. When talking to someone, aspects of sensorimotor and verbal expression are added to the brain’s multisensory information associated with the communication episode. Because of this, information is better retained in memory which shows that repeating words aloud to another person boosts memory recall.

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