If you want to remember a poem or some other lesson, repeating it aloud while addressing another person may be the most effective way to recall, says a study.
"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," said Victor Boucher from University of Montreal in Canada.
For the study, the researchers asked 44 French-speaking university students to read a series of lexemes on a screen.
During the task, the participants wore headphones that emitted "white noise" to mask their own voices and eliminate auditory feedback.
The participants were submitted to four experimental conditions: repeating in their head, repeating silently while moving their lips, repeating aloud while looking at the screen, and finally, repeating aloud while addressing someone.
After a distraction task, they were asked to identify the lexemes they recalled having said from a list that included lexemes not used in the test.
The results showed a clear difference when the exercise was performed aloud in the presence of someone else, even though the participants had heard absolutely nothing.
Repeating in one's head without gesturing was the least effective way to recall information.
"The simple fact of articulating without making a sound creates a sensorimotor link that increases our ability to remember, but if it is related to the functionality of speech, we remember even more," Boucher said.
The study will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Consciousness and Cognition.