I’ve seen a fair bit of debate over the last few years about whether or not baby brain actually exists.
And this is one occasion where I really don’t care what the research and evidence says, I’m convinced that it DOES exist! I don’t know if it’s down to hormones, or changes in brain chemistry or if it’s just down to chronic lack of sleep, but I know that my mental faculties aren’t quite what they used to be!
And baby brain mixed with living with small children who like to move things and hide them in random places sometimes results in things disappearing. Like the house keys when you need to head out on the school run – fun!
So any little tricks that can help me find lost items more quickly are good to know, and this trick in particular is useful and interesting:
Say the name of the missing item out loud.
It’s that simple.
As you’re looking around the house for your keys, say the word “keys” out loud as you search and you’ll find them more quickly than if you kept quiet!
A study carried out at the University of Wisconsin involved asking people to find 20 coloured drawings that were mixed in with 240 other drawings. Some of the participants were asked to keep quiet while they looked, and the others were asked to read the name of the thing they were looking for (the target) before they started looking.
The researchers found that “speaking the name of the target immediately prior to the search made the search significantly faster and more accurate.”
In other words, saying the name of the thing you’re looking for out loud really does help you to find it more quickly.
Another study, published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, produced the same results. The researchers suggest that talking can change the way our brains process information, effectively letting us concentrate better and that saying an object’s name out loud can improve our ability to “attend simultaneously to multiple regions of space containing the named objects and even make an otherwise invisible object visible”.
Also, wandering round the house saying “keys” may well just prompt your 2 year old to tell you which shoe they put them in when they were playing with them earlier, so it’s got to be worth a try, even if you do sound a bit bonkers in the process!