Using Sensory Learning Links

Research has shown that if you learn something while drunk, it will be better
remembered when you are inebriated again. State related memory links can often
assist your learning capacity. For instance, learning something in a certain seat or in
a certain posture represents a kinesthetic linked state. When tested later in the same
seat or with the same posture, scores are higher than when tested in an alternative seat
or posture. Research has also revealed that odors can not only evoke long forgotten
memories, but they can serve as definite learning links. In controlled experiments,
students that learned something while in the presence of a certain odor remembered
that same information better when in the midst of that same odor again. The more
unique the aroma, the better.
When learning foreign vocabulary, seeing the words to be learned is visual input.
Hearing them is auditory input, and this doubles the sensory input to the brain. If
you choose words that are represented by odors, you have a third pathway to the
brain. Olfactory impulses travel a shorter, more direct route to your brain than do
visual or auditory messages, and they do not criss cross like other neural connections
on each side of your body. When foreign vocabulary and odors are presented
together, word lists are retained more easily. For example, smell the odor of cheese
as you learn the Spanish word 'queso.' Smell various fruits, spices and flowers
while simultaneously reiterating aloud their foreign word equivalents.
Now touch and hold various objects, fruits or animals as you learn their equivalent
foreign word. Now taste certain fruits, vegetables and foods as you associate their
foreign word equivalents. Kinesthetically act out appropriate words in descriptive
pantomime, and let the motor movements assist in establishing associative, memory
patterns.
In the absence of actual physical stimuli, simply visualize tasting, smelling and
touching various items while saying aloud the appropriate foreign word (review
"Exercise -- Imagining Your Senses"). This visualization process will reinforce your
memory process when you are unable to physically make the associations with your
senses.