Our memory is undoubtedly one of our most fascinating faculties. It allows us to store information, to reason, to understand, and of course to learn! You may have already noticed that its performance is not always constant, that it can vary from one time of day to another, from one context to another. This is because certain factors can influence the functioning of this highly complex brain function, as we have discussed in a previous article.
Here are 5 factors that can influence the functioning of the memory:
The degree of attention, vigilance, awakening and concentration.
Interest, motivation, need or necessity.
The emotional state and emotional value attributed to the material to be memorized.
The environment in which the memorization takes place (location, lighting, noise, odours, etc.), recorded simultaneously with the data to be stored.
Breathing… yes yes yes!
Breathe through your nose!
The way we breathe and the breathing phase (inhalation or exhalation) have an impact on our memory. This is the surprising finding of an American study published in 2016.
We already knew about olfactory oscillation, a phenomenon that causes the neurons in the olfactory system to activate when air enters the nose through the receptors at the tip of the nasal hairs. It was also known that there were four types of olfactory oscillations, some of which were associated with learning and memory.
What the 2016 study highlighted is the fact that information is better stored if, when you read the information to be memorized, you inspire through your nose. Exhalation through the nose as well as breathing through the mouth (inhalation and exhalation) do not have the same effect, since it is the entry of air through the nostrils that allows olfactory oscillations.