By: Denise Foley
I’m a Baby Boomer. That means that I can pretty much remember the theme song to every ’60s TV show and have no trouble identifying photos of skate keys, wringer washers and that little thing you put in 45s to play them on your turntable that are popping up on Facebook daily. But I lose my keys at least twice a day, forget where I stashed the peanut butter, and can’t find my glasses (even when I’m wearing them on top of my head).
I need help. You probably do too. Very little is more aggravating than not being able to find something you want. Now, new research suggests there might be something that will make it a little easier: Act crazy and talk to yourself out loud.
In a recent study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Pennsylvania found that people who repeated the name of the object they were trying to find located it faster than those who just searched quietly. (Read more about the study here.)
They chose to test that particular technique because “people really do sometimes talk to themselves when searching for something,” says researcher Daniel Swingley, associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. “Is this just to help them remember what they’re doing? Or might it actually help?”
It helps. Why? Explains Swingley: “It brings more mental resources to bear, focusing them on the object they’re searching for.” In other words, when searching for my glasses, I’ll be more focused on finding my glasses if I say the word “glasses” over and over until I find them. And probably be less distracted by other things while looking for them.
Denise Foley is Completely You’s “News You Can Use” blogger. She is a veteran health writer, the former deputy editor and editor at large of Prevention, and co-author of four books on women’s health and parenting.
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