Imagining yourself as Daniel Craig’s newest Bond girl may seem to be a wishy-washy waste of brain cells, but a new study featured in has found that self-imagination--visualizing situations from your perspective--may actually help invoke your sense of self and improve free recall, even in patients with brain trauma.

Psychological scientists from the University of Arizona Matthew Grilli and Elizabeth Glisky wanted to test how far self-imagining would go in memory rehabilitation. They worked with 15 healthy individuals and 15 patients with impaired memory due to brain injury, asking them “to memorize five lists of 24 adjectives that described personality traits.” Each task respectively represented five memory rehabilitation strategies: baseline, semantic elaboration, semantic self-referential processing, episodic self-referential processing, and self-imagining.

The researchers found that self-imagining was the most effective strategy in promoting sense of self and free recall.

"Based on the results of our laboratory research, it might be possible to adapt self-imagination to help patients with memory problems remember information encountered in everyday life, such as what they read in a book or heard on the news," Grilli said.

Self-imagination can help people having a hard time going from one task to the next, as this strategy can “program” a person to regularly use simple memory aids (such as cellphone alarms and the like) to manage daily responsibilities. So get your imagination going and use it for your benefit. Keeping your mind active will keep it sharp and healthy.

(Photo by Sarah Reid via Flickr Creative Commons)

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