Visual Memory: What It Is
Updated on January 31, 2024
6 min read

Visual Memory: What It Is

Visual information processing is an essential cognitive process that allows perceiving and interpreting the surrounding world. Visual memory and visualization skills entail our interaction with symbols, images, and even words. As for its mechanism, first of all, our retina receives visual input. After, the obtained visual data will flow into the brain. Then, the information, such as shapes or colors, is processed.

In order for the information to efficiently stick in your memory, it is pivotal to train this process with the help of intelligent mental activities. Learning available visual techniques for being able to visualize thoughts can help you not only to fuel your memory but also spark up your imagination and unleash hidden creative potential. Integrating powerful visual skills into the learning experience makes it possible to gain memory beyond the ordinary. So students will be able to deal with complex tasks and enjoy academic success, while the elderly can lower the risk of dementia. There are many more positive far-reaching effects of staying engaged with mental fitness. First, let’s see the mechanism of visual memory and why its improvement is vital.

How Does Visual Memory Work?

Visual memory and visualization skills entail our interaction with symbols, images, and even words. As for its mechanism, first of all, our retina receives visual input. After, the obtained visual data will flow into the brain. Then, the information, such as shapes or colors, is processed. Probably, this explanation is quite simple, as, in fact, visual information is accumulated throughout different structures of our brain, and memories are kept between neurons connections. Therefore, the stronger the connections, the more powerful memory we will have, and the easier it is for us to recall it even after a long period of time. But understanding how our visual working memory works is not enough. The most important thing is to understand how to stimulate and use it smartly.

How to Improve Visual Memory: Exercises

Deterioration of visual memory and accurate information processing can have different reasons. With age, the capacity of keeping images and memorizing faces or objects can be declined. At the same time, some individuals have a rare condition known as a blind mind’s eye. It means that they cannot shape mental images and scenes, and it’s hard for them to visualize things. Short attention span, untrained memory, poor ability to retrieve the encoded information, or even some bad habits can thwart having a powerful visual type of memory. Thus, if a cognitive system of the brain fails to maintain the needed amount of visual data, perhaps it is the right time to discover how to improve memory and regain the ability to hold and recall visual details.

Challenge Your Mind With Object Descriptions

There are several tactics to use when training your visual abilities. Describing the appearance of an object with lots of vivid details is one of them. With such exercises, you will launch your eidetic memory. First, just pick one item you’ve never seen before. Then, look at it for some time. Remember that your goal is to encode as many details as possible with a high level of precision. After, give yourself a couple of minutes, so your brain can put information in short-term storage. Now, you must list details and describe the item’s shape, color, and other features. The more objects are described, the stronger visual memory you will have.

Use Rhymes

Rhymes are one of the powerful ways to memorize more by connecting bright associations with the right words. So creating a system of connections, you evoke your imagination. Encoding information through rhyming is an interactive and efficient way. It is since our memory better perceives words that are linked by sound. So you can launch your visual memory with this technique and connect vivid features with rhyming words to remember long lists.

Visualize Something Completely Unusual

Have you ever tried to visualize acronyms? Sounds impossible. But everyone can test their brain and fantasy. Let’s take, for example, NASA. Just close your eyes. Focus on the feelings and senses that NASA evokes and on images that you see in your mind’s eye. You can take any type of abbreviation. Naturally, human imagination has no boundaries, and by training to visualize unusual things, any individual can regain visual-spatial memory and an ability to recall information from our senses, including visual details, for example, colors.

Recall What Happened to you During the Day/ Important Events

Retelling exercises can open up impressive brain potential. For children, retelling a book or a plot is of paramount importance to build a strong vocabulary and improve visualization skills. As for elderly people, listing events can become an excellent tool for activating mind power and a simple but efficient solution to the memory issue. The more information you recall each evening, the broader your memory capacity will be.

Visual Meditation to Clear Your Mind

Any type of smartly approached meditation can bring a great feeling of calmness and harmony. It relaxes your mind and gives space for growing your intelligence power and thinking skills. As a result, you will attain well-being, emotional balance, and reduce stress. Furthermore, you can also use each session to reach more precise goals. For example, visual techniques, such as guided imagery, are beneficial for relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. Also, it can increase brain performance. The task is to visit a peaceful place, visualizing details mentally. It can be a quiet meadow, calm river, or mountains. To train your fantasy and visualization, you can also try to come up with entirely new scenery or imagine the moment when you achieve your goals and dreams.

Describe Paintings

Nothing can train your visual memory better than a picture description. Just look at some paintings with a high focus for several minutes. Then recall all the components which you managed to encode in short-term memory. Next, look at the same picture again and analyze the amount of visual information you’ve coped to memorize. With each such practice, you will probably be capable of processing a more significant number of features.

Verbalize Ideas

By expressing your feelings, emotions, ideas, and thoughts in words, you will unleash your abstract thinking skills, and conceptual ideas will be more understandable. So always share your impressions and use metaphors and symbols when verbalizing. Add visualization activity to this exercise. Having a problem, always seek several solutions, don’t focus on one line of thought, and try to diversify thinking patterns.

Try to Draw a Story

Improved visual memory is essential to career growth, academic success, and self-confidence in own abilities. While we draw, the release of endorphins is boosted. There is also an array of hidden benefits for your brain, as creating art involves lots of cognitive processes. Strategic thinking, strong concentration, and curiosity will also be developed.

Engage Your Brain with a New Experience

New experiences can change the way you think and process information. This is how you can become a free thinker, avoid limits when imagining things, inspire a new level of creativity, and get new knowledge. Thus, you can discover the characteristics of different cultures worldwide, start learning a new language or visit new places for fresh impressions. Moreover, new connections will be built in your brain by interacting with new information. In addition, your reasoning abilities will be strengthened, as, for example, by learning about new cultures, you will get rid of stereotypes and minimize biases. As for a new language, its advantages for your mental capacity and memory are undeniable. You may also expect positive effects on your memory if you try taking musical classes, dealing with puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, or trying new sports.

Use a Powerful Mnemonic — Memory Palace

As our brain gets older, it’s typical to notice some signs of memory troubles. But such a scenario is possible if not employing the right tactics for stimulating our cognitive processes. For example, a mind map in its traditional form or as a gamified and interactive app can become an excellent technique for boosting visual-spatial memory, memorizing new information, and negotiating properly in any space. Thus, you will make your brain remember and keep lots of information based on associations. Also, known as a Mind Palace, and in simpler terms, is created out of well-known environments with a number of specific objects inside known as loci. To memorize something, the subject mentally navigates through a path of loci to form a vivid link between the desired information and the specific loci. To retrieve the needed memories, the subject simply re-imagines walking through the particular environment of a Mind Palace. It is a memory technique used by most, if not all World Memory Champions.

Short Term Visual Memory

Short-term memory refers to holding some data and having it instantly available for a shorter period. Memorizing a string of words or lists is an example of this type of memory. Visual short-term memory is the same; however, the brain encodes visuals and features of items and objects. By combining several visual techniques and tactics, you will launch all your senses, nurture exceptional multisensory imagination, grow memory capacity, foster curiosity, and get rid of all barriers that hold you back.


What is an example of visual memory?

The ability to recall how objects and things look in vivid detail is an example of powerful visual skills.

What are visual memory skills?

Your brain has the capacity to encode visual data like any other type of information. The ability to recall the appearance of people and faces, buildings, or any other component is an example of using our visual memory.

What is visual memory important for?

Growing the power of the visual type of memory is imperative for dealing with most academic tasks, succeeding in the workplace, and preventing aging signs of memory deterioration.

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