Can my nose help me learn more Chinese?
Yesterday I where walking around here in Tokyo and passed a bar where they served noodles. Nothing strange with that since there are so many here but the smell from this shop made me remember when I where here some years ago to learn Japanese. When smelling that I also remembered all the hours learning hiragana and katakana. Even though I have not used that in a long time, it all come back to me and it felt much easier to read the signs on the streets. This made me think about an article I recently read about a test at an American university where they let two group learn Spanish. One group studied the normal way and the other where in a room where they put a scent of mint in the air. At night time they let the group with the mint air once again smell the scent of mint. The outcome of this very simple test showed that the group that had to smell mint did remember better than the other group. This has nothing to do with mint. It is about the basic fact that our brain gets stimulated even when we are sleeping and continues to process the things we have done during the day. If we add something that the brain associates to those things during the day, it can repeat it more often. For me, this sounds true. I often listen to tai chi music when I am studying since I can't sit and do only one thing at the time. When I am sleeping I am also listening to the same music. I have always felt that this helps me to remember better, especially to write characters it helps me. My brain keeps writing the characters over and over again and the next day they stick so much better to my brain. There is one side effect of this though;-) I always use a small white board to write my characters. Often when I am standing and holding an presentation for the board and writing on the large white board I feel the urge to write Chinese instead of Swedish or English:-) sort of a fun feeling.
So the question, is there anybody else that have the same experience? Do you feel that you can help the brain to remember better by eating, smelling, listening etc. Or maybe study late at night. Please feel free to share your experience.
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