To-Do List Training

To-Do List Training Screenshot

On your way home from work, you stop by the supermarket. You need to pick up some ingredients for dinner. Do you remember everything—or do you forget a crucial item?

It depends, in part, on your working memory. “Working memory” is the brief short-term memory (about twenty or thirty seconds) that enables us to react to and store something we see, hear, or otherwise sense. So if your spouse says, “Don’t forget we need milk—not whole, make sure you get the 1%—also some garlic and basil…and pick up some paper towels while you’re at it,” can you keep it all in mind long enough to record it clearly and remember it effortlessly when you get to the supermarket?

This is the kind of memory that To-Do List Training works to improve. Unlike many of the other BrainHQ memory exercises—which help memory by improving the accuracy with which you take in sensory information—To-Do List Training directly engages the working memory processes in the forebrain. The neurons in the forebrain integrate sensory information with information about previous experiences; in other words, they interpret what the brain hears, allowing the brain to remember and use the information for a time.

In To-Do List Training, your brain hears a set of instructions, then uses its memory of those instructions to follow them in order. The instructions get longer and more complex over time at the task, making greater demands of your working memory systems.

To-Do List Training At-a-Glance

What you do What it improves How the exercise changes How you're scored
Listen to a set of instructions, remember them, and follow them in order
  • Working memory
  • Items to gather get more similar
Your score is the number of instructions you can remember. As you improve, you must remember more instructions.