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17 September 2014
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How to Improve Your Memory
Shown 9 August 2006, BBC One

Co-hosted by Professor Robert Winston and Dr Tanya Byron, this interactive special invites you to take part in a range of experiments to test your memory and receive practical help on how to improve it.

Longleat House in Wiltshire is transformed into 'Memory Manor', a laboratory to explore how our brains work, what memory skills we're born with and which parts of our memory we can improve on.

How to Improve Your Memory

Play along at home

You are invited to solve a Memory Manor mystery during the programme. The mystery – based a on real-life painting theft from Longleat House – tests your memory with a series of interactive challenges. The most complex challenge comes at the end and gives you a chance to discover how the painting was finally tracked down.

You don't need any extra kit to take part. You can play along by printing out your blank score card at the bottom of this page, and filling it in with a pen or pencil.

If you're a digital viewer, press the red button on your remote control at the start of the programme to benefit from the enhanced interactive service.

You'll see seven memory tests, which you can answer using the number keys on your digital remote control. You'll receive a tailored response directly related to your answer and extra tips and feedback to help you improve. At the end of the programme, you’ll also get a summary of your results with additional information and advice on improving your memory.

Note: the digital service is currently available to digitial satellite and Freeview viewers only.

At Memory Manor, 100 volunteers participate in a series of experiments to assess their memory strengths and weaknesses. We also follow a handful of volunteers back home to see how their memory foibles affect their daily lives. There's the teacher who can't remember the name of his pupils, the amateur gardener for whom horticultural exams are a real struggle and the singer who forgets his lyrics.

The programme also examines how memories are formed and looks at how age affects memory throughout a lifetime – as a child, throughout the teen years right through to pregnancy, menopause and old age.

Experts including memory maestro Tony Buzan and Professor Robert Logie all pitch in with tips and advice to help the six contributors meet their final memory challenge set by the programme team.

Celebrity guests Alan Titchmarsh, Jilly Goolden, Adrian Lester (Hustle), Charlie Dimmock and Paul Atterbury (Antiques Roadshow) explain how they keep their memories in shape.

Tips and challenges

Test your memory

Read memory tips

Press the red button on your remote control. The purple box on the left side of this page has details of how you can become a sleuth by pushing the red button during the programme.

Pressing red gives you the opportunity to tailor your viewing experience and benefit more fully from the programme. You will not miss any of the BBC One programme, and the service is free and easy to use. There are detailed instructions to help you throughout.

Red button not your thing?

You can print a score card (PDF format) and play along with a pen.

Wondering what a PDF is? Having trouble viewing the score card? BBC Webwise explains file extensions.

Worried about your memory?

If you're concerned about your memory try these links for more help. Or, you can get further sources of information and support by calling the BBC Action line on 0800 044 044.
 Elsewhere in Memory

Memory homepage
A gateway to the BBC's memory content

The memory experience
Radio 4's memory season

Explore your memory
Fun challenges designed by experts reports

Brain cells caught learning

Exercise now to cut dementia risk

Brain exercise wards off Alzheimer's

How to outwit the cocky cabbies

 Elsewhere on

Get smarter in a week
Activities to fit into your daily routine

Radio 4: Memory and gender
Woman's Hour

Radio 4: Memory loss
Check Up

 Elsewhere on the web

A San Francisco science museum's online memory exhibit

Tony Buzan
The memory expert's website

How's your memory for faces?
A simple, fun test from the University of Washington

An online version of the classic memory game

Tickle memory test
A free tests website

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