Having trouble remembering your best friend's phone number? Need to access your calendar to confirm every arrangement?

According to a top memory expert, your smartphone might be to blame.

"We are outsourcing our memory to electric devices and although this can be convenient, we need to be wary of the deleterious effects," warns Chester Santos, a memory champion and author of Instant Memory Training for Success.

"These days we are probably using our ability to remember less than any other time in history," he adds.


Like every other muscle in our body, the less we exercise the brain, the lazier it gets.

So how does your brain shape up in the memory stakes? Take this short test, devised by Santos, to assess how good your memory really is.

Test your memory

Read through the list of 14 words below no more than twice while trying to remember them.

• Monkey
• Iron
• Rope
• Kite
• House
• Paper
• Shoe
• Worm
• Envelope
• Pencil
• River
• Rock
• Tree
• Cheese

Now, on a separate sheet of paper write down as many of the words as you can from memory.

Compare your sheet to the list above and count up how many you got correct.
Score yourself based on the scale below:

1-5 words: Your memory is below average. You need to look into strategies to help you sharpen up.

6-8 words: You're average. People with average memory ability get along fine but there's room for improvement.

9-12 words: Google and app addiction hasn't started to effect you yet. Your memory is still super sharp.

13-14 words: You are a memory superstar! Your memory power can be used to your advantage in business and social settings to achieve great success.

Whatever your score, here's the good news. According to Santos, whose new book helps people train their brain and improve their memory, everyone reading this is capable of scoring in the 13-14 range on the test above.

"We all have an absolutely amazing ability to remember if we use the correct approach," Santos says.

Try to combine these simple strategies to see if you have the potential to be a memory superstar.

Turn words into pictures

Harness the power of your visual memory by actively picturing what you are trying to remember.

"We are good at remembering what we see," explains Santos. People are often good at remembering faces but not names, for example.

"'It's often easier to remember someone you met by what they were wearing rather than their name," Santos adds.

To beat your score, try to turn the list above into a series of memorable images.

Santos says: "Picture a monkey. This monkey is dancing around making monkey noises.


"The monkey next picks up an iron. The iron starts to fall, but a rope attaches itself to the iron.

"You look up the rope and see the other end attached to a kite. The kite now smashes into a house.

"You notice that the house is covered in paper. A shoe appears out of nowhere and start to walk on the paper.

"The shoe smells badly, so you look inside to find a worm crawling around. The worm now for some reason jumps into an envelope. A pencil starts to write on the envelope.

"That pencil now jumps into a river with a huge splash. You notice that the river is crashing into a giant rock.

"The rock flies out of the river and crashes into a tree. This tree is growing cheese!'

Santos advises reading through the story just one more time while visualizing everything described.

You will now be able to recite the random words from memory by simply going through the story in your mind and recalling each major object that you encounter.

Make memory smelly

Involving as many senses as you can in your memory, including what you can hear, smell and feel.

"Activating more areas of your brain, will build more connections and strengthen the memory," explains Santos.

"Autistic savants, who have incredible memories, are more likely to be born with synaesthesia, when one sense automatically links to another," he adds.

"When presented a number, autistic savants, will often say that a number feels good or bad."

To increase your score in the test, associate smells with the images you have pictured in your mind for each word.

What does that monkey smell like? You won't be forgetting that one in a hurry.

Let you imagination run wild

"We are all very good at remembering things that catch us by surprise," says Santos. "We remember unusual occurrences with little or no effort."

If an elephant crossed popped its trunk over your phone or computer right now, for example, you would probably remember it for the rest of your life.

"It's useful to take advantage of that aspect of our minds,' says Santos. 'Turn make it useful for things we want to remember for example presentations, languages and names."

Re-sit your test:

Ask someone to create a list of 14 random words and utilise these techniques to see if you are now a memory superstar.