Some things are better off burned to memory, rather than having to look them up. Phone numbers, bank accounts, PINs, birthdays, anniversaries – even the name of your boss’ spouse. Eidetic (free) is an iPhone app that can help you remember anything you want.
Eidetic uses the concept of spaced repetition to hammer anything you want into your memory, and looks great doing it. The app is free provided you want to learn one thing at a time, but if you want more you will have to upgrade to pro for $2.99.
What Is Spaced Repetition?
Saikat has explained the concept of spaced repetition in detail, so here’s a quick summary. In essence, spaced repetition revolves around the idea that if you want to remember something, you need to be revising it on a periodic basis. Do it enough times and it will be committed to your memory.
This is the basic concept that is used in some of the best flash card apps for Android and similar software. Eidetic packages it into a great-looking interface for the iPhone, with a bit of text-to-speech thrown in for good measure.
Speech vs. Text
There is an interesting study carried out by Carnegie Mellon University which states that reading and listening activate different parts of the brain, and in turn, different parts of the memory. And depending on what kind of person you are, you will remember that type of message better.
The study doesn’t attempt to suggest that one means of delivering information is better than another. Is comprehension better in listening or in reading? It depends on the person, the content of the text, and the purpose of the comprehension. Some people are more skilled at one form of comprehension and typically exercise a preference where possible.
Try to think: do you remember a lot of dialogues you heard in movies or lyrics you heard in songs, over passages you read in books or online? Perhaps listening helps you more than reading; perhaps not. The point is to figure out what works for you. Eidetic gives you that choice.
Testing Memory With Eidetic
After using Eidetic for over a week, I’m pleased to report that it has the desired effect. Pieces of information I had trouble recalling earlier are now firmly in my memory. First, you choose to input a new element to remember. Your choices are Dictionary (it has a built-in dictionary to tell you the meaning of any word you want to remember), Phone number (connects with your phone book), Fact, Number, List, Quote, and Note. Write a title and what it is you would like to remember and you’re good to go.
Pro Tip: After using it, I realised that the “Title” is what the phone will flash when you need to test your memory, so it’s best to phrase it in the form of a question. For instance, don’t make the title “ATM PIN”, make it “What is my ATM PIN?”
Every once in a while, Eidetic will send you a notification to quiz you on your memory. Key in the right words enough times and you will pass the test. You can check out your progress at any time, and even dismiss it.
If you get it wrong, you can choose to hear the answer or see it, depending on what works better for you. The iPhone’s in-built text-to-speech engine reads aloud the text you have keyed in. Eidetic allows users to also set a “Do Not Disturb” time period, so that you don’t get notifications to test your memory when you’re asleep or in a meeting.
You can also set how quickly you need to remember the piece of information. “Cram” mode for a single day, “Normal” for 2 weeks and “Casual” for a month. There are two other options, but to be honest, they haven’t been useful for me. Eidetic lets you connect to Evernote and save your notes and lists there, if that’s something you want.
There’s also a “Quick Add” option with presets for the time, frequency and other things, but again, I preferred to add items manually each time. Eidetic is not an app you use so often that a “Quick Add” is needed, and your need to remember an item will change depending upon the item.
Is Eidetic For You?
Overall, Eidetic works well and since it’s free, probably worth trying out if you’re looking for a memory booster. To use it for more than one item, you will need to pay that $2.99. Whether that is worth it depends on how often you forget things. For me, $3 to actually start remembering things that matter is a no-brainer given my lapses in memory.
If you forget birthdays, anniversaries, names and other such things that affect your life and of those around you, buy it, you won’t regret it.
Download: Eidetic for iOS (free, universal)