Why can't I remember any numbers?
January 19, 2007 10:46 AM Subscribe
How do I improve my memory for numbers?
posted by otherwordlyglow to Science & Nature (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have recently taken a job that involves lots of random statistics, mostly things like total square footages, budgets, cost per foot, rate of return...that sort of thing. I've always been pretty bad at remembering any number (how old am I again?) that doesn't have a contextual relationship to something else. I can remember dates pretty well and have an enormous capacity for seemingly random non-numerical trivia. I just can't remember numbers. I have noticed that if I write something down, as opposed to just hearing it or reading it, I'm sometimes better at remembering the number since I can "see" it in my head as I'm thinking about it.
I've noticed that some people I work with can rattle off any of these types of numbers I've mentioned with what seems like relative ease ("yes, that project was planned for 90,000 square feet and had a total budget then of $2.5 million"). It's not required that I be able to do this but it would sure make me look a lot better if, in the middle of some meeting, when someone asks me "how much did they say the budget was for construction?" I could answer it with something other than "I'll have to get back to you on that."
Is it just innate talent that allows some people to be better at remembering numerical data? Is there any hope that I can get better at it?