If recall is a creative act, memory exercises should increase creativity


An experiment: Read from a book aloud, but don't look at the book while speaking. Try to commit a single sentence to memory. Speak it. Look back and check what you said. Move on to next sentence.

I was a little surprised at how badly I did at this, given that there was almost no delay between reading and reciting each sentence.

The errors I make are interesting:

Some sentences are much harder than others to regurgitate, even among sentences of the same length.

I have no doubt that this is a skill that can be learned.

The errors above are a demonstration that memory recall is an act of resynthesis, a creative act.

Therefore, practicing memory tasks such as this one should increase performance on other related creative tasks. In this case, assembling eloquent sentences in real-time.

At the very least, it's giving a larger pool of examples to resynthesize from. I don't think you get the same effect from reading: you don't need to retain the exact phrasing to retain the meaning, so specifics of phrasing can be discarded early in processing. Reading while looking at the page also will not work, as it does not require that act of creative recall. Read-and-recite makes sure the sample data gets run through the whole pipeline.

A similar visual exercise would be to copy an illustration in front of you, copying it in as large chunks as possible. This should help you draw creatively. I expect the errors would be very reminiscent of resynthesis.