How Escape Rooms Exercise Your Memory

Picture this: you’re playing an escape room and you find something that looks like it’s missing a half, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it. Later in the game, you find another half and you remember that you found the first one later on. It seems quite simple, but just how did you remember that?

When you are playing an escape room, you are using your working memory. The prefrontal cortex is the area in the brain that helps you retain task-relevant information while exercising working memory. Your working memory:


  • Is the type of memory that is active and relevant only for a short period of time, usually on the scale of seconds to minutes. It is a part of the process your brain uses to determine whether you will need the information acquired for a long period of time or short period of time.


  • Is where your brain determines that the things you see and hear in the escape room are for short-term memory purposes.


  • Helps you to remember different codes that you have to try on locks, words of a clue you might have just read, or missing shapes to a puzzle that needs to be solved. ​​


During your game, your working memory determines that you will not need the information you learned 20 years in the future, but you might need it in 5 minutes. So the memory moves from working to performance.

Your Short-term memory is triggered by rapid changes in electrical activity of the brain in the form of a reverberating circuit or a self exciting loop, as seen below:​

Studies have shown that as you exercise your working memory over time, it helps your cognitive ability and helps you maintain a healthy brain. The way you can “train” your working memory is by doing interactive exercises each day….such as an escape room! What better way to keep your working and short term memory strong than by playing an escape room every once in a while? It might make your short term memory so good that you’ll remember the color of the fourth word you read in this blog post without having to scroll back up….

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