Make mistakes on purpose – it can dramatically boost your performance

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“Deliberate erring” offers a surprising but effective way to enhance your memory and improve how you perform in many unexpected areas of life, says David Robson



Humans


| Columnist

9 March 2022

Child breaking an egg into a bowl, accidentally making a mess in the process. Space for copy.

Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

A man of genius makes no mistakes,” James Joyce wrote 100 years ago. “His errors are volitional and portals to discovery.”

Most people with good sense would accept that we can and should learn from accidental failures. It would be impossible to progress in anything, after all, without taking the odd misstep, and by understanding how we tripped up, we can avoid stumbling in the future.

Few would advocate making intentional mistakes, however. Yet a pair of fascinating new studies have shown that this may be the best way to learn new information. Consciously blundering, even when you know …

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