Syllable Stacks

Do you find you forget part of a phone number you just looked up before you’re able to finish dialing?

The working memory processes of your brain are responsible for your ability to remember that phone number long enough in order to dial it.

This “working memory”, described as the scratch pad for your brain, is responsible for your very short-term memory. A person’s name, phone number, or other relevant information is kept in your working memory just long enough (less than a minute) to either use it or store it.

Working memory, for example, enables you to keep the first half of a sentence in mind long enough so that the whole sentence will make sense to you when you reach the end.

The brain’s working memory processes are a key brain training target because they contribute to many facets of more complex behaviours.

Syllable Stacks is a brain memory exercise to sharpen your working memory where you listen and repeat a series of syllables in order. The exercise:

  • Is considered a “serial memory-span” exercise.
  • Requires the brain to remember more and more pieces of information in order to sharpen the working memory with which you can improve your memory.
  • Shares information that gets more and more similar to confuse the brain.
  • Increases the number of syllables you hear up from two as you improve at the task.
  • Gives your brain less and less time to record each syllable by sharing them closer and closer together.
  • Gradually transitions from highly processed speech that is slow, to faster than normal speech.
  • Includes distractors that don’t actually represent any of the sounds you hear.

You might wonder, as you complete the exercises, why particular syllables have been included in Syllable Stacks by our scientists. Common English sound combinations were chosen and specially processed to help sharpen your brain’s representation of each individual sound. The same syllables have been selected for the Syllable Stack exercise as were used in the Memory Grid exercise. You can learn more about how these syllables were processed and why they were selected by visiting the Memory Grid page.


This exercise, as you may have noticed, is one of many BrainHQ exercises that targets your brain’s auditory processing. We have developed memory exercises that exercise your listening at all levels including:

We have developed this wide variety of auditory processing focused brain exercises beacuse a strong memory and other cognitive skills need to sharpen its neurons from the bottom up. From the “low” level neurons that process frequency sweeps up through the “higher” level neurons that process the meaning of conversations, brain fitness requires that the whole system work as faultlessly as possible!