More Information About How Memory Works…

Memory skills

This will hopefull be of interest and will point you in the right directions for further development of your memory skills.

Researchers at Northwestern University in the states believe that we think with the same parts of the brain that we use to perceive objects, and that a vividly imagined scene or event can leave the same ‘brain trace’ as a real or experienced event.  We all know just how easy it is to remember experienced events, and if we recall that event on an even vaguely regular basis the result is that we will remember it. But what exactly is going on with remembering?


Well certain memories are just that – real engrained chemically strong bonds that operate at a purely subconscious level. Driving a car would be good example – or even talking. Talking and reading are interesting because they use iconic memory, and iconic recognition. It’s almost like the working memory of a car. Userable data is brought out of long term memory and into short term memory, and then used in whatever the task is required at the time. For example reading, each word is recognized as a whole, and translated into data, and then the word goes back into long term memory. This happens automatically but only because of years of practice. It has been found by researchers that children with speech difficulties also have memory problems, and this iconic memory may be the victim.

Researchers have also found that recognition is infinitely more powerful than simply recall alone. What we are doing with a memory ‘system’ is not recalling information in its tuest sense of the word. What we are doing is attaching an easily recognizable systematic key to ambiguous lists and items. As soon as you come across a word, it enables a recognition attachment to another object. That information alone should help you in the development of your own systems.

Having a good memory though could in the end save you time. An experiment was conducted in America between two sets of first graders – American and Chinese. In a timed test the Chinese children completed 3 times more problems than did the American children. It seems that the reason for rthis was that they repeat basic skills more often, which meant that they knew the answered to basic problems without needing to recalculate them each time. This frees up space in the brain for sorting through the other areas of the problem, which makes the brain overall more effective.

This principle is how a genius would think, as they would learn to apply solved problem from one area of life to another area with little thought. If you practice your memoery, some mnemonists suggest, you will find that you are able to encode and decode almost at a subconscious level – all information you hear, see or read. I have yet to meet the person for whom this is true.

Oh, and those 1st graders? By the third grade they were so way behind that they never caught up!

Merlyn Ross


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