Thursday, March 1, 2012

Memory--Two Important Factors

by Richard Crews
Factor one: ASSOCIATIONS--When you look at something you want to remember, you have to try to hear a sound, and feel some touch sensations, and smell and taste things that might be associated with it. This includes thinking of rhymes, silly pictures, past events, etc. that you can associate--even remotely, even ludicrously--with it.

Factor two: PRACTICE--One needs to practice making up associations over, and over, and over again--all day long--with every impression or sensory input that comes along, however small. Throughout our lives we have learned ways of learning and remembering things; mostly we have learned these ways inadvertently. We have to learn new ways, better ways, ways that better fit and make use of our neuronal tools. But we can only learn new ways so that they are useful and replace the old ways through practice, practice, practice.

Note: You can't overwhelm your memory capacity. Some people remember thousands of names and faces (and bios) effortlessly. Musicians remember hundreds of thousands of note sequences without consciously trying. Kim Peek memorized thousands of books--word for word, page after page, idea after idea. Some college kid memorized 22,000 digits of pi. You simply can't "use up" your available memory.

So the game is, practice this every moment you can talk yourself into--until it becomes second nature--until it replaces, by habit, the methods you have learned and used inadvertently all your life.