Turn your environment into a real life Memory Palace, or Method of Loci.
Loci is a mobile phone application that turns your environment into a real life memory palace, helping you to learn and memorize in an active and multi-sensorial way. A memory palace is an ancient technique, taught today from the same anonymously authored text that Cicero used to teach rhetoric in Rome. Tried and true, the technique is a powerful way to learn and memorize. The method of loci is traditionally a mental technique, turned physical with Loci.
Titles, themes: Techniques: memory palace, journey method, or method of loci, more bradly "ars memorativa, or "art of memory"", Mnemosyne, goddess of memory, is Mother of the Muses, Memorization (often seen as antithesis to Dewey / experimental education) may also be an important tool in creativity.
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, 2011
a recent best seller and that has reignited some public interest in the memory palace technique (though as he explains, memory tricks and books are constantly in and out of self-help circles since the romans). Fun read, and a great intro to memory history / studies / theories and techniques. From NYTimes book review: " His narrative is smart and funny and, like the work of Dr. Oliver Sacks, it's informed by a humanism that enables its author to place the mysteries of the brain within a larger philosophical and cultural context." so true. . . . http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/books/08book.html?pagewanted=all It is a memoir or Foer's own foray into the practice: the story of how he set an American memory record and became the reigning US Memory champion in just a year of learning the methods, and the characters he met along the way Joshua Foer's original Slate article, as he discovered Memory Championships: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/2005/03/forget_me_not.html
-The Art of Memory by Frances Yates, 2011: covers the history in greater detail especially through the Renaissance and Giordano Bruno and Guilio Camilo, both very interesting characters, and it really good so far.
-In Search of Memory by Eric R. Kandel, 2006: Kendel was a winner of the nobel prize for his research on the formation of short and long term memory in the brain, on the level of the neuron, the fundamental unit / cell of brain function, and neuron networks. Paul recommended this book to me, and it was a really beautifully written book about the mind. It was slightly too technical and too involved in Kandel's personal biography to be totally relevant, but I couldn't stop reading it because it was very educational on the history of scientific understanding of the brain and memory, and also very moving and telling in terms of our person relationships with our memories, and the endless quest to understand our brain. It also contained endless amounts of important life lessons. But I did gain a much better understanding of how spatial perception is engaged and used in memory recollection and memory formation. This is the key to the memory palace technique, and it was surprising and reassuring to read about scientific experiments that discovered a similar correlation between memory and the experience of space.
-David Eagleman, the Possibilian on Time Perception and Memory:
NewYorker article that I love on Memory and the perception of time about David Eagleman, who does a lot of interesting talks and writing on memory, time perception, and the brain in general: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/04/25/110425fa_fact_bilger a broader scope on topics: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/2187/full
-NYTimes: A Brain Unit Seen as Index for Recalling Memories
The trajectory from internal to external memory, is connected with the invention of the INDEX in printed books, and eventually with the hyperlink model. This article discusses the idea of memory formation as a sort of indexing process: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/09/24/science/a-brain-unit-seen-as-index-for-recalling-memories.html?pagewanted=all And this is connected to other things happening as a result of media culture, from mobile technology making the urban experience "perceived as hyperlinks" to the way are brains are being redesigned. This article is a nice summary of critical discussion started by Nicholas Carr's article in the Atalntic entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" that was since expanded into the Shallows: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/aug/15/internet-brain-neuroscience-debate Carr argues that are brains are physically being reshaped. Steven Pinker, Harvard, openly dismisses this idea. This is interesting :"Understanding the design principles of the plastic reading brain highlights the dilemma we face with our children. It begins with the simple fact that we human beings were never born to read. Depending on several factors, the brain rearranges critical areas in vision, language and cognition in order to read. Which circuit parts are used depends on factors like the writing system (eg English v Chinese); the formation (eg how well the child is taught); and the medium (eg a sign, a book, the internet). For example, the Chinese reading brain requires more cortical areas involved in visual memory than the English reader because of the thousands of characters. In its formation, the circuit utilizes fairly basic processes to decode and, with time and cognitive effort, learns to incorporate "deep reading processes" into the expert reading circuit." quote from Maryanne Wolf Carr's original article: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/
- Koran memorization movie: to me this is the bad side of memorization. It was a touching movie, and indeed some of the kids did gain a context for learning through rote memorizing, but overall there was not anything interesting in the way they approached it with the exception of tajweed, the system by which proper pronunciation is remembered and judged. Though this isn't all that relevant.
Piotr Wazniak and SuperMemo
Piotr Wazniak, who developed SuperMemo in the 80s. The system focuses on the optimal time to repeat (repetition being key to solidifying new memories) something learned - which is right before it is forgotten. It is relevant that the fact that he was described as "a nearly naked jogger" was one of the things I remembered from the article, which I read YEARS ago, and the only mnemonic I had to search for it. . . . so it served as a mnemonic device by the author. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/16-05/ff_wozniak?currentPage=all http://www.supermemo.com/ http://www.brainscape.com/marketing/research.html (a similar program it seems)
Ed Cooke's memrise system: http://www.memrise.com/welcome/: Ed Cooke is Foer's teacher in the book, a young Memory champion, or Mental Athlete, MA, from England, who is a very interesting character in the book. He has great insight into memory, and has a very idealistic dream to reform western education. His startup: memrise, uses a SuperMemo type system to encourage proper repetition for memorization.
Mark Twain Memory Game: While writing HuckFin, Twain, who was an avid student of a memory Guru of the time, developed and tried to market a game that would help you remember anything. It is really similar to what I'm trying to do, but was a paper based game.
These last three learning games / systems are directly related to what I am trying to do in their function: Mark Twain created a game that mapped the length of the reigns of english monarchs onto a road by his house. He tried to sell the game to be one that would help you learn anything. Ed Cooke a "mental athlete" and elite memorizer who uses the method of loci has an online learning platform that is more about the SuperMemo learning point: that we plant "seeds" of knowledge and need repetition to "grow" the memory. . . So it is more time focused. SuperMemo is the same, a very outdated 80s, but important, algorithmic system that determines optimal repetition time (when you are just about to forget something) based on the average exponential forgetting curve and user feedback. Giulio Camillo - "Divine Camillo" or "the Quack", tried to build a real memory palace "Theater of Memory", where all of knowledge could be represented by images, and filed away in specific places or placed around the walls of he palace. He had important painters of the day working on it, and had funding from the King, but it was never completed.
The Science of Memory / How they are Formed:
Brain patterns and parts:
Hippocampus (front brain) makes memories stick, but they actually exist in the Neocortex, over time being solidified there through a network of nodes and connections, a neural net system, that allows them to exist without the hippocampus (EP's old old memories) 2000 Eleanor Maguire (Univ. college London neuroscience) MRI scanned cab drivers ,right posterior hippocampus, used in spatial navigation, was 7% larger than normal. Their brains were physically altered by all of the "way finding" Mental athletes had same brain in fMRI results as normal people, but using different parts: visual memory and spatial navigation (right posterior hippocampus)***memrise uses visual memory, i will be using spatial navigation, but i need to make sure not to allow the phone to overshadow those senses and mental task by overprescribing the route. Our memories are like S's, a famous synesthetic psych. patient, memories are associations with one another, neural networks. A memory is a series of connections between these neurons, reinforced by repetition, fading with the exponential curve when not enforced (See SuperMemo). Memories exist physically, physically altering the brain. "If thinking about the word "coffee" makes you think about the color black and also about breakfast and the taste of bitterness, that's a function of a cascade of electrical impulses rocketing around a real physical pathway inside your brain, which links a set of neurons that encode the concept of coffee with others containing the concepts of blackness, breakfast, and bitterness. That much scientists know. . . . The nonlinear associative nature of our brains makes it impossible for us to consciously search our memories in an orderly way. A memory only pops directly into consciousness if it is cued by some other thought or perception - some other node the nearly limitless interconnected web. " - (486-98) - Foer This is why a MEMORY PALACE: The memory palace provides the guide through associated memory storage. Otherwise retrieving information is very difficult (this is mentioned elsewhere in associations) but with a path the web becomes navigate-able. Way Finding is something we are able to remember, therefore, we create a physical system for finding our way through our memories.
"Baker/baker paradox" - a researcher shows a group a face (photo), tells one group his name is Baker, the other that he IS a baker. A couple days later, the people told the profession are much more likely to remember. "When you hear that the man in the photo is a baker, that fact gets embedded in a whole network of ideas about what it means to be a baker: He cooks bread , he wears a big white hat, he smells good when he comes home from work. The name Baker on the other hand, is tethered only to a memory of the person's face. That link is tenuous and should it dissolve, the name will float off irretrievably into the netherworld of lost memories. (When a world feels like it's stuck on the tip of the tongue, tits likely because we're accessing only part of the neural network that "contains" the idea, not not all of it.) But when it comes to the man's profession, there are multiple strings to reel the memory back in. Even if you don't at first remember that the man is a baker, perhaps you get some vague sense of breadiness about him, or see some association between his face and big white hat, . . . ." - Foer Ribot's Law, after French 19th cent psychologist, "that our memories are not static. Somehow, as memories age, their complexion changes. Each time we think about a memory, we integrate it more deeply into our web of other memories and therefore make it more stable and less likely to be dislodged. ***See superMemo, Wozniak, also we can change them over time through this process. Memories change with the brain that stores them Freud: older memories are often remembered as if captured through a camera, recent events tend to be remembered int eh first person Early childhood education (before 4) is almost entirely implicit, the neocortex is not yet fully developed to store memories, that is why we forget on average everything before 3/5 yrs old
Historical view of Memory as an Art
5th century BC: Somonides of Ceos (Greek poet) "had stood to deliver an ode in celebration of Scopas, a Thessalian nobleman." when he went out to receive a message, "the roof of the banquet hall collapsed i a thundering plume of marble shards and dust. He sealed his senses to the chaos around him and reversed time in his mind. The piles of marble returned to pillars and the scattered frieze fragments reassembled in the air above. The stoneware scattered in the debris re-formed into bowls. The splinters of the . . . . . Simonides caught a glimpse of each of the banquet guests at his seat, carrying on oblivious to the impending catastrophe. He saw Scopas laughing at the head of the table, a fellow poet sitting across from him sponging up the remnants of his meal with a piece of brea, a nobleman smirking. He turned to the window and saw the messengers approaching, as if with some important news. Simoides opened his eyes. He took each of the hysterical relatives by the hand and carefully stepping over the debris, guided them, one by one to the spots in the rubble where their loved ones had been sitting. At that moment, according the the legend, the art of memory was born."
first described in an anonymously authored Rhetorica ad Herrennium, 86 to 82BC - still modern MA's bible distinguishes natural and artificial memory. natural is embedded, born with thought. artificial comes from training and discipline artificial memory has 2 parts: images and places (loci). images are what one wishes to remember and places are where those images are stored.
learn how little of an image you need to remember it,t he rest will follow, focus on a small part as a key to the image to speed up remembering with a passing glance of the image - use an image KEY (Ed cooke - girlfriend's smile for example as a key to girlfriend)
Classical education included memory art along rhetoric, logic, grammar as a LANGUAGE ART Romans like Cicero and Quinilian wrote manuals Romans used to memorize speeches Romans: orators : memory and proper retention and ordering of knowledge is vital for invention of new ideas. People used to read differently: to ingest the pieces of self that would last and reference a lifetime. Do we now just do this more? This reminds me of the soviet situation of my parents. Books were as coveted as in the early days of the press. People memorized poems to make Samizdat and to recite at gatherings. Memorizing was a big part of my early childhood education, and my parents still talk about their deep gratitude to certain western books that they took great pains to acquire, sometimes a chapter or a passage at a time. My dad has a notebook with glued pieces of a book it obviously took him years to acquire. That book is embedded in his memory and therefore sense of self like nothing I can relate to. "People used to labor to furnish their minds. They invested in the acquisition of memories the same way we invest int eh acquisition of things. But today, . . . . the vast majority of us don't trust our memories. We find shortcuts to avoid relying on them." - ***There is an opportunity here for some kind of game mechanics, if I think about memory acquisition as acquisition of something valuable, and of pieces as some sort of gems, event though I kind of hate that. I find this comparison really interesting.
middle ages as a way for the pious to memorize prayer/sermon/religious facts Athenian statesman Themistocles, memorized 20,000 names of athenians medieval scholars memorized entire books
Today the characters in the book see themselves as researchers and saviors /guardians of a long forgotten art "Memories . . . could thus be stored by remembering some familiar environment, commonly a house with a series of rooms. . . and ‘placing' the items to be remembered in an appropriate sequence within the environment." Ad Herennium : "if we dress them with crowns or purple cloaks, for example, so that the likeness may be more distinct to us, or we somehow disfigure them, as by introducing one stained with blood or soiled with mud or smeared with red paint. . ." memories are easier to recall. [Rose, S. 1992. The Making of Memory: From Molecules to Mind. New York: Anchor Books.]
from https://files.nyu.edu/rr6/public/Representations.html but could be from anywhere
1870s, Hermann Ebbinghaus brings study of memory into the laboratory for the first time, discovers the memorization curve (see wired article).
Historical Trajectory of our Memory from Internal to External:
our brains are the same as prehistoric people, the only difference is memory. Memory makes us who we are. Not necessarily our own memories, but the pillars and skyscrapers of memory we have constructed externally in books and modern media in the past memory and the art of memory were a foundation of a worldly mind, a form of character building, developing virtue of prudence, ethics, memorizing to truly incorporate into psyche, the only way to truly absorb values. Existed to teach foundational texts and ideas. Romans: orators : memory and proper retention and ordering of knowledge is vital for invention of new ideas. 15th century: Gutenberg, press, mass-produced books at first they were just ways of aiding memory scriptio continua (no punctuation or spaces) is similar to the way we speak plato / socrates were suspicious of their effects on memory words were not separated for easy reading until 200BC all reading was done out-loud, tools for oration (St Augustine 4th century AD observed his teacher St Ambrose reading to himself w/o moving his tongue, and thought it was bizarre) - Foer
no punctuation meant text had to be learned before it could be performed punctuation, spacing lead to the ability to read quietly, less need to memorize, more value on the text itself. and finally and most importantly INDEXING lead to books becoming storage for memory . No need to memorize if you can look it up. 400bc, modern book
compilation of the bible - lead to one of the most indexed books in the way that it is read and perceived. today everything is indexed. the web is a giant index that hyperlinks all books and knowledge and interhyperlinks between them. ideas are in a web across books and people. the brain is so amazing because it is the ultimately indexed web. "not just the sheer volume of information it contains but the ease and efficiency with which it can find that information. It uses the greatest random-access indexing system ever invented - one that computer scientists haven't' come even close to replication. Whereas an index in the back of a book provides single address - a page number - for each important subject, each subject in the brain has hundreds if not thousands of addresses. Our internal memories are associational, not linear. " - Foer
by 19th century memory artists are treated as sideshows, eccentric people
It is now a huge fad and industry (old people doing puzzles, etc. huge industry financially) Tony Buzan leads the modern renaissance in memory training, has published hundreds of books on the topic. founded the world memory championship in 1991 and has since has established national ones all over the world. trying to start a global education revolution focusing on "learning how to learn", brain is like a muscle - "normal is not natural" - when it comes to memory decline with age. he is self-helpish and sometimes makes the ‘sport' look bad. he is a brilliant marketer, a self proclaimed creative genius. to him memory and creativity go hand in hand (as in latin and the past), an hour a day six days a week to do well in the national championship, " Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought." Carr Atlantic Article
also from that article: " In Technics and Civilization, the historian and cultural critic Lewis Mumford described how the clock "disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences." The "abstract framework of divided time" became "the point of reference for both action and thought."" Similarly Carr argues, with the help of Maryanne Wolf, the new style of hyperlinked "Stoccato" reading has altered the way we think. According to Wolf, reading is not innate like language, it is something we learn to do through associations with things we understand, imagery. Reading differently means thinking differently. Means being different.
today our gadgets make it unnecessary to remember numbers, to dos, and everything really, GPS makes it unnecessary to remember routes, photos, voice recorders, google, and contacts in our phones have eliminated the last of our memory tasks. **how does this effect perception of time ** how does this relate to our relationship to devices, vibrancy VS incorporation our memory is external: huge amounts of digital storage and recording of our lives, as well as our shared memory. ***See Bell - his lifelogging brings into focus the fact that we have completely outsourced our memories, since Socrates, into the written, the recorded, our gadgets, our online identities, our DATA, and insofar as we are our memories, as our selves and senses of selves rely heavily on our memories, we have in a sense expanded our sense of selves to include our texts, our web, our gadgets, and probably all of our crap.
Techniques for Memorization:
"The general idea with most memory techniques is to change whatever boring thing is being inputted into your memory into something that is so colorful, so exciting, and so different from anything you've seen before that you can't possibly forget it. . - Ed Cooke
". . . It is very important to remember this image multisensorily. The more associative hooks a new piece of information has, the more securely it gets embedded into the network of things you already know, and the more likely it is to remain in memory. " - Ed Cooke
Summary of Concepts relevant to my design thinking:
Memory is enhanced when linked to space Perception
Memory is Associative - neurons exist in a web, relative to each other, each memory is associated with others, the more other ones it is associated with, the stronger is the memory
Space Perception is something humans are EXTREMELY good at, memorizing paths, noticing details, constraints, and functions of spaces very quickly
Memorable Imagery fortifies memory formation
Ed's lecture: Performs visual memory test on high school students: shows extremely rapid series of images. Way too fast to remember. Then he asks them to choose which one they had seen out of two, they get all of them. Our visual memory is that amazing! This research has been done in the 1970s with ten thousand images , 80% success, and with 2500 images compared to very similar alternative images, 90% success, amazing!!!! Visual memory is extremely fast, and is stored immediately. Ed's technique for memorizing faces to names: associate the sound of first name with something you can clearly imagine, a vivid image that anchors your visual memory of their face to your visual memory of their name.
Emotion (as in method acting for example, or poem memorization by Corinna Draschl, locations 1830-42) is another sense that can be associated to
Music: the mozart effect http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/lerch1/edpsy/mozart_effect.html#The Mozart Effect Studies http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/arts/music/31thom.html?scp=6&sq=memory+time+perception+falling+science&st=nyt Synesthesia: Associations between different senses has similar effects. Famous memory champion and synesthete, S, studied by Luria, 1920s, Russia, reporter who could remember everything, and didn't realize it was strange. His memories didn't degrade, and he eventually lived a troubled life because he couldn't forget. He did not follow the standard exponential curve of forgetfulness. He could not understand abstract concepts or plutonics, because he had concrete literal visceral and physical representations associated with each word. His recollections of past events included excessive sensory perceptions - colors, space, mood, etc. Numbers had personalities. 7 a man with a mustache, 8 a stout woman, etc. ***these sort of associations are tools, along with imagery for words like the and and, that could be employed for mnemonics. "S kept his memories rigidly organized by mapping them onto structure and places he already knew well. . . . Luria: "Most often . . he would distribute' them along some roadway or street he visualized in his mind.""Foer
The memory palace provides the guide through associated memory storage. Otherwise retrieving information is very difficult (this is mentioned elsewhere in associations) but with a path the web becomes navigatable. ***See the Science of Memory - Associative nature memoria rerum (of things) and memoria verborum(of words), early on orators looked down on verborum as inefficient. Orators memorize points (things) and used more efficient imagery (Greek Cicero, Roman Quintilian) Cicero: "suggests tat an orator delivering a speech should make one image for each major topic he wants to cover, and place each of these images at a locus. Indeed the word "topic" comes from the greek word topos, or place. (The phrase "in the first place" is a vestige from the art of memory.)" In non verbatum memorization, as texts are handed down orally, eventually the most memorable version emmerges. ***I love the parallel here between this standardization over time (Foer mentions Homer and Ulisees, and the studies of how it became so great, and yet so memorable), and the standardization happening on the web (from the filter bubble, the shallows, the hyperlinks, and mostly the trending results.) the algorithms are based on the most likely saught answer, so this same kind of standardization is happening online, our current externalized brains.
Metrodorus, Cicero contemporary, developed a lexicon of shorhand images for conjunctions, articles, etc. It allowed him to memorize verbatim. It was widely used in Greece
Gunther Karsten uses this in poem competitions, but uses his own methods: and is a circle, locations 1807-19 on kindle)
Time and Repetition are also key to memory solidification: How memories are reinforced through time. The way they are formed, as described in the article on memory as index like structure http://www.nytimes.com/1991/09/24/science/a-brain-unit-seen-as-index-for-recalling-memories.html?pagewanted=all
memrise uses the idea of planting a seed and growing a seed to teach. . . very interesting as popularized (I think, in modern era) by the maker of SuperMemo in the 80s based on (long known - since late 1800s, German scientist named Hermann Ebbinghaus, Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology, 1885) findings that forgetfulness happens exponentially: it is steep at first but levels off. because of this spaced repetition is a popular concept, but Wazniak constructed algorithms for tracking these curves, that made a previously abstract notion into a tool for memorization : "To compute optimum intervals between repetitions, SuperMemo uses a sophisticated algorithm. Intervals are different for different students, for different repetition numbers, and for pieces of knowledge with different difficulty. In other words, intervals are adapted to individual learning capability of the student and the character of the mastered material." i can't believe i resurrected this article from the vaguest memory of a nearly naked jogger obsessed with memorization interval algorithms. . Piotr Wazniak, who developed SuperMemo in the early . it is relevant that the fact that he was a nearly naked jogger was one of the keys to solidifying the memory for me. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/16-05/ff_wozniak?currentPage=all
with very few exceptions, experiments in memory are filled with amazing characters, making this research so beautiful. . . "The reason the inventor of SuperMemo pursues extreme anonymity, asking me to conceal his exact location and shunning even casual recognition by users of his software, is not because he's paranoid or a misanthrope but because he wants to avoid random interruptions to a long-running experiment he's conducting on himself. Wozniak is a kind of algorithmic man. He's exploring what it's like to live in strict obedience to reason. On first encounter, he appears to be one of the happiest people I've ever met." The image below shows how superMemo works (see exponential curve, varies by person and item): "The people who criticize memorization — how happy would they be to spell out every letter of every word they read?" asks Robert Bjork, chair of UCLA's psychology department and one of the most eminent memory researchers. After all, Bjork notes, children learn to read whole words through intense practice, and every time we enter a new field we become children again. "You can't escape memorization," he says. "There is an initial process of learning the names of things. That's a stage we all go through. It's all the more important to go through it rapidly." The human brain is a marvel of associative processing, but in order to make associations, data must be loaded into memory. Once we drop the excuse that memorization is pointless, we're left with an interesting mystery. Much of the information does remain in our memory, though we cannot recall it. "To this day," Bjork says, "most people think about forgetting as decay, that memories are like footprints in the sand that gradually fade away. But that has been disproved by a lot of research. The memory appears to be gone because you can't recall it, but we can prove that it's still there. For instance, you can still recognize a ‘forgotten' item in a group. Yes, without continued use, things become inaccessible. But they are not gone.""
Chuncking - decrease the number of things you have to remember, to get closer to the number 7 for example, or like putting together long digits into chunks of two, or several cards into one image. Language is chunking. HEADSHOULDERS_KNEESTOES vs head, shoulders, knees, and toes.
Priming - HM and EP could do it: Unconcscious remmebering, "evidence of an entire shadowy underworld of memories lurking beneath the surface of our conscious reckoning."
Declarative and Non Declarative memories (also called explicit and implicit)
one you can say, like the color of your car, the other you can't like learning how to draw
"core of our personalities is bound up in implicit memories athat are off limits to our conscious brain".
Semantic memories - facts adn concepts, and episodic memories - memories of experiences
Episodic: time, space, sensory
Semantic: free floating pieces of knowledge
1960s: Paul Fitts and Michael Posner: 3 stages of skill acquisition: cognitive stage - intellectualizing associative stage - less concentrated more fluid autonomous stage - gotten as good as you need to get this is the plateau, but is actually not a limit. Bruce lee: there are no limits, only plateaus Ericson: "deliberate practice": focusing on technique, staying goal oriented, getting constant and immediate feedback how you practice is much more important than how much Practice Failing
type faster than you know you can try to do something, then see how an expert did it and think through the difference
Interesting People and Characters:
all of the memory buffs at these memory showdowns, Joshua Foer,Samule Gompers Vocational High School in the South Bronx, Raemon Matthews, history teacher, Tony Buzan desciple, brings his group of "talented tenth" to memory competitions. Forces all students to create giant elaborate mind maps of all of a US history text book, with images with the facts. turns facts into Images.Tony Buzan -lectures nine months of the year - a "guru" of memory, a self help type as descrbied by Foerwrites several books a year, designs his own clothes and furnitureinvented note taking technique of mind mapping and copywrited the word Mind Map
essentially a memory palace on paper.
memory is creativity (2786) - concept
from Foer, a quote of Buzan "The art and science of memory is about developing the capacity ato quickly create images that link disparate ideas. Creativity is the ability to form similar connections between disparate images and to create something new and hurl it into the future so it becomes a poem, or a building, or a dance, or a novel. Creativity is, in a sense, future memroy."
Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, was the mother of the Muses
has published nearly 120 books
has sold over $300 million in self help books, seminars, and teachings through his licensed teachers
Brainman documentary on British sevant Daniel Tammet - who Foer exposes as a fake.
VS Ramachandran, Univ. of California SD
Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge tested Daniel
Brainspace - Like SuperMemo: http://www.brainscape.com/marketing/research.html
Kim Peek, RainMan, best memory in the world, goes on a constant speaking tour for which he doesn't charge
Francis Yates - The art of Memory - the first major modern academic work to delve into the rich history of mneumonics
EP and Larry Squire (most forgetful Man and his psychologist)
Gordon Bell, Microsoft scientist, Total Recall: How E-Memory Revolution will Change Everything. Records everything w/ camera, SenseCam, audio recorder, phone tap, email stored, and has a search engine for it all. "lifelogging" - sees the future sensecam in glasses or retina and this type of logging as the future for memory. This has become a part of him. Most people consider themselves contained in their bodies - but we do have a peculiar relationship with our things. Especially our devices. *************************** this is where they get their vibrancy**************** "Most people assume that their self could not possibly extend beyond the boundaries of their epidermis into books, computers, a lifelog. But why should that be the case? Our memories, the essence of our selfhood, are actually bound up in a whole lot more than the neurons in our bran. At least as far back as Socrates's diatribe against writing, our memories have always extended beyond our brains and into other storage containers. "-Foer
Ed Cooke: grand mastere from England, doesn't believe in photographic memory, is synical about Buzan and was Foer's teacher/coach. Founded Memrise: http://www.memrise.com/welcome/
Him and Lukas :"Ultimately, we are looking to rehabilitate Western education."
Ed's lecture: Performs visual memory test on high school students: shows extrememly rapid series of images. Way too fast to remember. Then he asks them to choose which one they had seen out of two, they get all of them. Our visual memory is that amazing!
""by remembering more, by providing more chronological landmarks, by making myself more aware of time's passage."" he is making his time slow down. . .*** see Eagleman also part of memrise: Iphone developer Mathias Dahlstrom http://flabbergasted.me/ - mobile memrise and other cool projects
Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab: http://bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu/
Robert "Bjork and his collaborator, Elizabeth Bjork (she is also a professor of psychology; the two have been married since 1969), were at work on a new theory of forgetting. Both were steeped in the history of laboratory research on memory, and one of their goals was to get to the bottom of the spacing effect. They were also curious about the paradoxical tendency of older memories to become stronger with the passage of time, while more recent memories faded. Their explanation involved an elegant model with deeply counterintuitive implications.
Long-term memory, the Bjorks said, can be characterized by two components, which they named retrieval strength and storage strength.Retrieval strength measures how likely you are to recall something right now, how close it is to the surface of your mind. Storage strength measures how deeply the memory is rooted. . . . . n other words, the harder you have to work to get the right answer, the more the answer is sealed in memory. Precisely those things that seem to signal we're learning well — easy performance on drills, fluency during a lesson, even the subjective feeling that we know something — are misleading when it comes to predicting whether we will remember it in the future."
"When he [Wozniak] encounters a passage that he thinks he'll need to remember, he marks it; then it goes into a pattern of spaced repetition, and the information it contains will stay in his brain indefinitely." - i like this as a basis maybe for the interaction with the app, just a map notepad of sorts . . . instead of designated paths and lessons .. . maybe "Extreme knowledge is not something for which he programs a computer but for which his computer is programming him."
"Philosopher William James once wrote that mental life is controlled by noticing." Foer - "What I had really trained my brain to do, as much as to memorize, was to be more mindful, and to pay attention to the world around me. Remembering can only happen if you decide to take notice."!!!!!
Bill clinton never forgets a name. - I didn't know that.
4 time us champ, scott hagwood uses luxury homes from architectural digest to store his memories. DR. Yip Swee Chooi, Malaysian champ, used his own body parts as loci to memoriese entire Oxford Chinese-English dictionary.
"Aboriginees use local topography to plot narratives"
8 Aboriginee ways of Learning:
"Aboriginal pedagogies are intensely ecological and place-based, being drawn from the living landscape within a framework of profound ancestral and personal relationships with place (Marker, 2006). Indigenous land-based pedagogy is affirmed by the work of place-based education researchers, with links between western place-responsive practice and the narrative pedagogies of Native Peoples clearly demonstrated" - http://8ways.wikispaces.com/Aboriginal+pedagogy+research+review
Giulio Camillo - "Divine Camillo" or "the Quack", tried to build a real memory palace "Theater of Memory". He did not finish, and wrote a book on it on his deathbed, but had funding from the king of France and had elaborate plans to create a palace with indexed imagery for all of knowledge and history.
K Anders Ericsson, Florida State University, author or "Exceptional Memorizers, Made, Not Born." - Expert on Experts - studied Foer during his experiment.
"experts process the enormous amounts of infirmation flowing through their sense in amore sophisticated ways. They can overcome on the the brains' most fundamental constraints: the number 7. (George Miller, 1956, the number 7, the number of words, numbers, we can store in our active memory, on average, plus or minus two, and they only stick around for a few seconds at most in the short term memory buffer produced by the "phonological loop", the little voice you hear inside your head.
best chess players don't seem to possess greater cognitive advantage, rather they have incredible memories of past games. Like Chicken Sexers, they tend to see / feel the right moves. Their eyetracking: dodged around the board faster than novice players, didn't focus on specific pieces, were getting in the whole and making intuitive decisions. Memorize entire boards at a glance: We don't remember facts, we remember things IN CONTEXT. during games engage frontal and parietal cortices of the brain, recalling from long-term memory. This is a case for MEMORY FOR INTELLIGENCE, MEMORY FOR COGNITIVE FUNCTION (seemingly at least, problem solving, etc.) this is like job experience, irreplaceable. "According to Erikson, what we call experticse is really just"vast amounts of knowledge, pattern-based retrieval, and planning mechanisms acquired over many years of experience in teh associated domain" In other words, a great memory isn't just a by-product of expertise; it is the essence of expertise."
Giordano Bruno, on the Shadow of Ideas, 1582, burned at the stake for heresy, memory as key to spiritual enlightenment, wheel device for turning words into images . . 2070-81 picture of one of his images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GiordanoBrunomnemonic.gif
Mark Twain: Mark Twain's Memory Builder: A Game for Acuiring and Retaining all Sorts of Facts and Dates. " 1883, mapped out lengths of english monarchs reigns using pegs along a road near his home.
Loisette - who developed Loisette System for memorization, a brilliant marketer, adn swindler to many, basically revived these techniques but sold them under his sytem. Mark Twain was a fad chaser and totally baught into it, spending lots of money on the education.
HM - Henry Molaison, and William Scoville - the surgeon who preformed his labotomy to help with epilepsy, accidentally removed his memory, and inadvertantly taught the world that memory can not be formed without the hippocampus.
Rando stuff about memory often mentioned:
ski watchers: WW2
chicken sexers: people trained (usually in a certain Japanese school) to distinguish the sex of several day old chicks (Chickens) by squeezing lightly on their stomachs, causing the colon to protrude, and recognizing a tiny concave or convex spot inside of it. Because this needs to be done very quickly, these people are highly trained and highly sought after. BY allowing the early elimination of male chicks, they revolutionized the chicken industry and lowered the price of eggs. But many of them can do two chicks at a time, and can make the judgement without any noticed judgment or cognitive thinking. They seem to just know because of the level of experience. This is expertise: Such a highly trained memory that it seems that you are acting on a feeling. "Chicken sexing is a delicate art, requiring Zen-Like concentration and a brain surgeon's dexterity."***this goes in my shit I didn't know about and can't believe category
**** KEY DIFFERENCE of this technique: MA's use memory palaces, then erase them for a week before the competition. THey refill these spaces with information with their mind. It is completely mental.