Matt from 30Vanquish wrote that he's studied memory in the past and gotten quite a bit out of it, and he was kind enough to share some of his observations with us. Here's Matt -
So are you frustrated when you forget someone's phone number? Or when you forget one item to buy when you're at the grocery?
Well the reasons for forgetting aren't really forgetting.
It's more about interference.
The interference theory suggests that we are unable to remember memories, things, and events we encoded due to interference with other encoded memories, things, and events.
There are three types of interference:
-proactive - you can't retrieve new info because old encoded information interferes.
-retroactive - you can't retrieve old info because new encoded information interferes.
-output - you can't retrieve general info because specific encoded information interferes.
Proactive: When you can't quite remember the name of that new person you were introduced to because you met someone else that had a similar name a few days ago.
Retroactive: When you can't quite remember the name of that person you met a few days ago because you met someone else today that had a similar name.
Output: If you remember the person's name, then you don't recall exactly where it was.
If A is a new event and B is an older event,
Proactive: A cannot be recalled due to B.
Retroactive: B cannot be recalled due to A.
So this is the leading theory as to why some things are on the tip of our tongues when we want to recall the grocery list, the name of that person we just met, information for an exam, or a phone number.
So knowing this, there are ways to enhance the memory.
Have a good social life, with lots of laughter.
Have a good sleeping pattern.
Have a good diet with omega-3, fruits, vegetables.
Then there's the mnemonic devices.
- Chunking - This makes it easier to remember a phone number. Think of the number sequence 5-6-2-4 as 5,624.
- Visual Association - Maybe someone's name that starts with G and they have green eyes? Use the green eyes as a cue.
- Acronym - HOMES = the names of the US Great Lakes. (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior)
- Location - Think of where you put all your food when you've forgotten a grocery list.
Now that you understand interference and mnemonic devices, you'll be able to reduce the amount of forgetting in your life.
Last tip of the day: When you're studying for an exam, be a bit stressed, since it's known to help with memorizing things. However, the moment you're taking the exam, calm down. Stress during retrieval of the facts you studied over reduces performance.
Therefore, add a little stress when taking in the data.
Be stress free when retrieving the data.
Thanks Matt! Wow... some good insights. This one is quite dense - it's only 400 words, and there's a ton of information in here. I'd encourage you to give it another read-through if you didn't pick it all up, particularly the parts about forgetting due to interference.
Great post here, thanks Matt. You can find him at http://30vanquish.com/
I played cards for a few years, and I quite enjoyed it. I don't play any more, but sometimes a lesson I learned comes back to me.
There's one writer on poker I learned a tremendous amount from. His name's Mike Caro, and he was one of the first people taking serious interest in the psychology of poker. He wrote a famous book called "Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells", which is excellent and highly recommended. The basic premise is that people act strong when weak and weak when strong. So if you hear a very little sigh when someone is betting, almost like they're sad, then they've probably got a strong hand. If they're pushing the chips forwards with a little extra force when betting, they're probably bluffing.
This was all very fascinating to me, I loved learning that kind of thing. I'd recommend Caro's Book of Tells to anyone, regardless if you play cards or not. But he also has written quite a bit on self-psychology and discipline in poker. Today I recalled one of Caro's general principles:
Caro’s Threshold of Misery suggests that once you move beyond the maximum you expected you could lose, you stop feeling any more pain, and you’re in danger of damaging yourself further by making weak decisions.
For months I have been trying to remember. I try walking down familiar streets, and try entering stores that I seem to recognize somehow. But they are all dead ends. So I keep searching, all the while looking for something to spark my memory in the hope that something will help me remember my name.
My family tries to help. At first they simply tried repeating it over and over. But whenever they open their mouths, the sound goes out, like the silence that follows when you mute the TV. Its startling, and I end up looking around; the people in the room suddenly appearing without warning. Such a experience should be temporary, but in the end the silence persists for me. The sound simply cuts out, and my name is gone.
Lately it has gotten worse. Now my voice is lost to me as well. People say they can hear me fine, but when I speak it feels as if my ears are plugged with water, muffling my voice no matter how loud I scream. My throat tightens every time I do, and now I try not to speak at all. The effort is simply too painful, too isolating. The only solace I find is in a girl I have been talking to lately. She hasn't asked for my name, and does not ask me to speak.
I cannot remember when I first met her. I simply woke up one day, only to find her talking with my parents downstairs. She smiled and some part of me realized that there was something familiar about her. They said her name is Susan, and since then we have been inseparable. My parents don't mind, since her presence has been so beneficial to me. Together we look over old family albums, hoping it will help. Sometimes we look at the other side of the photos, only to realize that I cannot read one of the names of the back. If I didn't know what I looked like, I might struggle to think I exist at all.
It's hard for someone in my condition to not dwell on what I am going through. Distractions are very hard to come by, and despite all the new experiences I have been having, I still find myself plagued by questions. I went to the fairgrounds the other day, only to wonder where Susan came from. I sat on the steps of one of the attractions, listening to the sound of the rain and the machines, and began to question how any of this could be possible. How can someone lose so much, and yet have no way of explaining it?