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RE: How do our brains work?

by isotope (Chaplain)
on Oct 17, 2000 at 21:46 UTC ( #37200=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to How do our brains work?

Just another thought... our brains don't just store strings, or numbers, but also video, audio, all the other senses, and abstracts (feelings, moods). I think the data structure would be more like a three-dimensional mesh, with various processes (dreams, for example) dancing around creating new interconnections between elements.
What I don't understand so well is how I can read a chapter of a book very slowly and methodically and not remember much more than vague ideas 10 minutes later, but if I speed-read the same amount of text (about 10 pages per minute), I actually retain much more of it (short term, anyway -- I did it all the time for a particular class that required a lot of outside reading for in-class discussion).


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RE: RE: How do our brains work?
by extremely (Priest) on Oct 18, 2000 at 04:51 UTC
    Dreams do more than add new connections. They use older patterns to reinforce newly learned behavior. Part of how you remember and learn, especially procedural memory, is repetition. Plenty of studies exist showing that you need to repeat things to get it to stick. Thus the make-you-do-it-over-and-over nature of some school work, the chanting of product names in 15 second commercials and more. The average number of repetitions needed to get you to stick it in longer term memory? _9_

    The things that have been shown to get the same results with fewer repetitions? Humor can cut the number to 6ish, eating while learning, can cut the number to 5ish (thus primetime, just after people have eaten, and newstime, as they are eating are 1-2 in ad dollars, with number 3 being morning before drivetime, breakfast. It isn't just that you are in front of the TV, you are more vulnerable while eating.), pain can cut the number to 1 =), dreaming can cut the number to 3. Bedtime stories are among the best remembered stories in the world.

    The problem with reading slow vs. speed reading is one of focus, when going slow and thinking, your thoughts on the matter get muddled in with the facts. OTOH, conclusions you come to while reading slow will still be with you long after the facts have drained away, change your strategy based on what you need, the lesson or the facts.

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RE: RE: How do our brains work?
by turnstep (Parson) on Oct 17, 2000 at 22:40 UTC

    Actually, dreaming would be more analagous to a garbage-collection routine, as it throws out unused variables from Memory::ShortTerm and moves some to Memory::LongTerm.

      Aside from the garbage collection, I do notice that my dreams help me create strong relationships between data. One of my study strategies was to read through all my notes and coursework one time right before going to sleep. I would dream about the information, and when I awoke, I had a very thorough understanding of it. It worked great for classes where the professor tested us on *everything*.

      Actually dreaming would appear to be far more complex than that. Try this for some interesting thoughts.

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