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RE: RE: How do our brains work?

by motomuse (Sexton)
on Oct 19, 2000 at 03:17 UTC ( #37441=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to RE: How do our brains work?
in thread How do our brains work?

> Not only that, but we are conditioned to learn the alphabet forwards.

There was a schoolyard folklore when I was a kid, that if you ever successfully repeated the alphabet backwards, The Devil(tm) would appear... or was that the Lord's Prayer?

> When we remember phone numbers, like 888-555-6473, we practice the pattern in sequence.

"Me too, I ate one sour too." - Fat Freddy

The phone numbers I remember best, I don't store as a sequence of numbers, but rather as the pattern on the keypad. Strange, no?

   - Muse (who is always reminded of San Antonio when she smells acacia)

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(jcwren) RE: (3) How do our brains work?
by jcwren (Prior) on Oct 19, 2000 at 16:50 UTC
    The telephone company (the *real* telephone company, before that Communist b******d, judge Harold H. Greene, got his politically motivated mitts on it) spent a fair amount of money determing how people remembered phone numbers.

    Back in the days of rotary phones (I doubt but a few of you are old enough to have used them. Perhaps you've seen them in museums and such), when phone numbers were shorter, they used a couple of letters, and the digits, like 'BR-549', or some acronym for the letters ('Slick Willy-666' for SW-666).

    When semi-modern (non-VoIP) phones (ones with DTMF pads) were developed, and a standard length number format was settled on, they spent much more money learning that people grouped digits to remember them, and the 3/3/4 method of expressing a phone number came about. Along with this study came the layout of the dialing pad itself, with 1 at the top left. This came out slightly ahead of another possible payout, more like a common calculator would later use. It was determined that for the purposes of remembering the numbers, the TL1 (TopLeft1) layout aided memory better than then the BL1 (BottomLeft1) layout.

    For some reason, the Europeans never took this to heart. Since it was a lot harder to get various countries, each with their own switching equipment ranging from pre-crossbar-1A systems up to the latest switches, to all upgrade together, the European phone numbers range from 4 to 13 digits, sometimes even within the same country. Imagine trying to work with that...

    --Chris

    e-mail jcwren
      Why, you young whippersnapper! Keypads? Dials? Faugh! When I was a girl, you had to thwack the cradle a few times and tell the operator where to switch you!

      Actually, no, I'm not that old, but I do remember the rotary dial phone, as well as the trick that you could (still can, I guess) pulse the cradle button manually to dial a number.

      But you left out one (probably trivial, but cool nonetheless) detail: those "two letters" you mention were called the "exchange", and were actually leftover from the manual switching days, where you'd tell the operator, "Essex Five Two Four Eight Oh, please." Or "Olympic Two Nine Nine Eight Six." Or some such. And the phone books listed them so: "OLympic 2-9986." In these days of cell and pager numbers eating up the availables, so that new areacodes have to be invented to keep up, not to mention the ability to pick your own number so as to make a memorable text, this doesn't mean as much, but in those days, your exchange was unique to your city and neighborhood. When you left the neighborhood, you couldn't have the same exchange.

      This moment of daily nostalgia brought to you by
         - Muse (lifelong resident of the THornwall exchange)

        I love giving out my phone number as "PArkview 5-6643". Makes for interesting business cards too. Though a lot of prefixes in the city no longer correspond to older-style named exchanges. That usually doesn't stop one from making them up, though.

      For some reason, I have the tune of Transylvania 6-5000 in my head... :)

RE: RE: RE: How do our brains work?
by japhy (Canon) on Oct 19, 2000 at 16:19 UTC
    My sister noticed that one of her beauty creams has acacia in it. That's cool. My fraternity gets around. ;)

    As for phone numbers, it depends. I've been able to memorize serial numbers on money and credit card numbers and driver's license numbers by finding patterns. I do that for some phone numbers too, but I especially like it when the phone number offers a visual pattern on the keys. This is made far simpler by the fact that the keys are in a square (and then 0, of course), unlike the numbers at the top of your keyboard, which are in a single row.

    $_="goto+F.print+chop;\n=yhpaj";F1:eval

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