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62

Yes, writing increases the modality and attention given to a piece of information. Increasing the effort and the ways that you have experienced a bit of information helps you encode that information better; this is Elaborative Encoding. More generally the more deeply you process a thing the more likely you are to properly encode the memory for future ...


33

As far as I recall, the "magic" of the number seven is that George Miller had to give a 1h-presentation while not having enough research on one particular topic to talk about this long. So he tried to connect unrelated lines of research, with the only connection between them being that they show cognitive limitations of similar magnitude ("7+/-2 items"). ...


29

I'm going to disagree with Ben here. My colleague Adam Putnam has spent several years researching whether it's best for memory to speak, write, or even think particular responses out loud. His research has continued to turn up no differences between these different modalities, despite what we know about transfer-appropriate processing and elaborative ...


28

Scientists studying the matter generally believe multitasking, and women's superiority at it, to be a myth. Men come out slightly better multitaskers than women but there's not really any meaningful difference. The way it's defined is critical though; it's being able to do two things that typically require focal attention at the exact same time. For ...


24

This is called the Tip of the Tongue phenomenon. People in a tip-of-the-tongue state can often recall one or more features of the target word, such as the first letter, its syllabic stress, and words similar in sound and/or meaning. Individuals report a feeling of being seized by the state, feeling something like mild anguish while searching for the word,...


20

One relevant study by Sparrow et al. (2011) that came out last year in Science was on the "Google effect": When subjects expected that they'd be able to have later access to information, their memory was poorer for it. We can extrapolate to smartphones -- if individuals know they have information at their fingertips, they don't need to worry so much about ...


18

There's lots of research out there on flash cards and they are a proven, effective study aid. Flash Cards work because of the "Forgetting Curve"; rehearsal and retrieval before you forget an item strengthens the memory before it decays allowing one to optimize encoding into LTM. The paper Optimising learning using flashcards: Spacing is more effective than ...


16

Short answer: Because areas of the brain needed for remembering are turned off during dreaming. Dream Amnesia: The process of converting perception into a memory construct that can be stored is called encoding, and is essentially the same during both wakefulness and sleep: That is, the same factors can hamper or promote successful encoding when awake or ...


15

I am not aware of any study that specifically addresses dream recall, but there is a growing literature about "memory reconsolidation" or "post-reactivation plasticity", the idea that memory reactivation (recall) can temporarily return a memory to a state of high fragility and susceptibility to interference, after which a process similar to consolidation ...


14

From an information processing perspective, I'd conjecture the following points: Many songs have lyrics that are difficult to decipher. If you can't decipher the words, then you wont be able to recall them. If you decipher alternate words, then this may reduce the degree to which the words have semantic meaning, and therefore the ease with which the lyrics ...


14

Taken from a purely practical viewpoint, there is a finite number of neurons in the brain, with a finite (though large) number of connections between them. As such, a brain can only contain a finite amount of information. The more that one attempts to learn, the more that the connections between neurons will get obscured as a single memory or idea becomes ...


14

Flash cards work for two main reasons: they serve as retrieval practice they force the student to space practice out Both of these reasons have been demonstrated to enhance learning. Retrieval practice, sometimes called the testing effect, has been shown by Roediger and colleagues to promote learning above and beyond additional study. For instance, in a ...


13

From my very brief skim of the field, it seems like the consensus is that savants have access to the kind of low-level information processing which non-savants do not. I'll summarize one such theory in some detail, since it's the one that I've happened to read. But I'm not an expert in this field and this is just one of the theories, the rest of which I ...


13

According to current models of human concept learning, the answer to your question is both. Think of a simplified domain in which every object consists of only several features, and therefore can be visualized as a point in some multidimensional feature space. For example, the features that define objects might be its size, shape, color, and weight. ...


13

Current evidence suggests that internet access is not weakening memory, but changing what information is prioritized. This study referenced below suggests that when people expect to have future access to information, they are less likely to remember the information itself and more likely to remember where or how that information can be found. Google ...


12

Sure. For example, working memory can be assessed using the delayed match to sample task. Here are examples from monkeys, rats, pigeons, and bees. The problem with comparing them is that the actual stimuli used for each species are different (e.g. odors for bees, shapes for monkeys) and this is known to affect the results. In humans, if you run similar ...


12

The most relevant term would be Ironic Processing. Ironic processing is the psychological process whereby an individual's deliberate attempts to suppress or avoid certain thoughts (thought suppression) render those thoughts more persistent. This is a result of a failure of Thought Suppression or more generally Motivated Forgetting. It appears Thought ...


12

This is a very simple question with no single answer, I'm afraid. The other classic paper quoted in this context is Miller's "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two" (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two). In the case of a user using a website, memory will also be affected by: Familiarity with the subject. Is ...


12

Literal IQ: In a literal sense, IQ is a standardised score derived from intelligence tests. Typically IQ is scaled to have a a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. In that sense, it is a normative score. For children, the norm is defined relative to other children of a similar age, for adults, it is defined relative to an adult population. IQ as g: ...


12

It seems that the jury is still out on whether there is an effective and ethical way to prevent PTSD. Donovan (2010) states that there isn't enough strong evidence on its efficacy. Another point it makes (on page 11) is that... Using any beta-blocker prior to combat to prevent PTSD in military personnel should not be considered, as it would likely be ...


11

There's a general discussion of speed reading methods on Wikipedia, but let's look at some specific articles and see what they say about reading speed and comprehension. Bell's review of the reading speed and comprehension literature In Bell's (2001) review of the empirical literature, he makes a number of points, which seem reasonable to me: A few ...


11

I'm not familiar with the paper Ofri cites, but will agree with the OP that recognition is generally considered to be an easier task than recollection, and successful recognition considered weaker evidence for any particular memory phenomenon. One common explanation is that recognition can manifest psychologically simply as a result of the increased ...


11

It is not. At least not always: In this famous experiment Tulving and Thomson show that under certain circumstances recall can be better than recognition. It seems that the reason why recognition is usually more accurate than recall, is the context. Usually, the context in the recognition test is very similar to the conditions in the learning phase - the ...


11

Most others have already pointed to some great papers on this and the fact that the literature has moved on from these claims now (as usual, 'bold' claims so often end up being false), but there's a great and very recent review on visual memory by Brady etal (2011) that gives a great deal of detail and is available via open access online here : To quote the ...


11

It's possible to instill a false memory, even a traumatic one, in an adult. Children have been known to be more susceptible to suggestion since the 19th century (Binet, 1900, 1905). Here are some example references of memory implantation: Porter, S., Yuille, J. C., & Lehman, D. R. (1999). The nature of real, implanted, and fabricated memories for ...


11

The question which of these two descriptions is correct? is perhaps natural in the context of, say, someone studying for an examination. Epistemologists might suggest that a better formulation would be is either of these correct? However, as stated here there are clear reasons for preferring the first formulation to the second. I shall first explain why, ...


11

Narrative psychology is probably the go-to domain of research and theory for questions about the power and popularity of stories. Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia page (with added emphasis): Narrative psychology is...concerned with the "storied nature of human conduct" [(Sarbin, 1986)] or...how human[s]...deal with experience by constructing stories ...


11

Very many references may easily be found with a Google search for "mathematical model memory". Probably the most classic and iconic reference is Atkinson and Shiffrin (1965), which is also described on Wikipedia. Its three components and their relationships are nicely encapsulated in this figure: Many other, lesser-known mathematical models of memory exist, ...


11

The answer to your question is yes, our memories are very malleable. Look into the research of Elizabeth Loftus. She is kind of the pioneer on this topic and has done a ton of research into false memories. Here is a TED talk by her that you might find interesting and here is a review article


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