Each skill in this course will be linked to a visual base image in accordance with Pestalozzi’s principles. Articles without imagery constitute knowledge not skills requiring understanding not memorisation.

Improve working memory and you can  expect a boost in productivity and performance at every level of education  and training across every subject


Let me introduce   Henry Moliason   or HM  . 

HM underwent surgery  on  September 1  1953 ,   a time of pre-evidence based medicine . Yes, as late as 53 frontier medicine was still being practiced . 

Coincidentally 53 was also the around the time  when a report linking smoking  to cancer was released . It took 50 years and 117 cases before big tobacco was successfully prosecuted .  

To correct epileptic seizures a surgeon called William Scoville proposed  and carried out the removal of  medial temporal lobes .Including two seahorse structures  present in both hemispheres  . Together they are called the hippocampus . 

Looking at the brain side on , the hippocampus are  more or less  at the center of the maze . 

The seizures stopped  but the removal of the medial temporal lobes and hippocampus  robbed HM of the  ability to consolidate memory out of short term memory into medium and long term memory . 


HM  retained prior knowledge and could perform above average on a standard  IQ test but  he could not add to the sum of his existing knowledge he could no longer learn .  

He could proofread a document , input data , file sort  , even fill out a crossword . Yet he was condemned to swim round the bowl   . He spent the last 50 years of his life in and out of an institution in Windsor Locks , Connecticut  . Technically employable but no longer investable .


In 57 a PHD student Brenda MIlner started documenting the extent of HM’s memory impairment . Milner  concluded his procedural memory used to master tasks like  riding a bike was largely intact  

HM could store information like phone numbers  for up to 15 minutes using quiet sub vocalized repetition but 5 minutes later the memory of the test itself was gone .

Milner inferred that  Information was coded in the cortex as working memory  . Then  sent to the hippocampus for processing  .Since the hippocampus has been removed  the information was trashed once it reached the center of the maze  . 

Even if HM wanted to, he was unable to take  working memories and code them back into the cortex as  long term memory as his feedback loops had been cut . 


Our focus is not working memory per se but rather the centre of the maze , the hippocampus  where working memory is transported to for processing  . For us working memory is analogous to a graphics card that can be  overclocked or boosted as and when needed . 

Day in and day out you really don’t want to remember everything . It is important that the slate can be wiped clean  otherwise you risk  becoming so bogged down with information you will not be able to function . 


While technically capacity is limitless ,  I know if I choose to double encode information , a shopping list for instance then that is going to be with me at the front of my conscious mind for a week or two .

S the Russian journalist , born with a gift or curse of  synesthesia  , went as far as writing things down on paper and then burning it, so that he could see the words in cinders, in a desperate attempt to forget 


Like Nikolai Tesla,  S had an  amplified visual sense . S could raise or lower his pulse simply by seeing himself running for a bus or  about to fall into a deep sleep . His memory was so powerful that he could still recall decades-old events and experiences in perfect minute detail  . A sensation that frequently  created confusion in his mind. 


I like to keep an open mind for incubation . Let the days and weeks events  creep in and out of my working memory. My downtime during waking hours when walking , driving to the supermarket , subvocalization turned off   is when ideas, connections and insights bubble  to the surface . 


Live dangerously will you remember that tin of tuna or will there be shouting -)