THE M IN M:O:A:T STANDS FOR MEMORY
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 -)
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