Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Memory: Recalling information will not just happen!!

During my early career days i was of the opinion that there is no need to memorize information as most of the it is just a click away.  With experiences in life and associated learning, i now believe memorizing information is absolutely required for solving small day to-day problems to most complicated problems.

There are multiple reasons why we might have to memorize information:
1. Amount and speed of remembering new information is dependent on how much information is already stored in memory that can be easily associated with the new information. So, the more we use memory the more easier and faster it would be remember new information
2. Many of us have experienced sub-concious problem solving (insight??).  Go to bed with a problem in mind and solution would pop up by the time you wake up. Human brain would have been busy in the background processing lots and lots of information in the brain to arrive at a optimal solution. Call it "insight" "aha!"..etc. For this to happen, lots of information should be there in the memory at the first place.
3. Most of the conscious problem solving approaches requires combining different ideas, concepts and information. For this the information has to be stored in long term memory which would be retrieved to working memory to combine/subtract/modify to arrive at a solution. If there are not much ideas in long term memory then it significantly hampers creative problem solving

After reading of couple books and doing some research on google,  i was pretty convinced about the necessity for memorizing information. Of late "Memory" has been favorite topic for discussions/experimentations.. etc and i do spend lot of times knowing more about it. I have started applying some memory techniques in day to day life which has helped me a lot.

With this series of blog, idea is to explore tools and techniques to aid memorizing information.
For me process of memorizing happens in 3 stages:

  1. Perception Stage - Gathering information using all the senses
    • Concentration - Discipline of mind to focus attention on required information
    • Interest - Closely associated with concentration is the interest of the mind to learn the new information.  
  2. Organizing Stage
    • Imagination - Ability of the mind to form concrete images/thoughts/sensations out of the gathered information, also ability to modify or change these images
    • Association - Associate newly formed images/thoughts/sensations with the information already in memory. Installing cues for recall
  3. Recall Stage
    • Association for recall - Using Cues like location, images, people or context to recall information
In the memory series of the blog, i would try out tools and techniques to memorize information and put out my experiences (what worked, what did not..etc) here. Hope it will be useful to you, please comment incase if you have interesting thoughts on these tools and techniques.

Memorizing information will not just happen like a magic, conscious effort needs to be put to perceive information using all the senses, code it in a language which individual mind likes and then use cues/contextual cues to recall the information. Like any other skill - practice, measurement and conscious effort to improve will improve memory tremendously.