Excerpts Psychology

Don’t trust your memories

I came across an interesting take on the False Memory Syndrome. While we all experience memory failures from time to time, false memories are unique in that they represent a distinct recollection of something that did not actually happen. It is not about forgetting or mixing up details of things that we experienced; it is about remembering things that we never experienced in the first place.


See It Through – Edgar Guest Motivational Poetry

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Book Reviews

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks * Rebecca Skloot

This is the first non-fiction I have read (or more like listened to) in a while and while I loved the book, there were definitely some flaws with it too (probably stemming from the author’s way of writing).

Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Tumor cells taken from her were used without her consent to produce a research cell line that has been kept alive in labs around the world ever since.

What the book is about

The book tries to be about the life and death and the cells of Henrietta Lacks – but it ends up being about many other things as well. About cell research, about black exploitation in medical trials in 1950’s America, about the crude treatment methods available at that time for cervical cancer, about the money machine that is tissue and organ trading, and last but not least, about the author’s journey in discovering who Henrietta Lacks was.


Book Reviews

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood

The handmaid of the title is Offred, one of the few fertile women in a totalitarian theocratic state. Offred serves the Commander and his wife Serena Joy. Every month she must have impersonal sex with the Commander until she becomes pregnant.

Let’s just say this novel is not exactly fiction.

The Handmaid’s Tale is considered by some to be a work of science fiction and by others as social commentary on the way a state seeks to control women’s bodies. It’s thought that Atwood was ‘inspired’ to write it after visiting Afghanistan in 1978.


False Memory Syndrome – Is it possible?

When memory is distorted or confabulated, the result can be what has been called the False Memory Syndrome.


Advanced Memory Techniques

The ideal for any stage mentalist or magician by establishing credibility of amazing skills with an easy to follow instructional book on using the amazing power of your memory.

The ancient Greeks would have power memory contests – they would speak for hours. The stories would be learned word for word …
Join the power mnemonists!

The author, Andrew Stuart Gray writes …

‘If you are a student then you are really going to find the techniques that are included in this book are weapons in your arsenal of keeping all that information in your head. You would probably have to buy MANY books to be able to find all the information that you would find here in just one easy-to-read volume. Research has shown that buy remembering creatively not only will you be able to remember AND recall more with less effort, with more fun and interest, but you will ALSO start to THINK more creatively and be able to connect information in such ways that you can answer questions more fluidly.

But memories shouldn’t just be used for remembering facts, you can also achieve amazing stunts with very little effort! How? Read on ….

One of the most important parts of stage magic is to convince the audience that you have gifts and talents beyond that which are naturally available to the average human. And even though most of the time they know there must be some trick to it, jaw dropping power will have them eating out of your hand.A stage mentalist often relies on tricks, plants and words, though the amazing Derren Brown has blown the lid off of psychological mind bending principles. What is revealed on every page of this book adds to this new tradition of pure skill, which cannot be faked or duplicated, and yet is so simple it is a joy to both show and learn.

After just five minutes of reading the first few pages of this book you will have the skills to memorise and recall a list of 10 items forwards, backwards, or at random, and with very little practice be able to do so in under 20 seconds. But that’s not all, you will soon be able to move on to memorise

100’s and then 1000’s of pieces of information

– whether it be the patter to a new trick, complex moves or the order of the tricks to your stage performance and no longer have to refer to written notes. Perhaps even the memorization of a deck of cards. Or even more! You can even develop this to card counting … – the bain of every casino.

Look at what you will be able to do

  • Study and learn quicker
  • Read a book JUST ONCE and be able to recall the text months, even years later
  • Remember important key dates
  • Memorise incredibly long strings of numbers
  • Memorise a deck of cards – and learn ideas for magic tricks using this knowledge
  • Remember complex directions given to you by complete strangers

Once you have become familiar with all of these techniques you will be able to choose the most appropriate for the job in hand and amaze those watching. Even in the smallest of gatherings the I have had people beg me to tell them the secrets.

This is not a heavy academic book! It is printed so that you will be able to take your time over it, at your own pace. Yet you can read it in one evening.

Similar materials take a long and unnecessary time to explain what are very simple and ancient principles – don’t be fooled by adverts on the web that claim that they are new!

This book crams 8 different techniques, including additional information on study skills, and suggestions for your power memory to start working, and how to use a unique and never before revealed technique of virtual mindmapping* – which I personally use for memorising huge amounts of information without ever lifting a pen!

I have personally trained so many people in how to use their powerful memory that I am convinced that everyone has genius locked away inside – and this book is as a direct result of years of people asking me to write it down for them.

From 8 year olds to the elderly – I take the greatest pleasure teaching people with dyslexia and demonstrating that they have the most powerful memories of all.

You will be amazed at just how powerful your mind really is!

Included in this book are

  1. Welcome and introduction
  2. Systems 1-8
  3. Virtual Mindmap®*
  5. Lets start easy …
  6. What about directions?
  7. Telephone numbers
  8. Dates of history
  9. Card memorization techniques
  10. Tips on foreign languages
  11. Beginning to think like a genius!
  12. Studying
  13. Timings – and how to review effectively.

This last section is crucial and often overlooked in memory books – but in fact it is very important when retaining information for long term memory and an understanding of the principles involved are important.

Even if you are familiar with one or two of these techniques already, I almost guarantee that you will not have come across virtual mind mapping before, anywhere. It uses every single one of the techniques to produce a rich learning and remembering environment.

Andrew Stuart Gray

Author of ‘Advanced Memory techniques’

Advanced Memory Techniques PDF Download


Tips To Keep Memory In Tiptop Condition

www.fahmy.tkKeeping the memory in good condition is a vital part of the brain’s function. Every now and then, our actions greatly depend on a lot of information we retrieve from our memory bank. Such information can either be short term (such as specific tasks that we have to do) or long term (such as the ability to drive a car or repeat an instruction we read from a book). While long-term memory may come spontaneously without too much effort when the need arises, short-term memory requires recalling information from the accumulation of things stored in our memory.
This is why you need to keep your memory in great shape to achieve efficiency in your daily endeavors:

  • Keep your attention focused on the needed information to be stored in your memory bank. Even with distractions around you, stay focused on the subject. The more concentrated you are on the information, the better the chances of retaining it in your memory.
  • Utilize the most ideal sense or senses when gathering the information. This what we call acuity in sensing our environment. Be aware of the color or details of a picture, or the particular sound or smell of the thing involved. All our bodily senses are attuned to collect information depending on the circumstance at hand. While our sense of vision may be the most used in gathering information, our senses of hearing, smell, taste, and touch are equally important and helpful in remembering things, situations, and information about something or someone.
  • When you’re not sure that the information you are about to remember would really be retained by your brain, it would be better to write the information. This could be proven effective especially in gathering very long and tedious information like lecture notes or a personal interview. Just be sure you don’t forget that you have a note at hand; and of course, don’t misplace the note.
  • Maintain a balanced diet. A well-proportioned diet will result to a conditioned memory. Oily and sweet foods may cloud the memory. If you cannot completely eliminate a bad diet, gradually cut down your intake of these memory-inhibiting foods. Doing it gradually cushions the effect of withdrawal symptoms and you’ll get adjusted to the new lifestyle you are creating. This is not only beneficial to the memory, but we can say you’re on your way to a healthy life. Drinking lots of water brings lots of advantages to your overall health, and memory is not an exception.
  • Don’t deprive yourself with enough rest and sleep. Having enough sleep does not condone laziness; oversleeping does. So don’t feel guilty resting or sleeping as long as it is not overdone. You need it badly to keep you revitalized from the tiresome demand of work.
  • Take time to relax. Breathe deeply if you must. Keep your thoughts organized before acting on them. Keep away from stress and anxiety. It may be impossible to completely eliminate stress since it is part of our challenging generation, but try to keep it down as much as possible. Stress may bring your memory into its inefficient level. Avoid the habit of saying to yourself that you might forget things, because you’re more likely to if you do. This just builds your anxiety level up to its panic mode.
  • Stay positive, creative, and energetic. Your memory needs to be within a circle of various things. Things that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors can motivate your creativity. This is a positive way of discovering your surroundings in all its variations and diversities. Avoid being enclosed within the four walls of your room just like you’re a prisoner. The only time to be enclosed is when you have to rest or sleep. Don’t be a couch potato. There’s a very exciting world out there waiting to improve your memory.

The very best way to improve your memory is between infancy and adolescent. As we grow old, memory starts to fail. But a strong memory that we can develop during the prime years of our lives will definitely enhance us to be good thinkers. This can be done by continuously exercising our memory through reading and other cognitive activities like the habit of solving crossword puzzles. The more you do these, the better memory retention is developed.
As far as health is concerned, high blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart ailments. It also results to poor memory retention. Memory function declines when blood pressure is high. Researchers have observed that people with normal blood pressure, especially at midlife, have a higher cognitive function. Concentration, decision-making, and remembering functions falter as a result of high blood pressure. What is healthy for the body is likewise healthy for the memory.


The phases of Memory

IS098-035Memory is the retention of information over a period of time through storage, encoding, and retrieval. For something to be considered memory, you have to take it in, store it, and then retrieve it for use in the future. Memory is a very complex things and it can let you down sometime especially when our trying to remember something, especially during an important test in your life.
Also memory can also cause some confusion, especially when two people experience different events. For example, if two friends went on a trip and one said scenario A happened while the other says that scenario B happened then It could lead to lots of confusion. I think it’s fair to say that most individuals have experienced frustrations when they can’t recall someone’s name or a place that they visit. It’s obvious that memory is not installed like data is in a computer; human memory is a little more concrete.
The initial stage of memory is known as encoding, in which the information is processed for storage. When you are listening to music, or watching television you are encoding information into memory. Some data gets into memory practically effortlessly, while other requires some extensive time to get in there. How information gets stored into data is an interest in psychologist because it tends to vary from individual to individual.
When we start encoding we use selective attention which means that we focus on a specific situation while ignoring everything else. It’s like showing undivided attention to a specific factor.  Although our brain is magnificent, and is more powerful than a super computer it does has its limits, and it can’t pay attention to everything at once.
Divided attention also has an impact on memory, which means that people try to pay attention to too many different things at once.  When researchers measure divided attention they have participants to try and remember a list of materials, but they are asked to perform an additional task at the same time. Participants that focus their attention on one single event as opposed to trying and remember numerous of things simultaneously perform a lot better. However simply paying attention to something does not guarantee success with remembering it. Encoding is processed in three different levels. Levels of processing is known as encoding information from shallow to deep and the deeper processing produce better results than the shallow.

  • Shallow level: Includes the sensory or physical characteristics of stimuli that are analyzed.  For example, we might detect some shapes of printed characters, or detect the pitch of a particular sound.
  • Intermediate level: The stimulus is recognized and is given a distinct label. For example, we will identify an object that drives on the road as a car.
  • Deepest Level:  Includes information that is processed semantically which means in terms of its meaning. When we get to the deepest level we make associations with things which mean that we are more likely to remember it in the future.

Time after time it seems that people memories improve when they make associations to stimuli that are used in deep processing as opposed to tuning into just the physical characteristics.  For example, you are more likely to remember someone face if you make some type of association with it as opposed to remembering how the people look.  You could attach a meaning to it or correlate the individual to a famous person. Likewise you could associate a famous individual with a friend of yours not is not a celebrity by any means.  Next, cognitive psychologists or the psychologists that studies the thinking process realize that there is more to memory than just deep processing. There’re a lot of layers of memory so to speak.  While were still on the topic of deep processing, the more extensive the processing, the better you will remember something.
Elaboration is defined as the extensiveness of processing at any level.  Rather then just remembering a definition, you should come up with a deep concept of the word by thinking of examples that relate to the word his is a strategy that is used often of Kaplan’s Sat flashcards. On the front it has the word, and on the back it has the definition followed by a sentence that uses the definition properly. The primarily reason that elaboration is so successful is because it helps makes something distinct in your mind.  Just think of an event that you remembered in your life. A one that I think that affects people living today is the WorldTradeCenter event. Most people most likely remember where they were and how they first heard the news. The people that were in the event and survived most likely have a hard time forgetting about the event and can most likely remember the sounds and all of the imagery very clearly.
Speaking of seeing things clearly, imagery is a very important aspect of memory. To make memories extremely powerful it is important to use mental imagery. An example of using mental imagery is remembering where you placed your remote control once you finished watching television last night. Some psychologists believed that using mental imagery is so powerful, because people will tend to remember images more then words. It has been proven that images can help individuals learn a foreign language. However, how intricate storage is just don’t determine how well it will get encoded.
Storage refers to the ways that information stays in storage for a long period of time.  We remember some information for years, and some we forget within a minute or possibly less.  Sensory memory is a type of memory that holds information in a sensory form for an instant. It is extremely high in detail but the information is quickly loss. Think of the sounds you hear when you’re getting out of the car, or the sound of a bird singing. These are some common examples of sensory memory.
Next, short term memory is information that is usually contained in storage for 30 seconds, or less there are some other strategies used to keep it in storage longer.  Some ways that you can improve short term memory is by chunking and reversal.  We all probably have experienced with rehearsal which is the repetition of something, usually a number. If we have to remember a telephone number then an easy way to do this is to keep repeating the number. Likewise you can try and remember long numbers by chunking them.
For example, look at this number and turn away and try to repeat it. The number is 7835677876. How did you do? Don’t feel too bad if you did poorly. However, you could have done better if you’re chunked or grouped the numbers together. For example rather than trying to remember this big blob of 7835677876, you can chunk in into 783-567-7876. Well, look at what we got it looks similar to a phone number.
This is an example of how chunking can b helpful in helping individuals remembers content.