Thursday, February 20, 2014


We had a lot of fun learning about memory and working on tricks to improve our memories! We learned about mnemonic devices and practiced using them to memorize things. We played this game of "what is on the tray" (you look at the tray for 3 minutes, then take it away and have 5 minutes to write down what was on it). After doing our best to remember (we could get 7-10 of the 20 things), I told a story that incorporated all the objects. Then we tried again, and ALL of us (even me!) were able to remember all 20 objects! Amazing.

Then we picked some other things to memorize, and came up with our own mnemonics. Abe memorized the first 20 digits of pi, which he now enjoys spouting off at random times. :)
We did the same maze a few different times, to observe how much our times improved the 2nd and 3rd times through. Our brains are able to learn and improve so quickly!
I relied heavily on my old Psychology textbook for this unit (Meyers in Modules! I love it!) and it was really fun to relearn a lot of the things I found so fascinating in high school and college. I loved my psychology and Human Development classes.

We watched these two video clips from NOVA:

This post about short-term memory and long-term memory is really interesting
This video of memories forming is cool also!

This page has some great resources on memory.

We played "the eyewitness" game as described at that link---I had Sam come into the room (he was working from home that day) several times while we were having school, and do several very strange things. He changed clothes between appearances, and did things like whistling, putting things over his head, moving objects around, muttering to himself, etc. But he was kind of unobtrusive about it, so though most of us looked up when he came in, we didn't comment or otherwise engage with him. Later on, I asked the children to write down everything they remembered about what Daddy was wearing, what he had done while he was in the room, etc. It was HILARIOUS to read how vastly differing these "eyewitness" accounts were! And it showed us how very unreliable our memories can be, especially when we aren't deliberately choosing to encode information.

We also enjoyed this game (from the same website):
Sometimes your brain makes up its own memories. Try to "implant" a memory by asking people to remember the words on list 1. Wait about five minutes, then probe their memory by asking them which words on list 2 they remember.
List 1: read, pages, letters, school, study, reading, stories, sheets, cover, pen, pencil, magazine, paper, words
List 2: house, pencil, apple, shoe, book, flag, rock, train, ocean, hill, music, water, glass, school
Did they say that "book" was on list 1? Only pencil and school were on list 1.
Try these words:
List 1: sheets, pillow, mattress, blanket, comfortable, room, dream, lay, chair, rest, tired, night, dark, time
List 2: door, tree, eye, song, pillow, juice, orange, radio, rain, car, sleep, cat, dream, eat
Did they say that "sleep" was on list 1? Only pillow and dream were on list 1.
Make up your own lists and see if you can create a false memory.

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